The Blue Mountains

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We had an extra day in Sydney to take a nice little day trip. I had planned a few guided tours throughout our stay in Australia, but our trip to the Blue Mountains was one I wanted to play be ear. Ultimately, we followed this gal’s advice and decided on a DIY trip. It’s only a two-hour train ride from Sydney Central Station to Katoomba. Then the hop-on, hop-off Explorer Bus provided easy transportation throughout the region. That may sound touristy, but it didn’t matter. Because, they do it right here.

The Blue Mountains were a barrier to the Australian interior for European settlers in Sydney. Although native Aborigines lived here for thousands of years prior, the mountains were not officially crossed by Europeans until 1813. You can only imagine what that meant for the incredible hikes and views we experienced here!

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By now, you probably have learned of my almost debilitating, irrational fear of heights. So during our hikes, I was doing a lot of focusing on putting my next foot in front of me. No worries, though! I did stop from time to time to take in all of the beauty and breathe in the fresh mountain air. In many areas, though, the routes were narrow with no railings to line the drop off cliffs. That is why you get a photo where there actually is a railing! I felt comfortable enough to take one here.

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See those cables? That is for a cable car that crosses one of the valleys. You aren’t going to get me to do that! Instead, we just hiked and spent the day at our own pace. It was wonderful and peaceful. But I will remember one thing. When an Aussie says that a trail is a “gentle stroll,” it’s not the same as my definition. A gentle stroll doesn’t get my heart rate up, nor vary greatly in elevation. They are a fit bunch over there! I even passed a few elderly people who took all the steps and made it up the winding hills. Impressive!

But it was also a very chilly day. It’s much cooler {duh!} in the mountains than in Sydney. Unfortunately, Rob refused to bring anything but shorts on our trip to Australia. I think he was happy that he brought along his Michigan pullover!

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So what makes the mountains appear blue? That blue haze is a reflection of the sunlight off of the millions of droplets of oil released by the eucalyptus trees.

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We could ride the bus all day , going around as many times and stopping at the 29 stops as much as we pleased. But we finally stopped for a late lunch in the town of Leura. It felt good to get out of the chilly air. Rob ordered a chai for a little warmth; but I skipped the coffee because I was just so thirsty. I had about 18 glasses of water instead.

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This cute little place was called the Red Door Cafe. I ordered a sandwich that I didn’t really like. Rob, having eaten his first {very filling!} Aussie Meat Pie that morning, decided to just have a little dessert – a Caramel Slice. I didn’t get a photo. I was too busy sucking down water. Besides, how was I to know that this was an Australian delight with which we’d fall in love?! But you can click here for a photo and here for a recipe.

Do I dare try to make it? That could be dangerous! In any case, why haven’t I seen these in the States? It seems like a simplistic dessert that’s very similar to some of the bars we make here in the Midwest. But with caramel? Yes, please!

Where have you been all my life, Caramel Slice? Funny thing, though, is that I read in an in-flight magazine from Sydney to Melbourne that “The Caramel Slice is soooo 2012.”

What food have you loved on vacation that you’ve tried to replicate back at home?

Other posts on our Australia trip:

The One Thing I Didn’t Need to Bring to Australia
The Wattle and Bush Tucker
Scenes from Sydney
A Morning at Bond-Eye

Cheers~
Carrie

 

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