The Blue Mountains – Time Warp 1930s

Rained all night and still a bit drizzly when we woke up. Woke early, probably because we knew Lucy was landing around 6am. She landed safely anyway, which was a relief to know.
We waited till about 9am and then headed out by which time it had stopped raining but was very overcast with the clouds right down on the hills. We decided to put off visiting any viewpoints till later as it would have been pointless and went off to do some other sightseeing that was not view dependant.
But first breakfast! Really, this Airbnb just gives us tea and coffee facilities, there’s not even a toaster. It’s poor in comparison to the one in Coffs Harbour. So, we went to the Hydro Majestic hotel, http://www.hydromajestic.com.au/ which is an amazing Art Deco building that has recently been done up again. It was beautiful. All black and white and chrome. We had breakfast there and they made us very welcome. Absolutely full up after that.
We then went to Everglades, an Australian National Trust property in Leura. https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/places/everglades-house-gardens/ It is an amazing 1930s house (Deco again) with a fantastic landscape garden, terraced over a hillside with brilliant views of the Jamison Valley. We were on our own there much of the time and had a great chat with the man on the desk. We just wandered around all the rooms and the garden areas. Fantastic place. Well worth visiting. Had tea in their dining room. It was lovely. One thing I’ve never seen before was the garden theatre, which had a raised stage area with box hedge “wings”. A Russian ballet company once performed there.
It seemed to be clearing a little so we drove up to the Echo Point/Three Sisters viewpoint. This is a viewpoint that gives a spectacular view over the Blue Mountains and the wilderness canyon at its heart. It’s a bit like looking over the Grand Canyon if the Grand Canyon was covered in eucalyptus forest. However, it was pretty shielded by mist and cloud today. Every so often a little bit of wind would move the cloud and you’d just glimpse the sheer cliffs in the distance, then it would disappear. We did a bit of the clifftop hike, which was very pretty, and we could see that everything around us was very green and ferny. There were loads of Chinese tourists there. Hundreds. Its very noticeable around the big cities how many Chinese tourists there are.
We decided that further viewpoints were probably not worth the trip so we headed back to Leura and parked up by the area called The Mall. This is the main shopping street, filled with quirky shops and cafes, lots of nice things to buy or browse through. Leura and Katoomba – in fact the whole place – is just so very much like the Indian colonial hill resorts we have visited – Shimla, Mussoorie, Darjeeling. Of course the crucial difference is that these Australian towns have continued to thrive in an European tradition, whereas the Indian ones have changed and rather withered in some respects, all a bit crumbly. Coming here is to see what Darjeeling would be like if Independence had never happened in 1947. It’s all a bit locked in the 1930s, art deco everywhere….. It’s like someone decided to remake Dorking or Surrey, in the hills of Australia. Lots of timber bungalows with landscaped gardens and specimen trees. A bit of Tudor des res. Houses called “The Cedars” and well… Everglades….. If Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple came round the corner, you wouldn’t be a bit surprised. Or even Mapp and Lucia.
As we finished shopping, the sun started to break through in patches. We decided to race back to Echo Point/Three Sisters and see if we could see any more. We could!!!!!! Not as stunning as I have seen in other photographs but lightyears better than it was this morning. We enjoyed the view for a while and then went back to our Airbnb.
Had a bit of a shuffle with the packing to try and re-consolidate ahead of our week in Sydney and then flights to Singapore and then home. Think we’ve been pretty successful.
Had dinner tonight at a fabulous restaurant in downtown Katoomba, called Avalon. It is set upstairs in an old 1930s cinema and everything inside was just totally retro. The music, the plates, the wait staff outfits…. The bar was an original old bar…. It was really good. And the food was fabulous too. It was a BYOB which was annoying because we didn’t know that before we arrived and being British it never occurs to us that this might be ok. They did serve wine, but they didn’t mind if you brought your own. Damn as we had several bottles back at the flat which now we will just have to drink in Sydney!!!!!
I had slow cooked lamb shoulder which was delicious, wrapped in bacon and just pull apart ender. It came with a lovely rich fruity gravy and veg. Bob had Beef Bourgignon pie with all the trimmings. Both were fabulous. I had a couple of glasses of cab sauv, Pig on the Farm, it was called. Rather appealed! Bob had a Fat Yak beer which he likes very much. A really good dinner and a nice place – would recommend and we would certainly eat there again if we were in the mountains.
Came back, put on the electric blankets and turned in. Have had a good time up here and it’s a beautiful timewarp place. So excited to be back to Sydney tomorrow though……

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