Greetings everyone! I hope 2012 has been treating you well thus far and you haven't given up on your New Year's resolutions quite yet. Today was a long day but an awesome experience just the same (I feel like I start every blog post this way and yet it still seems like a pertinent statement), we traveled to the famous Blue Mountains just outside Sydney. Fun fact about the Blue Mountains:
-The Greater Blue Mountains Area was unanimously listed as a World Heritage Area by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) on 29 November 2000, becoming the fourth area in New South Wales to be listed.
Here's a shot of me brushing up on my National Geographic photography skills. My camera takes amazing panoramic shots (Thanks Sloan).
|Blue Mountains with the Three Sisters Cliffs on the left side (click on the picture to see a bigger version)|
We had to wake up at 5:30 am, be ready at 6:30 am, and make our train from Central Station to Katoomba Station about 102 km away, which took about 2 hours because there was approximately 29 stops along the way. I tried to sleep a little bit but ended up reading for most of the trip. These trains were designed with efficiency and functionality in mind, definitely not luxury. We arrived at Katoomba and realized we were starving. So we began the trip with the breakfast of champions: Bacon, Egg, and Lamb Sandwich with a Coke. It was delicious.
After this trek down to the bottom of the stairs we decided to take a quick 4.2 kilometer (3.6 miles for you Yanks) hike to Leura Forest and back to the Scenic Railway which was awesome. It was a cool hike because we were almost completely hidden under the tree canopy for most of the hike until we started our ascent again. It seemed like we were in an Australian Rainforest and the climate resembled the tropics (minus the flood season). I was dripping sweat but having the time of my life. A lot of us jumped at the chance to ride the train mainly to have a chance to get off our feet but very few of us expected how this train ride would soon occur. We arrived at the train station, which basically consisted of a deck suspended off the side of a cliff, and then we saw it. The train. It's kind of hard to describe but it reminded me of a roller coaster attached to the side of a mountain. We approached the cage of the car with nervous laughter but it turned out to be a short, really fun ride. Some fun facts about the Scenic Railway from Wikipedia:
-The Katoomba Scenic Railway, was said to be the steepest railway in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records, and originally part of the Katoomba mining tramways constructed between 1878 and 1900. The cable railway line descends 415 metres through sandstone cliffs, via a rock tunnel with a maximum gradient of 52 degrees.
|Right before we hit the stairs|
|The "Rainforest" of Leura Forest|
|Right before we stepped on the train|
|View from the train|
There's a hilarious video of us taking the train up to the top of the mountain where we all scream like we're on a roller coaster. It's on Jay McDaniel's Blog (Shoutout) Jay's Blog. We accidentally made a baby cry (see title) and got a lot of strange looks coming up to the peak. Stupid Americans. We grabbed some lunch before the train where I actually got to try a bit of a Kangaroo burger. It was pretty good suprisingly. It had a venison chewiness but the flavor was actually good. Well I'll check in tomorrow. War Eagle!