Fact: The Blue Mountains are known as the Blue Mountains because the Eucalyptus trees that grow there give off a blue gas. When you see them from afar, the entire range looks blue. Hence, dun dun dun: The Blue Mountains.
Another Fact: The Blue Mountains are not actually mountains — they’re plateaus. A few million years ago the tectonic plate moved, pushing up all the land below. Eventually the valleys were carved out by water.
And then…Another Fact: I abseiled down a waterfall yesterday.
I spent Monday and Tuesday up in the mountains — only an hour a half outside Sydney, but literally a world away. Quiet, idyllic, slow. Two days was enough J
I stayed at the YHA up there, and it was so nice it actually felt more like a hotel than a hostel. Huge dining room, beautiful reading room, wide open common room filled with comfy arm chairs and couches; it was a welcome change from the frenetic pace of base, the hostel (my home!) in Sydney. I even had a room all to myself.
Monday we did a few hikes, saw the Three Sisters rock formation (look up that aboriginal story, it’s a good one) and rode the Scenic Railway, the steepest railway in the world. More like a slow roller coaster, if you ask me. You’re basically completely vertical with the mountain…but it’s, you know, a train. Had a bit of a wander (one of my favorite English sayings!) around Katoomba (the town) and stumbled across this gorgeous old hotel, the Carrington. For all of you engaged peeps: this place would be sick for a wedding! I’m pretty much obsessed with it.
It’s ironic how home pops up all the time. New York Slice pizza, I heart NY T-shirts, etc. etc. Even up there in the mountains. I went to the TV room later that night to try and catch Californication (I’m addicted), but a bunch of people were already there watching Something’s Gotta Give. I stayed for a bit just to ogle the Hamptons scenery (and Diane Keaton’s boobs) before going to bed. In a room full of foreigners, it was nice to be able to watch the movie thinking, “I’m from there!” I was probably the only one in the room who’d ever been.
Tuesday I paid a ridiculous amount of money to abseil down the side of a cliff, then climb over rocks and pools in a wetsuit along the canyon floor. Remember Fern Gully? Yeah, it looked like that. I almost expected fairies to pop out of the moss. We jumped into rock pools, slid down mini-waterfalls on our asses and then abseiled down the front of Empress Falls. Pretty ridiculous, but a good time. Facing a jump down 10 feet into a pool of water also helped me come to the important decision that I am not bungy jumping.
Good trip, but it would have been better if one of you guys were there…as much as I loved tour guide James and Swiss dude Pius (that’s a joke) it would have been way better with YOU. So…someone come down and do it with me next time!
Pix on Flickr!