Tuesday, 4 June 2013

You're Welcome, Blue Mountains Tourism!

I'm suddenly receiving a heap of emails on lists of things to do in the Blue Mountains, as curated by Blue Mountains City Council. Perhaps this blog has come to their attention but they don't really know what to do or how to approach me, to ask if I could spread the word?

Well, I love the Blue Mountains - so Council, don't stress. Here's my completely unasked and unapproved Blue Mountains Tourism Campaign.

The Blue Mountains are two hours west of Sydney. This shot was taken from the roof of the Heritage-listed Paragon Cafe.

Katoomba Street is always filled with a steady stream of tourists, locals, fringe dwellers, ex-city slickers. Weirdos, dole-bludgers, and heaps of artists. An eclectic mix.

The air up here is good. After a day in Sydney I come home and straight away wash the pollution from my face. The stars twinkle brightly at night, probably because we're on a mountain so we're closer to the sky, the moon, such things like angels. (And the demons they always win against.)

This is one of my favourite restaurants, the  Avalon. Art-deco surrounds, quirky finishings, art the owners themselves have created hanging on the walls. I recommend the beef medium/well with the jus ... and meringue with berries for dessert.

Sometimes I take my children to the park, other times I find that the meat section in the local supermarket is a *great* way to play vroom vrooms.

There's a new sushi place in town, near the new supermarket which is below the new library and cultural centre.

The Blue Mountains Food Co-Op will make your soul exhale as soon as you walk in there.

The very famous Leura Candy Store, however .... so hard to make a decision. They import their Coca Cola from Mexico. (Damn you, Candy Store!)

We're climbing into winter up here which means that a lot of people will be coming up for getaways to experience "proper" cold. Make sure you go to Fresh Cafe in Katoomba for the ricotta hotcakes. It is a law that you must just slather your honeycomb sauce onto them straight away. SLATHER.

Owen used to work there, best barista EVER. Beard, rides a motorbike, loves his family. I kept begging him to draw me a penis but he wouldn't.

"How about a fish in a fishbowl instead?"

No, come on Owen. Surely you can muster up a penis?

A giraffe, Owen? Lame.

Owen now runs the coolest cat place in town at the bottom of Katoomba Street, the Thunderbird.

Yes. A mexican inspired cafe/restaurant with ethically sourced coffee and free range local produce.

Katoomba also the BEST bakery ever ... have not seen an equivalent in Sydney. It's called Hominy. Their custard tarts are to die for.

And their sandwiches. And orange and cardamon cake. The mountains has such beautiful cafes and eateries.

If you want to go retro shopping there's Mr Pickwicks in Katoomba, across the road is the Old Post Office. In Blackheath there's the Victory Theatre and cafe, a huge park for the kids, and Logan Brae -  great apple orchard where you buy apples straight from the trees, ten bucks a box. Also juice. And apple pies.

If the kids and I get bored in the school holidays, I take them to the nearest supermarket to play:

"Find that hidden camera."

Bonus points if we all look at it at the same time.

Crossing the bridges as they come ... my youngest son's favourite track is the Charles Darwin Walk in Wentworth Falls.

Leura Garage is a recently opened restaurant and has brought some Sydney sophistication up here. I LOVE it.

This dad-in-a-bag is STILL for sale at the best book shop in the mountains, Megalong Books. (Long story ... he's supposed to be Old MacDonald but the instant I saw him I took a photo thinking it's my real Glaswegian dad! In a bag! The likeness is uncanny.)

There's lots of recovery meetings where you can relate to a lot of people and even bring your kid, who falls asleep in your arms for the first time in years which turns you into a blubbering mess.

The local hospital also has a really good mental health unit with nurses who care. You get your own room, therapy, medication, out-patient services. All the help you need. All for free. I never saw that kind of stuff in Africa or India.

THE BEST family restaurant in the Blueys - Papadinos. I've been friends with the owner, Fab, for fifteen years.

Say hi to him for me. After you order - either pizza or schnitzel, you get given a piece of dough to make into something that then gets put into the oven and cooked. So of course it's a competition in our family every time, see who does the best. Max excelled himself with a VERY good skull recently.

When Max was little he used to call it "Rolling Rolling." (Because you roll your dough.) We all still call it Rolling Rolling. And always will.

Dessert - Nutella pizza. Oh yes.

People travel to the Blue Mountains from all over the world every single day, it's that beautiful. Sometimes I am a gargoyle for no reason. Like a lobster telephone.

This is what the famous Three Sisters look like:

Last week the fog was huge and I had a spare ten minutes so I thought I'd go take a photo of them, even though I knew I wouldn't be able to see them. Weird, I know.

Maybe ... to represent something? Maybe that even though I can't see them, I KNEW they were there? Amongst all the disappointed and confused Asian tourists, I took a pic for posterity.

So. The air is clean and the schools are good and after I see my shrink I'm going to make a nice wholesome meal for dinner tonight. Is that enough? It never feels like enough. (Why is it called a shrink? Remember those shrinkies in the eighties?)

So that's where I live. Sometimes I want to move away I hate it so much and feel like Klinger from M*A*S*H staying in Korea after the war was over. Then I love it and can't imagine living anywhere else. It's very tree-y up here and I miss the water. Feels like the mountains won't let me go.

Do you like where you live?

Have you ever worn down someone so much that they just did what you asked for so you'd shut up?

                            Owen you LEGEND.

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