T and I had to go to the Western NSW for a business trip so made our base in the Blue Mountains at Blackheath. We stayed in a house called Araluen - for all of you Ranger's Apprentice fans this was a nice touch of synchronicity. It had central heating, thank goodness as one night it got down to 2 degrees C overnight but it also had an open fire which we lighted each night. I don't know what it is about fires but they are fascinating to kids (and adults), especially when accompanied by the obligatory marshmallows to melt.
The weather had us tucked up early to play games with cards and do jigsaw puzzles. I don't know what it is about going away somewhere new, whether it's just the fact that you're out of routine, but we always spend great quality family time together, chatting, playing, having warm cups of tea, watching movies together and listening to music. I love staying in places that provide the homely touches. This house had a great library to trawl through, board games, old DVDs and videos, etc. We watched Little Women, Anne of Green Gables and National Geographic videos on Lions, Tigers and Volcanoes which were fascinating and probably not something we would particularly choose at home. Maybe it's the limited choice that makes it desirable, or maybe that you are having a sneak peek into someone else's tastes.
One of the days Mum and Dad popped in for a visit and we did a bushwalk from Pope's Glen near our house to Govett's Leap along a lovely river.
Lots of time to stop and enjoy the scenery and N took lots of photos of scenery and close ups of plants.
And there is always time to stop and play with a lady bird!
Another day N and I took a quick walk down Leura Cascades, absolutely magic spot and a great walk for kids.
N and I also took the Scenic Railway down into the valley, walked along for a couple of kilometres and then up the Giant Stairway (or we used to call it the 1000 Steps). I did it when I was 5 and a half with my dad and it has stuck in my memory all of these years. I have taken my two older boys a couple of times and wanted to share it with N. The views from the top of The Three Sisters is spectacular (see link for the legend behind The Three Sisters) - stretching on forever. It makes you feel so insignificant standing looking out at the vastness of our country's landscape, while at the same time feeling so powerful and energetic being part of it.
Back to the touristy spot, with busload after busload of people visiting for the day, with just enough time to snap a tourist shot like this one. Me, I prefer immersing myself in the bush, becoming a part of it for a couple of hours, breathing in all of that energy rather than standing separated from it and ticking off the view from my to-do list :)
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