Well, my week away is over and now I’m back home again. Monday is when my classes start up again, and I’ve got a little Japanese homework to complete before tomorrow afternoon. But I really wanted to give a bit of a report of my time away, and in particular of my time visiting the Blue Mountains. It was really such a special time! I honestly reckon that if I end up back in Sydney at some point, I would definitely consider looking for a place in the Mountains to live. It isn’t too far from the city and all its conveniences. But it is such a beautiful part of the world, and renting there would be cheaper I would imagine. At least it was when I was living there before.
I used to live in Katoomba for three years, then lived for a short time in Mount Victoria before heading down into Sydney again. I’d grown up in Bankstown. That’s part of why I ended up in Brisbane actually. Kind of always dreamed of living in a completely different city, new places, new people. But maybe more of that another time! Let’s get on with looking over my past week.
Arriving in Sydney
Well, I left Queensland on Tuesday afternoon. I figured that flying out of Gold Coast was a little cheaper, even with the train/bus trip to get to the Gold Coast airport. Might be that the Brisbane Airport is bigger and busier, and thus the airlines get charged more to cover the overheads, which then gets passed onto their customers? Not sure, but either way, heading to Gold Coast seemed to work quite nicely. I booked my tickets through STA, and flew with Virgin Australia. I think that was my first time with them. Previously, I’ve mostly used Jetstar or Tigerair. Virgin definitely seemed nicer.
So my first surprise was when I hooked up over Messenger with a good friend in Sydney, and so once I settled into the Ibis Sydney Airport hotel, about 15 minutes walk from the Domestic Terminal, he arrived to take me to his place for dinner, and to finally meet his family. That was really nice! We hadn’t seen each other for quite a few years.
Then the next morning, I was able to fulfill one of my primary purposes for visiting Sydney – seeing my parents. It was actually my Mum’s birthday. It was so nice to not only be able to catch up with them finally, but also to go out for lunch with Mum.
Heading Up to the Mountains
After that, I headed to the train up to Katoomba. It was still the afternoon daylight, so it was really a nice trip. The views from the train are really quite wonderful! I arrived a little after 4pm, and so I was able to drop by the Little Lost Bookstore, which is a relatively new bookshop ran by a few old friends of mine.
Also, my friend had organised for me to stay the night with some friends of his, the Hollands, a family of traveling musicians who are currently taking care of a traveler’s house owned by a co-op in Katoomba.
So, we all headed there, and had a delicious dinner and some beer and apple cider. Lots of great conversation too! And another friend of mine dropped by too, brought a bottle of wine and joined in the conversation too.
It was a seriously social hub for the night! And that was just the beginning of my Mountains time.
Books, Books, and More Books!
So, the next morning, after some breakfast and coffee, I headed back into town, walking one of my favourite little tracks through the Catalina Park, and then up the Main Street. I bought a nice fresh juice with kale, pineapple and mint, then headed to the Bookshop.
They were going to be preparing for a big conference this weekend. So I was going to help them out some. But first I wanted to see if I could stop by the Internet Tea House where I used to spend a lot of time in the last year that I lived here.
He didn’t end up opening sadly, so I just left a business card with a personal note written on it. Then, I headed back down Main Street, and stopped in at Pickwicks! More books!
Then I trekked on my way to Scenic World, as the Conference Center was nearby to there. The journey ended up not being as straight forward as I imagined, but it was definitely very scenic. Then I arrived at the Conference Center, where I helped out stickering books and getting things set up there.
It was so nice to hang out with my friends there, and help them out some. That was called the Wandering Bookseller, which was more the Christian books for conferences, whereas the Little Lost Bookstore in town is more an eclectic mix of books, befitting the very eclectic town of Katoomba!
My Last Day in Katoomba
So I spent my last night in Katoomba with the friend who had dropped by at the Hollands with the wine the night before. We had a really nice dinner together, played some guitar and sang songs, a really nice time to catch up for the lost years.
Then, the next day was the day when the actual conference would begin Friday afternoon. So I headed back to help out my friends with their final preparations. It really was so nice to hang out with my friends and make myself useful! In the end, I was “paid” for my help with a bunch of nice books, and if you know me, you know that I love books! That was nice.
It was really nice to see a little of what has been going on with their book business, and to meet their team. He has another guy who helps with events in Brisbane, so I may even be able to continue working some to help them out back here in Brisbane, which is cool!
So Back Home Again
So the trip home was nice, and I’m settled back in. Just got a relaxing weekend mostly, apart from having a little homework to achieve. Heading to church this afternoon, where I will be helping with data today (basically, doing the words for the songs on the projector, to help everyone sing together). Then back to Japanese class tomorrow afternoon!
Well, till later,