These last two articles have been written up away from an internet cafe hence they're a bit longer. Due to internet access difficulties, it's easier for me to do this at present. Instead, I'll write up the odd decent diary entry and then short ones around any photos. Let me know if you prefer the other way (i.e. shorter entries, but possibly more of them).
Oh, the outdoors. I've missed it so much! It's amazing how much you realise that you depend on the freedom from large buildings, rows and rows of cars, and mobs of people. Nothing but some unusual noises (that'll be the parrots and cockatoos as it turns out), and some scenery that could have been taken out of France. Wait a minute, I've just compared this place to France! Yeah, this place feels like the Mediterranean so far, and that is most definitely not a complaint.
I read a book a few weeks ago called "Guns, Germs and Steel: a short history of the last 13,000 years of human evolution", explaining how the reasons south-eastern Australia was colonized due to it's climate which was so similar to Europe and how the crops and animals were easily adapted. I'm so seeing all these reasons in Real World. Rolling hills, large swathes of forest, wide open valleys containing huge farms. Feels almost like home :)
But onto what we came here for. Firstly, our trusty steed (i.e. car) easily survived it's first trip into the hills for us. A stormer.
The climbing areas are quite interspersed which involves driving everywhere. I don't know how you'd deal without a car here - it's quite messy, especially as there's very few people here also bar the locals who only turn up at the weekend.
Beautiful little valleys contain the reason we're in the Blue Mountains, full with wildlife and some pretty exotic plant species. At the end, I see a fracture spliting the cliff faces in two, and down the middle pours a waterfall. You get to walk underneath and behind to reach our destination. In the evenings, the rock glows fire-red in the setting sun. It's pretty hard to get motivated for climbing at this time as I'm still in awe at the views. I've never seen such amazing, distracting, sunsets. Yes, I do have a soft spot for this time of day :)
For the climbers, well it's sandstone. And there's everything. Sheer vertical faces, slabs, perfect aretes (yes, Dave, I did just say that :), steep, not-so-steep, technical, thuggy. you name it, this place seems to have some variation of it! I'm looking forward to getting back in action again, give it a week or so to get my arms back in fully working order.......
We've all been adapting to the new conditions pretty slowly: skin-shedding rock, amazing technical climbing all play parts in the adaption. Give it a week or two before we're back on track.
On an amusing note, I haven't done any training in over 3 months and managed to tick off 24 pull-ups on the door-frame of the toilet in the hostel in one go. Don't seem to have lost that much strength! Now all we need is some fitness.........