Journey to Newcastle -Monday 31st October 2011


Packing: how come each bag seems heavier and fuller? We have not bought much, except wide brimmed sun-hats, and we are wearing them! We drag the bags back up the hill to Katoomba station and wait for the train. Although the weather was bright from first light, there is a strong wind blowing, so we wear our coats.

The journey back to Sydney takes about 2 hours. At times we see views of the Blue Mountains which by now are familiar. We see Sydney on the horizon, spiking with sharp towers. The train is packed but the journey is uneventful.

The most extraordinary thing about the journey out from Sydney to Newcastle is the quantity of water! Frequently there is sea to the right of us and lake to the immediate left. The train seeing to pick its way between the two on its narrow track. This second hour of journey is relieved only by the numerous waterfowl or boats.

Luckily the YHA is a stone’s throw from the station. It’s another 1930s building, again with a ballroom. Despite its architectural grandeur, it feels older, more unloved that Katoomba. We are not given towels and share a bathroom. This is fine for John because the men are just next door to our room, but the ladies is at the other end of the house. What if I need to go in the middle of the night? (And I do sometimes!). The sheets are thin, the kitchen smaller and untidy. Our room is more spacious but has no storage facilities at all.

The YHA is just 200m or so from the peninsula, where there are good waves for surfers on one side and smooth water for swimmers on the other. However, we go on to find the waters infested with blue stinging jelly fish, many of which are washed up on the shore.

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It’s ‘pizza night’, eat all you can for $7- a good challenge when washed down with a bottle of red wine. It takes me a while to feel relaxed here. I’m beginning to worry about ending up in a place like this for Christmas! (so I’ve started searching the net)

The only reason we are here is because Qantas pulled their strike and we had to rebook. I’m supposed to be up in Cairns!

Ah well, a lesson in life! “make the best of what you’ve got: whatever it is!”

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