Paradise can have hard-luck stories
I have mentioned in the past my love for trains and train journeys.
Well, during my recent visit to Sydney, I took the opportunity to visit the Blue Mountains.
It takes about two hours to reach lovely Katoomba, a city nestled right in the middle of this spectacular part of Australia.
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The trip from Sydney to Katoomba cost me $20 return, and, for me, the journey, that winded through the countryside and into the Great Dividing Range, was a treat.
After we arrived in picturesque Katoomba, we decided to check into a little motel near Echo Point, the home of the famous Three Sisters.
Just across the road from our digs, the scenery opened out into a valley that simply took your breath away.
At the bottom of the region’s valleys, there are incredible rainforests created by the huge eucalyptus canopy, and in one corner sits a trio of rock formations, known as The Three Sisters.
According to Aboriginal Dreaming, the sisters were turned into stone to protect them from a monster at the bottom of the valley, however, unfortunately, the wand was lost, so the sisters remained stuck in stone until this day.
After viewing the girls, I took a bus trip around the district with a very entertaining driver-guide, Russell. At one point, there was only Russell and I onboard, so I asked him about his job.
“I just love it, mate,” he said. “Every day is different, different people, different weather — it’s just great.”
A chef by trade, Russell joined the company, part-owned by his brother about eight years ago, partly to flee the “rat-race”.
Russell dropped me off at the little village of Leura.
A bit out of Katoomba, Leura looks like a combination of Northampton and Margaret River. It is packed with cafes, a bakery and countless art, furniture and gift shops — idyllic — or so it would seem.
I came across this man in his late 60s or early 70s.
“Hello, how are you?” he said in a cheerful voice.
He was unshaven and dressed a little shabbily.
I asked how he was.
Well, for the next 10 minutes he told me a sad saga of how he was living with his daughter, who had got involved in drugs and had sent him broke. My heart sank. All I could do was give him a few dollars.
A stark reminder about today’s world...
Peter Fiorenza is the host of Fiorenza on Sunday, 10am-noon on Radio MAMA, Geraldton.
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