Monthly Archives: February 2012

IS AUSTRALIAN BUSH AN ACQUIRED TASTE?

The ferns are lush, but it there something missing?


I met some Germans on this hike, students from Bavaria. It was their first time in Australia and their first time in the Blue Mountains.

‘There are lots of forests in Germany,’ I suggested.

‘Yes,’ they said, ‘but they are not smelling like this, or sounding like this.’

I was glad they were enjoying it. I certainly was. Does anything smell better than eucalyptus after rain? Do any bird calls sound better than the clear notes of those bell miners? Yet I’ve also met people who hated the Australian bush. Continue reading

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HOLLAND – responsible peeing in Amsterdam canals

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This sounds like a joke but apparently it’s a serious problem. At least 51 people died in Amsterdam canals over the past three years, most of them gentlemen who lost consciousness and toppled forwards while relieving themselves.

The state authorities have produced a safety video pointing out the dangers of this seemingly harmless activity, and demonstrating how to empty the bladder in non-life-threatening ways. Continue reading

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SINGAPORE’S LITTLE INDIA – hotels, restaurants, and a guided walk


Regular readers of RT’s LOTR will know I was in Singapore a few weeks ago.

Here’s the full story of my stay in Little India, the part of the city that I’ve come to know best, and which I was writing about for Sydney’s Sun-Herald newspaper. Continue reading

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TWO BLOKES, TWO CAMERAS and the Blue Mountains challenge

It all looks so good, but getting the ideal shot is very tricky.


I crouch in the shrubbery, attempting to keep the drips off the camera while getting a shot of a little waterfall. Water glistens on dark rocks, bright ferns contrast with the white spray and there are flashes of rusty reds in the sandstone cliffs towering over us.

The scenery is brilliant, so why is making a satisfying photo in the Blue Mountains so hard?

‘Have you noticed there are hardly any good paintings of the Blue Mountains either?’ observes my friend and walking companion Duncan.

He’s right. The great Australian landscape painters, Fred Williams, Arthur Boyd, Albert Namatjira, Arthur Streeton, to name a few among many, usually choose as their subjects desert and open hillsides rather than clifftop views, dark gullies, deep forests and gushing waterfalls. Why should that be? Continue reading

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Filed under Hiking, travel photography, Travel-Australia

FOR ONCE WE GET THE MONEY SHOT…

No caption required.

I know, I know, fires are not funny, especially in Australia in summer. However this time, in this place… Continue reading

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SCENIC WORLD, BLUE MOUNTAINS – art in the bush

Flowers of the forest - gilding the lily, perhaps? Julian Smallwood and Judy Paddison's BlueM

As the little train plummeted towards the valley floor, the Indiana Jones theme blared out. It’s the steepest funicular railway in the world, our guide breathlessly informed us.

Since the entire ride took less than a minute, it may also be, gee whillikers, the Shortest Train Track in Australasia if not the Southern Hemisphere, though this was not part of the publicity. Continue reading

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Filed under Art, Travel-Australia