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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Katoomba in the Blue Mountains

We got up and again had breakfast in the room. After packing everything, we walked down to the train station and caught the Eastern Suburbs line to Kings Cross, where we found our car rental place after walking for about 4 blocks. The day was incredibly warm (afterwards, someone would tell me it was 34 degrees), and we were relieved to discover that our rental car had air conditioning!

Using our handy GPS, we traveled out of town into the Blue Mountains on a 2 hour drive. Just before Katoomba, we turned off to visit the Wentworth Falls. I originally thought this was a 30 minute walk, but after getting to the bottom of the upper falls and taking a shower in one, I spoke to a Sydney native and he talked me into doing a longer loop to the National Pass. Well, Lisa and I had plenty of food, so we chose to forge ahead and do it. There's something about this trail that's great --- you feel like you're hiking in some exotic country, with step stones placed in the mud, but weeping walls above you dripping water onto you. (Where is all that water coming from? It's hot as heck and hasn't rained for days!)

We were really impressed by the beauty of this hike, though the mountains themselves aren't much taller than our native Santa Cruz mountains. (It still doesn't hold a candle to the Swiss Alps, though) After that, we checked into the Carrington Hotel, a swanky-looking colonial style old hotel with no air conditioner but really expensive looking lounges. At last it started to cool down and we went to have dinner where Lisa had a wonderful veggie pot pie at a diner-looking restaurant and I had a kangaroo burger (gamey, not all that great, but I gotta try, right?).

Then it was time to shoot the sunset at echo point, where we had an astonishing light show. We'll see how the photos turned out. I ran into a German couple (from Hamburg) who were on a round-the-world 9-month trip. You know, I do my little trips and think that it's so great that I can get 2 months off from work, and of course the Germans (and the English) out-do me all the time.

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