Alriiiight (David’s voice), it’s time for another blog post! Since arriving back in the lovely land down under, life has been a whirlwind of schoolwork and field trips. But before I begin this post, I’d like to say thank you once again to everyone who has been continually showing me support as my family and I ride out this difficult time in our lives. My roommates, as well as the entire BU Sydney program, have been so amazingly helpful in making this transition as easy as possible for me, so, thank you guys 🙂
Now time for the good stuff. A few hours after I arrived back in Sydney on Thursday morning, my Australian Culture class took a field trip to Newtown, a suburb of Sydney known for its graffiti and street art. Quick lesson: Graffiti is illegal art, often done in the middle of the night because the walls/surfaces that are being painted have not been licensed and approved by the owner and/or the government. On the other hand, street art is legal because the artists have been hired to paint on a previously approved space. While this art obeys the law and is less risky, it is often less inspired than graffiti simply because the artist is getting paid and therefore must capitalize on the sex appeal of art. Lesson over. On our field trip, we were able to see both of these types of art, although not as much as we would have liked to see because it got too dark (why it got dark during our field trip is a whole other story which I will not tell because it makes me aggravated). Nevertheless, we saw some awesome graffiti and learned a lot about a culture that I have never taken into account much before.
On Friday, my Australian Literature class left for the Blue Mountains for my second field trip of the week. Guys, let me just tell you, going to the Blue Mountains is probably my favorite thing that I have done since being here. But first, I must tell the story of the journey to the mountains.
Sidra, Natalie, and I, along with our friend Darby, hopped on a train Friday morning with great anticipation of the weekend to come. Our first stop on the list was Featherdale Wildlife Park which is basically a tiny zoo that lets some of the animals roam around so that the people can touch and play with them. Obviously we couldn’t pass that up. I’ll let these pictures speak for themselves because there are no words that can describe how cuddly kangaroos and koalas are. I already have two of each packed in my suitcase to bring home.
Photo cred: Dante
After spending an amazing couple of hours with the greatest animals ever, we set trail for the Blue Mountains. Finally, after a bus running late, missing our train by literally seconds, and waiting at the train station for what seemed like forever (another story that makes me aggravated), we arrived at the cutest little bed and breakfast, the Metropole, where our whole class was staying for the weekend. Of course by that point, we were late for dinner with our teacher and the rest of our class, so we dumped our bags in our room and went to eat. After dinner we had class and then we were set free for the rest of the night. Our class decided to go out together considering that we would have all ran into each other anyway in the one bar in the dinky mountain town of Katoomba. The bar and the music and the people were a little weird, but we had a great night anyway.
Saturday morning our class was required to go into the mountains to hike and ride some of the attractions of “Scenic World.” Hard life right? The first thing that we got on was the Scenic Railway aka the world’s steepest railway aka an almost vertical drop down the cliff face of the mountain.
Take note of the horrified look on Madison’s face. Also the roses in Peter’s hand, those come into play later.
Then we rode the Skyway and the Cableway which basically suspended us 270 meters above canyons and rivers, taking us from one ledge of the mountain to the other.
Photo cred: Dante
When we reached the bottom of the Cableway, Peter, our teacher’s husband, pulled out those roses I pointed out earlier and told me that the staff had bought them as a tribute to my mom. We handed one out to everyone in the class and we all tossed them off the mountain in her memory. It was such a sweet memorial and I am so thankful to my teacher and my class for participating.
That was all that was required of us for class that morning, so Sid, Nat, Darby, and I along with our other friends Madison, Kaitlyn, and Alicia set out to go bushwalk our way through the forest. We saw waterfalls and breathtaking views and walked up a crazy amount of steps. Neither words nor pictures will do this place justice but here’s the best I got.
The Three Sisters
Selfie pole comin’ in clutch
Saturday night we had another class session (in which we just watched a movie) and then all of us passed out pretty early. We had to refuel for another day of hiking! Sunday opened with more class, but by noon we were free to head back out to the mountains. We stopped at Subway for some sandwiches to eat on the trail and headed for our trail of the day, The Great Staircase. This trail made of up 3,000 stairs, took us to the floor of the canyon. I have some great GoPro footage of our decent but alas, I do not know how to put that on here. So here is one picture of the seemingly never ending, almost completely vertical staircase (being as clumsy as I am, this staircase was DANGEROUS).
We reached the bottom only to realize that we would somehow have to make our way back up, but that didn’t stop us from exploring every little bit of that canyon ground that we could.
We are one with nature
The hike back up was pretty brutal, I’m not going to lie to you. But we all made it, although I can’t say that injuries weren’t involved. Natalie has a pretty disgusting bacterial infection on her leg from SurfCamp called cellulitis which was swelling and providing her with some pretty severe pain that left her limping by the end of the day. Don’t wear wetsuits if you have an open wound everyone, lesson learned. And then there was Madison who after falling at least 20 times during the hike, managed to sprain her ankle during the final half mile while trying to run up the mountain. We should have seen it coming. Or maybe we did, I’m not sure. Either way, we all emerged from that canyon not wanting to look at a flight of stairs ever again.
Our teacher had somehow finagled a way to let the class stay an extra night at the Metropole for free, so of course we took her up on that. Some members of the class decided to head back to Sydney but a good amount of us stayed and went out to dinner at a nice little pizza/Italian place down the street. The pizza and pasta were awesome, but the best part was the ice cream that we got from the supermarket later that night. Hello food coma. Today, Monday morning, we all caught a 7 am train back home to Sydney (yup, it’s home now) so that we could start working on all the schoolwork we have due this week.
Next weekend the entire program heads to Melbourne for a few days and I can’t wait!
Til next time, faithful readers.
THANK YOU KATOOMBA, GOODNIGHT