Poland Day Ten: Back On The Road, Or Train, Again. Czestochowa to Krakow

I awoke on another rainy and cool morning in Czestohowa. Poland was experiencing one of it’s coldest April’s in years during my visit. I quickly dressed and headed outside since I wanted to get one last walk in before my train ride back to Krakow. Poland Day Ten Czestochowa morning walk -2

I again walked down the central avenue paying closer attention to the many stores, businesses and restaurants along the way.  I love just roaming aimlessly through the streets of a foreign city observing how folks live by seeing the products they consume and how they advertise them Here is a link to some more photos http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Ten-Czestochowa-morning-walk-mPoland Day Ten Czestochowa morning walk misc-2isc-April-17-2017 .

It was a holiday here in Poland so the streets were quiet. I made my way through the heart of downtown and into the more less developed residential and abandoned commercial areas of the city.Poland Day Ten Czestochowa morning walk -19

I wanted to visit the Jewish memorial located near the Warta river. Almost every Polish city, town and village has a memorial, reminding us of the horrors that occurred with the German NAZI occupation during World War II.  Poland Day Ten Czestochowa morning walk -27

I spent a few moments reflecting at the memorial, again wondering, as I did so often on the trip, how and why could we allow this to happen. Poland Day Ten Czestochowa morning walk -26

I was now near the Warta River and walked a trail along it’s banks  back to the main avenue. Poland Day Ten Czestochowa morning walk -29

I noticed that they have a few of the same problems we have to deal with here in the United States, graffiti, Poland Day Ten Czestochowa morning walk -31

and the invasive and ugly plant, Japanese knotweed. These obnoxious weeds  have  taken over many areas in Pennsylvania  and destroys the native wild plants anPoland Day Ten Czestochowa morning walk -32d flowers. 

I walked back along the route I had walked many times the last two  days, this time finding the oldest church in Czestochowa, St. Zygmunt’s open so I was able to stop in and visit the beautiful interior. Pope John Paul visited this church on his first visit to Poland as Pope in 1979. Poland Day Ten Czestochowa morning walk -36

I walked back to the hotel, enjoying, one last time the mainly empty streets of downtown Czestohowa.  I encountered this jolly monk near the Monastery and although we did not share the same language we shared greeting on the rainy morning. He was more than happy to allow me to take his photograph. Here is a link to some more photographs  from my morning hike.  http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Ten-Czestochowa-morning-walk-Monday-April-17-2017-

I returned to the hotel, showered, finished packing and enjoyed another hearty breakfast before taking a taxi to the train station. I arrived early and  made sure I was in the right place. While waiting for the train I had a pleasant conversation with a retired gentleman from Czestochowa and a young student from France. We talked about, life, politics and travel while we waited for the train. Poland Day Ten train to Krakow -1

The train arrived exactly on time and I found my assigned seat very comfortable. I also learned there were bathrooms!  I settled in for the two hour ride back to Krakow and enjoyed the passing countryside. Poland Day Ten train to Krakow -5

At first we traveled through farms lands with an occasional small town located  at a train station, Our train went directly to Krakow so we didn’t stop. Poland Day Ten train to Krakow -8

As we neared the city the landscapes changed as we rode through more commercial areas of the suburbs.Poland Day Ten train to Krakow -20

We arrived at the train station in Krakow and as I made my way outside it was, of course raining again.  I soon found a cab and was on my way to the Sheraton hotel. Here is a link to some more photographs from my train ride to Krakow. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-day-Ten-Train-to-Krakow-Monday-April-17-2017

Poland Day Ten train to Krakow -27

“Walkers are ‘practitioners of the city,’ for the city is made to be walked. A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities. Just as language limits what can be said, architecture limits where one can walk, but the walker invents other ways to go.”
Rebecca Solnit

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No Bears Or Snakes But Lot Of Trains In The Lehigh Gorge At Glen Onoko

It was another hazy, hot and humid day here in Northeastern Pennsylvania and it wasn’t easy  deciding where to hike. We have so many wonderful options to chose from here. I decided it would be a good day to look for snakes. I have yet to encounter a  copperhead or timber rattlesnake when I have my camera  and I would love to get some close ups of this misunderstood and feared critters. . So I decided to walk the Lehigh Gorge  at Glen Onoko since there are a lot of old stone walls and rocks  along the railroad tracks. A perfect place for a snake to spend a sunny June morning. Glen Onoko hike -2

I arrived to find the parking lots filled with cars. . There were many out of state licence plates on the cars. A lot of folks were heading to the Lehigh River with fishing gear, others were unloading their canoes or bicycles and some with hiking gear were headed to the famous waterfalls. Glen Onoko hike -1

I headed east on the trail and walked the railroad tracks for the first mile, hoping to find some snakes in the rocks along the rails. I didn’t find any but I did see a lot of butterflies feeding on the many patches of milkweed growing along the tracks. Glen Onoko hike -4

There were also large patches of mullein, just ready to start blooming and these too should attract a lot of moths butterflies, bees and other insects in the coming weeks. Glen Onoko hike -5

I left the tracks near the sign warning visitors of the bears in the area. I have hiked here many times and have not seen one. I was hoping today would be the first time but it wasn’t.Glen Onoko hike -9

The skies were clear and the early Summer sun was intense so I was glad to enter the shade under the trees growing along the Lehigh River. And where there are trees and shade there are ferns. Glen Onoko hike -15

As I approached the river I heard not only the rushing of the waters but also the familiar sound of the cicadas coming from across the river. We had a hatch near my home two years ago but I did read about a hatch near Jim Thorpe this Summer. They were quite loud but only an occasional insect fluttered over the trees from across the river. I may hike on the other side next week to see the extent of the hatch.Glen Onoko hike -49

I walked to the start of the long stone wall that was built to protect the railroad tracks from the flood waters of the Lehigh River. Last year IGlen Onoko hike -17 saw a lot of skinks, a native lizard, here but I was disappointed to not find a single one this year.

And not a snake either, although I know they reside here as evidenced by this snake skin one of them had shed and left behind.

A passenger train carrying tourists runs next to the active railroad track and one of these trains passed me when I first arrived.  Another passed me on my hike and both of them  again passed me on their return . I always enjoy seeing trains  on my hikes but even more so in this narrow section of the Lehigh Gorge, with the tree covered mountains  adding a scenic background. Here is a link to my Youtube video of one of these trains. https://youtu.be/HH9GO6lbmUoGlen Onoko hike -36

I continued to walk the trail with the river to my right and  the railroad tracks to my left, following the curves of the river as it wound it’s way through the mountains. Glen Onoko hike -26

I again came to one of the first oil pipelines in the United States  which was built in 1886 . I explained some of the history of the pipeline and the even older  Lehigh Canal in some earlier post which you can find in the archives . Glen Onoko hike -23

I found a path leading down to the river and rested along it’s banks, enjoying the sounds of the rushing waters, the sunshine and the singing of the birds. It was a very peaceful place to rest. Glen Onoko hike -27

Again I heard a lot of birds singing high in the treetops but had a hard time seeing, let alone photographing them. I did see a few catbirds, sparrows, crows , turkey vultures and, much to my delight a bald eagle!. Unfortunately I didn’t get a single photograph of a bird, or animal, not even a squirrel or chipmunk. I did continue to see a lot of moths and butterflies visiting the many milkweed plants flowering along the trails. Glen Onoko hike -19

I walked out to where Bear Creek enters the Lehigh on the other side of the river and made the long hike back in the early Summer sun and heat, passing many hikers, bikers and fishermen along  the way.  Some cumulus clouds were now forming adding to the already picturesque scenes as the trail followed the meandering river through the hills of the Lehigh Gorge. I didn’t get to photograph any bear or snakes but it was still a wonderful hike on this perfect  June day.  Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike in Glen Onoko . http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/glen-onoko-hike-june-26-2016Glen Onoko hike -1Glen Onoko hike -42

 

 

“Trains tap into some deep American collective memory.”
Dana Frank

 

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Australia Day Ten: My last Day On The Indian Pacific And Finding Out Perth Isn’t The Remote Backward City I Thought It Was

I slept well after our last dinner on the Indian Pacific and awoke shortly before the sunrise  the next morning to find our train stopped again. We were waiting to let three long freight trains pass and we were in a position where I again missed the sunrise. We got moving, after the sun was up, and found we were no longer in the treeless Nullarbor plain. In facts, we were  going through some pretty country with large stands of beautiful, but unfamiliar,  trees. Indian Pacific Rawlinna to Perth-22

We continued through these forest until we came to more civilized areas, were the trees were cut and grasses now grew, sustaining large sheep farms.  There wasn’t much wildlife but I did see the occasional bird flying through fields. Here is a link to some more photographs of our morning train ride. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-ten-indian-pacific-morning-ride-february-13-2016Indian Pacific Rawlinna to Perth-25

The land become even more cultivated,  with what appeared to be large grain farms, and it reminded me of the upper midwest in the United States. Every town we came to had a large grain elevator. Indian Pacific Rawlinna to Perth-32

We than proceeded down along  the picturesque Avon River.  There is a National Park in the hills and we could see a lot of folks traveling the winding dirt roads for their Summer holiday.  Here is a link to some more photographs of our ride through the Avon River valley. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-indian-pacific-avon-river-february-13-2016Avon valley 018

We drove into the suburbs of Perth in the afternoon and now we were back in civilization.  I was surprised to see how city like it was, even in the distant suburbs. I was in for an even bigger surprise. Here is a link to some more photographs of the Perth suburbs. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-ten-indian-pacific-perth-suburbs-february-13-2016Indian Pacific ride to Perth -1

I sadly disembarked  the train that was my home for four days, and which allowed me to see so much of the immense Australian continent. I said goodbye to some new friends  at the Perth terminal and took a taxi to my hotel, the Hyatt in East Perth. Perth afternoon walk one -1

It was late afternoon already but I was excited to check out this new city that I had always imagined was in the remote and untamed western Australian wilds. How surprised I was to find this modern sparking city along the beautiful Swan River.Perth  afternoon walk one -7

I walked along the river and couldn’t help but notice the contrast between the old historical buildings and churches, now dwarfed by a modern city. And there was construction going on everywhere. Perth afternoon walk two-24

I walked along the river for awhile and decided to walk into town and I found more contrast between new apartment buildings and condos being built everywhere and historic old churches, such as the beautiful  St. Mary’s Cathedral.Perth afternoon walk one -19

There was just so much to see, but I was tired and hungry so only walked down to the harbour, and the famous Bell Tower. The streets were crowded with tourists and locals enjoying a sunny and pleasant sunny Sunday afternoon. It was much cooler, maybe around 90 degrees, than it had been here the past few days. Here is a link to some photographs from my walk to the Bell Tower.http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-eleven-perth-afternoon-walk-one-february-13-2016Perth afternoon walk two-5

I walked back through the towering office buildings only to find all sorts of art works and statues depicting the local, flora, fauna and culture of southwestern Australia. It really was nothing like the city I thought it would be remote, old and desolate. Perth afternoon walk two-17

I walked along and noticed a lot of folks gathering along the Swan River and discovered there was going to be a large free concert that night, promoting local Australian bands. Perth afternoon walk two-32

I also found out it was the kick off for the famous Perth International Fine Arts festival. All kind of events, exhibits for folks of all ages were being set up. I was hungry so headed back to my hotel for a late dinner but the sounds from the concert drew me back to the river at night to enjoy the free music. I lucked out again, like I did in Sydney by being at the right place at the right time. Here is a link to some more photographs from my walk through the streets of Perth. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-ten-perth-afternoon-walk-two-february-13-2016Perth afternoon walk two-33

 

 

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore    Andre GidePerth afternoon walk one -11

 

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Australia Day Nine: Nullarbor Plain And The Ghost Town Of Cook

On my second night on the train, I decided to leave the shades in my cabin open so I could fall asleep with the bright stars shining  in the dark Australian sky. I couldn’t make them out at the time, I was facing South and I am not familiar with the southern Constellations, but I enjoyed them all the same. .  I fell soundly asleep again, only to be awakened by the sound of voices outside my cabin in the middle of the night. . We had stopped, in Port Augusta I think,and the workers outside were re-supplying the train.   I enjoyed seeing the strange town in the middle of nowhere  outside my window.  I fell back into a sound sleep until shortly before sunrise. I got up and walked to the lounge to try and watch it rise. I sat and watched the sky brighten, as the sun appeared on the horizon. It was a beautiful sunrise, as they all. I thought how, back home, my family and friends were watching it set in the west as they ended their day. Indian Pacific Adelaide to Cook -3 - Copy

I sat down, had a cup of tea, some guitar music from a fellow passenger   and enjoyed the passing scenery. We were now in flat lands  again, approaching the Nullarbor plain. Sometimes the landscape was   treeless and others was  covered forest of medium sized trees , shrubs or low lying desert vegetation.  There was always with a bright red soil  underneath.Indian Pacific  Adelaide to Cook -31

No kangaroos, sheep or cattle now, just the occasional bird. And, this beautiful wedge tailed eagle, the symbol of the Indian Pacific. It isn’t the best photograph but it still was an awesome sight to see one of the magnificent creatures soaring over the Australian outback. untitled-1

Some folks may say the landscape was boring and not interesting but I enjoyed the subtle changes in the colors of the soils, the variety of the trees and was rewarded with the occasional bird or some interesting new landscape, such as a number of  large salt lake we passed.  here is a link to some more photographs of our through the outback that morning. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-nine-indian-pacific-adelaide-to-cook-february-12-2016Indian Pacific  Adelaide to Cook -10

I sat, enjoyed the scenery, and listened to the folk music and tales of the outback on the trains radio station.  We stopped  to refuel at the once booming town of  Cook, now largely abandoned with a population of four. They live here to  service the Indian Pacific train. Indian Pacific  Cook -11

It was hot when we departed the train for our half hour excursion, temperatures were in the mid 90’s, but it didn’t stop us from exploring the deserted building.Indian Pacific  Cook -41

The town once had over 20,000 inhabitants but they left when the trains changed ownership, leaving behind many of the building on the Nullarbor Plain. The school seems like it just had students yesterday.Indian Pacific  Cook -27

I wondered about the lives of the folks who were born and grew up in this isolated town in the Australian outback. It was surely a different life than most folks lead but I am sure the beauty of the outback was ample reward for the isolation . Here is a link to some more photographs from our visit to Cook. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-nine-indian-pacific-cook-february-12-2016Indian Pacific  Cook -44

We boarded the train and I went back to what had become a favorite activity, just watching the scenery as we proceeded along.Indian Pacific  Adelaide to Cook -16

We pulled over at the Rawlinna station, at sunset,  where a meal was prepared for us under the desert  sky. The food, and entertainment were superb as we dined under the sparking Australian stars. Indian Pacific  Cook  to Rawlinna -13

It was a great evening and some newly made friends took me aside and pointed out the Southern Cross. I still am awed by the sight of the Milky Way in the Southern Hemisphere. I also love looking at Orion, now in the northern sky and upside down from how I always saw it. We boarded the plan and I fell into a sound sleep recalling the events of another great day on the Indian Pacific as it traveled onward to perth during the night. . Here is a link to some more photographs of  our ride from Cook to Rawlinna. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-nine-cook-through-rawlinna-ride-february-11-2016On m

…what thrills me about trains is not their size or their equipment but the fact that they are moving, that they embody a connection between unseen places.”
Marianne Wiggins

 

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Australia Day Eight: My First Full Day On The Indian Pacific. I Learned Australia Is Vast And I Love Train Rides.

I will have to admit I was not really sure how I would sleep on the train. Well the first night I was so exhausted I fell right to sleep and found the bed they pulled down to be quite comfortable. I didn’t mind the  swaying, jerking or clanking of the train one bit and had a good nights sleep.  I awoke at dawn,  right when we were pulling into the outback mining town of Broken hill. Unfortunately it was overcast and we didn’t get to see a sunrise.  We departed the train for a quick tour of the town.Indian Pacific Broken Hill-1

The landscape was now pretty much treeless with low shrubs and plants dominating the bleak hills. We learned that one of the richest silver mines in the world is found here and that it still is active. We also visited the gallery of one of the town’s native, and famous artist, Pro Hart. I found a lot in common, he worked in the silver mines, had a deep love and curiosity about all things, loved ants and dragonflies and was a Gemini. I purchased a signed print of one of his drawings, although I am somewhat regretting the amount of space it is taking up in my luggage.  Here is a link to some more photographs of our visit to Broken Hill http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-eight-broken-hillIndian Pacific Broken Hill-18

We left this desert town and headed on through the desolate hills of reddish soil and various types of low shrubs and desert like plant. I spent my time just enjoying the landscaping and looking for  the slight chance I’d see some wildlife out here. And sure enough I did see the occasional  kangaroos fleeing from the sound of the train.Kangaroo 4-1

The train headed south to Adelaide and we moved from the arid outback to areas of grass, now  brown and dry from the Summer heat, but still supporting a lot of sheep. Here is a link to some more photographs from our ride to Adelaide. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-eight-indian-pacific-ride-to-adelide-february-11-2016Indian Pacific Broken Hill to Adelaide -34

We arrived in Adelaide for a stop over around four o’clock. and I decided to take the walking tour of the city. The other choice was a visit to wine country.  I heard this was a good tour too but I have no regrets about my choice.  We were bused to downtown Adelaide where I immediately learned how beautiful this city is. I can’t believe I never heard of it before my trip to Australia. It is a very beautiful city.Indian Pacific Adelaide city walk-8

We were given a very nice tour, and history lesson, by a very informative guide. She showed us the many statutes  and old historical buildings of the downtown. So many beautiful statues honoring the many men, and women, who contributed to the city’s  founding and history. Here is a link to the some of the beautiful statues we saw on our walk. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-eight-indian-pacific-adelaide-statutes-february-11-2016Indian Pacific Adelaide city walk statues -4

The buildings  were magnificent too. The University of Adelaide was said to rival the beauty of Oxford. I have never seen Oxford but it sure was impressive. We visited a number of buildings learning a very lot, in this little time, about the history of the city .We made our way to the library and found that the section our guide was taking us was closed. We still got a look around this modern building adorned with art. Here is a link to some more photographs of the library.http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-eight-indian-pacific-adelaine-library

We next made our way to the botanical gardens.A  few friends and I left our tour, who headed to the  National Wine Institute, to get a quick look at these wonderful gardens. It certainly wasn’t enough time to see  all of it’s beauty but it was still worth the look. Here is a link to some more photographs from our quick tour of the botanical gardens.http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-eight-indian-pacific-adelaide-botanical-gardens-february-11-2016Indian Pacific Adelaide city walk botanical garden -5

We joined our group at the Wine Institute and were treated to a wide variety of the most delicious hors d’oeuvres. We arrived late so I had no time to try the free wine samples but had nice glass of a local wine with the    equally delicious dinner they served after our tour of the institute. We learned so much about the production of wine in general and the specifics of the wine growing in this region. Here is a link to some more photographs of our visit to the Wine Institute.http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-eight-adelaine-wine-institute-february-11-2016Indian Pacific Adelaide city walk wine institute -4

After our dinner we headed back to our train. We arrived at dusk, with a beautiful crescent moon hanging in the twilight. It was a beautiful to a long but enjoyable day. I was asleep shortly after our train started to move again. Here is a link to some more photographs from our visit to Adelaide.  http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-eight-indian-pacific-ride-to-adelide-february-11-2016Indian Pacific Adelaide city moon 2-8

“Whenever he was en route from one place to another, he was able to look at his life with a little more objectivity than usual. it was often on trips  that he thought most clearly, and made the decisions that he could not reach when he was stationary.” Indian Pacific Adelaide city magpie-1
Paul Bowles

 

 

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Australia Day Seven : A Walk To The Botanical Gardens And On To Perth, The Old Fashioned Way, By Train

Sorry it’s been a few days since I got to my blog but we had no wi fi internet  on the train ride from Sydney to Perth. It was a lovely trip and seems so long since I was in Sydney. But let’s see what I can remember.  I got up early Wednesday morning hoping to get to the botanical gardens.  I walked down George Street, which unlike the crowds of people the day before, it was quite empty at dawn .sydney moning walk -6

George  Street like major streets in most large cities had the usual upscale shops and restaurants,  large office buildings and some historical buildings and churches. I walked past the same sights I saw the day before and turned  onto Market Street so I could see the famous Sydney  Tower. it certainly  stands out in the Sydney skyline.sydney moning walk -19

I didn’t have a lot of time to explore Hyde park and all of it’s splendor, including the impressive St Mary’s Cathedral. There is just so much to see in this wonderful city.sydney moning walk -25

I at least wanted to see the botanical gardens so continued on, much to the dismay of my natural sense of curiosity and exploration. I was glad I did get to , they  the gardens are just beautiful. I hadn’t much time but to just see scenic beauty of the trees, flowers and lawns and to investigate the identity of some of the more exotic ones was heaven for me.sydney moning walk Botanical Gardens-1

I was most impressed with stumbling upon a species of pine, one of the first to inhabit the earth in the age of the dinosaurs, long thought extinct, and recently discovered by a ranger in a remote canyon not far from Sydney.sydney moning walk Botanical Gardens-15

I was this close so I continued to the harbour, where I was rewarded with not only the sights of the  trees, flowers and shrubs of Australia but also spectacular views of the Opera House, and Harbour Bridge I even had time to make it to, and sit and rest on the famous Mrs. Macquaries chair, a rock formation that was carved into a chairs for the Governors’s wife when Sydney was first colonized. It was a nice place to rest and take in the wonderful view of the harbor. Here is a link to some more photographs from my visit to the botanical gardens http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-seven-botanical-gardens-february-10-2016sydney moning walk Botanical Gardens-28

I headed back to the hotel but did see some birds in the gardens, mainly my friends the parrots,  a few other birds and the Australian miner birds, which is now becoming more of a pest and threat to the native bird species. I walked the three miles back to my hotel, had a delightful breakfast, and began packing for thre next leg of my Australian adventure, a train ride to Perth. Here is a link to some more photographs from my morning walk. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-seven-sydney-morning-walk-february-10-2016sydney moning walk Botanical Gardens thrush--1

I left my hotel and walked with my luggage to the Central Station and found the terminal where my train, the famous Indian Pacific of the Ghan line was waiting for our boarding.Indian Pacific-2

I love trains, always have.  I loved encountering them on my many walks the railroad tracks since I was a child. . I have taken train rides of a few hours before, but I think the longest was my train ride to the Blue mountains last week.  I enjoyed that ride very much. .  But four days and three nights, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  We had a nice pre boarding party and than were allowed to board our rooms. They were small.  But I was to excited about the adventure to care much about that now. I immediately took to exploring my home for the next four days. Here is a link to some photographs of the train. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-nine-indian-pacific-train-photos-february-12-2016Indian Pacific-8

We left Sydney on time and took the same route that I took over the Blue Mountains a few days earlier. It was a nice ride but unfortunately there are not many good views of the splendor of the Blue Mountains from the train. I still sat by the window and enjoyed all of the sights.

After we passed Katoomba it was all new for me and I was even more glued to the window. We descended the lovely Blue Mountains and were treated with beautiful vistas as we came into farming and sheep raising  country and we could see the mountains through the open fields. The scenery was breathtaking.Indian Pacific Sydney to Blue Mountains -20

I also kept a lookout for any wildlife I may see and was rewarded with my first sighting of a kangaroo in the wild, They were in the brush, appearing  to just watch our passing train. I only managed to get a few photographs, and they weren’t very good. I was still excited  seeing these symbols of Australia living freely in the wild.  Now I need to find a koala bear.Indian Pacific Sydney to Blue Mountains kangaroo -1

We continued past more farm land, it looked like mainly sheep ranches as the sun neared the horizon. Unfortunately it set while I was seated for dinner and in front of the train so I couldn’t see or photograph it. I had a very nice meal and made new Australian friends. It was a great day in the land down under. I headed to my room, wondering how I would sleep. I found out soon enough. I loved the swaying, rocking, jerking and clanking of the train and had one of my best nights sleep in weeks. I really do love trains. Here is a link to some more photographs from our journey through the Blue Mountains. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-seven-indian-pacific-through-the-blue-mountains-february-10-2016Indian Pacific Sydney to Blue Mountains -29

 

 

“My heart is warm with the friends I make,sydney moning walk Botanical Gardens-22
And better friends I’ll not be knowing,
Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take,
No matter where it’s going.”
Edna St. Vincent Millay,

 

 

 

 

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Australia Day Five. A Way Too Short A Journey To The Blue Mountains

I was  still having some difficulty adjusting to the time change here in Australia, and even though I got little sleep, I still was out of bed early Monday to watch the sunrise. I wanted to see the famous botanical gardens while in Sydney so I walked past the Circular Quay, already abuzz with early commuters and the  opening of the coffee and breakfast shops,  in the predawn darkness.  The aroma of coffee was everywhere. In the eastern sky  the planet Venus was shining brilliantly.sYDNEY MORNING WALK (1 of 15)

I got to the gardens and saw some majestic old trees in the morning twilight, I was very disappointed to find the gardens  were closed and did not open until 7 a.m.  I made my way to the Opera House and was treated to the site of a huge cruise ship docking at the Circular Quay. Unfortunately, clouds on the eastern horizon obscured the sunrise. Here is a link to some more photographs from my morning walk. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-five-sydney-morning-walk-february-8-2015sYDNEY MORNING WALK (9 of 15)

I headed back to my hotel for another hearty breakfast before I checked out. I  really enjoyed the location, food and hospitality of the Sydney Old Town Holiday Inn and would recommend it to anyone visiting Sydney. After checkout I made my way with my luggage by foot to the Circular Quay and had no problems taking the local  train,  carrying all of my luggage,    to  Central Station. I then   boarded my train to the Blue  Mountains.  The trains leave Sydney each hour .The train was filled mainly with tourists  heading to the beautiful Blue mountains, a World Heritage site.Katoomba train (2 of 6)

It was a pleasant two hour train ride to Katoomba the town I decided to stay in. Our ride  first took us past the sprawl of the city. We than rode through  the suburbs, with the familiar sights  so typical now of all the  industrial nations cities,  modest homes, lawns,  Seven Elevens, Shell gas stations and retails outlets being seen everywhere. Finally after about an hour we got into the beauty of the mountains as we made  made our way through quaint little  mountain towns as we climbed higher to Katoomba. Here is a link to some more photographs from my train ride to Katoomba. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-five-train-ride-to-katoomba-february-8-2016Train ride to Katoomba (9 of 11)

I arrived in Katoomba around noon and made my way, with all my luggage, through the  old tourist town and to the historic Carrington hotel, once one of the finest hotels in the British Empire. My room was ready but I found out it was a shared bath. The pitfalls of planning your own trip. No one to blame the problems on. I decide to upgrade. While they were preparing my new  room I had a few hours to kill and  I signed up for the Explorer bus tour to get me around town.Katoomba train (1 of 1)

I applied a lot of sun screen to my head, I learned hot intense the Australian sun was, and hopped on the next bus. The guide was very informative and we learned so much about the flora and fauna of the region from him.  His suggestion was for me to hike down to the Katoomba Falls by way of the Furber Steps.Katoomba Falls cascade hike (8 of 49)

It was sunny and hot, even in the mountains as I began my descent on the trail but it cooled down as soon as I walked under the thick canopy of mainly eucalyptus trees. I learned there are almost a thousand species of these trees and they have the unique characteristic of shedding their bark.The trail was steep and muddy in parts where  small streams cascaded over the sheer cliff walls.Katoomba Falls cascade hike (15 of 49)

I hiked down and was intrigued by the many different species of ferns that grew along the way. I love the ferns back in my home in Northeastern Pennsylvania and didn’t realize there could be so many more species.Katoomba Falls cascade hike (16 of 49)

The trail descended along sheer cliffs by steep metal steps with rails. A fall over theKatoomba Falls cascade hike (30 of 49) rail would not be a good thing.

I came to another waterfalls and you could see this kids, hollering and having a good time and were real close to a deadly fall. I wish I was young again. No way would I get that close to the edge anymore. But when I was there edge I may be even closer.Katoomba Falls cascade hike (22 of 49)

This is the waterfall they were playing in and the straight drop just feet from were they where standing.Katoomba Falls cascade hike (24 of 49)

 

And then came the views. The famous “three sisters: rock formation could be seen acroos the valley. It was spectacular.Katoomba Falls cascade hike (29 of 49)

I made my way down to the bottom trail and decided there was no way I was hiking back up so I hitched a ride, for a fee of course, on the scenic railway. It is supposed to be the steepest railray in the world. It was an interesting experience but i was just glad I didn’t have to hike back up that mountain. Here is a link to some more photographs I took hiking to Katoomba Falls http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-five-katoomba-falls-cascade-hike-february-8-2016Katoomba Falls cascade hike (36 of 49)

I was now in the famous tourist park, Scenic World and decided to take the scenic Skyway ride, the highest cable car in Australia,  across the valley, The views of the majestic Blue Mountains were awesome. Here is a link to some more photographs from the sky cable car ride. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-five-katoomba-scenic-world-skycar-february-8-2016Scenic World (5 of 13)

Once across I waited for the Explorer bus and  rode it for a nice tour of the towns Katoomba and Leura. Again our guide filled us in on much local history,  I got back to the historic Carrington hotel and my room was ready. After a long hot shower I explored the historic hotel .Carrington Hotel (30 of 35)

There was so much elegance in all of the rooms.  After exploring the hotel, the dining room not serving dinner i walked across the street for a nice meal. I wanted to head out to Echo Point to watch the sunset but it was a long day and I had to get some much needed sleep. I knew that i was only seeing the very tip of the iceberg and that the Blue Mountains contained far more beauty and secrCarrington Hotel (2 of 6)ets than I could see if I spent the rest of my life here. But, still I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to realize just how much beauty there is on this big blue planet. Here is a link to some more photographs  of the grand and historic Carrington Hotel, http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-five-carrington-hotel-february-8-2016

 

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
John Muir,

Scenic World (8 of 13)

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Roskilde, Denmark, Scandinavian Adventure Day Five. A Visit With The Danish Rulers And Viking Ships.

Sorry but harder than I thought to find the time to post a blog everyday. Hard enough to just edit the many photographs I’m taking and to write in my journal. But I hope to get better at it. It  is early on the morning here and have a few moments before we are off to Oslo, Norway. Can’t believe we are leaving beautiful Copenhagen already.

I was so glad my sister Linda, and two fellow travelers Chris and her sister Katie decided to take a train ride to the ancient fishing village and later prosperous medieval town of Roskilde. Roskilde  Denmark  July 30 2015 (9 of 33)

The train network here in Denmark, like Sweden is remarkable. We had to ask a few questions at the central station in Copenhagen but the ride went smoothly and we enjoyed seeing some of the Danish countryside. Roskilde  Denmark  July 30 2015 (6 of 33)

Upon arrival in Roskilde we made our way to the town square and found the majestic, towering Roskilde Cathedral, burial grounds to the Danish kings and queens for  a thousand years. I will do another post with photos when I get home,  but believe me it was spectacular and impressive. Roskilde  Denmark  July 30 2015 (30 of 33)

We then hiked to the harbor and visited the informative Viking museum. An informative presentation of the five Viking ships that were preserved it the waters of the harbor. Again time prevents me from posting more photos but I will. Roskilde  Denmark  July 30 2015 (23 of 33)

After a nice lunch we made our way back to the train station. The beauty of the Cathedral and this quaint historic town will not be forgotten. Off for a quick breakfast and hope to post an entry from Norway. Have a great day.

Roskilde  Denmark  July 30 2015 (32 of 33)

Here is a link to some more photographs from our visit to Roskilde. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/scandinavia-july-26-august-8-2015/nggallery/scandinavia-july-25-august-8-2015/roskilde-denmark-july-30-2015Roskilde  Denmark  July 30 2015 (21 of 33)

 

History is a cyclic poem written by Time upon the memories of man. ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

 

 

 

 

 

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Glen Onoko, Lehigh River Gorge, A Lot Warmer Than My Last Visit.

Another nice Spring day and I decided to hike down in the Lehigh River Gorge.This river meanders through the edge of the Pocono Mountains  creating a deep winding gorge as it does. I have hiked it in  the late Fall and Winterrailroad hike snake 3 (45 of 48)   but never in warm weather so thought I’d check it out today, Good choice. It truly is a beautiful place in the Spring.

The hills were adorned it their light green spring attire of freshly sprouted leaves. The trail runs along the active railroad track through heavily wooded state game lands. I saw a lot of hikers and bikers on the trail today and rafters, kayakers and even a few fisherman in the river.lizard (11 of 48)

Lot of birds singing along the trail but they were in the trees below the trail near the river and hard to photograph. I did experience my first encounter with lizards here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I ran into a few of them and think they are a species of skinks. Also found a dead baby ringnecked snake. It seems a there are a lot of reptiles living in the rock wall that protects the railroad tracks from the flood waters of the Lehigh River.lizard (16 of 48)

It was so peaceful walking under newly green trees and listening to the roar of the Lehigh River. I sat down a few times to just relax and enjoy . Here is a link to a video of one of my resting areas. You can here the river, the singing birds and even the sound of the newly hatched cicada. I could  have sit there all day. https://youtu.be/d_HkMWOXFbQ

I walked out about five miles and decided to take a break when I heard  a train whistle. I love trains and sat and watched the local tourists train take it’s passengers for a ride through the beautiful gorge. Here is the Youtube link to another video I took of the train. Pretty cool if  you like trains https://youtu.be/o6gklaVAilorailroad hike snake 3 (34 of 48)

It was a long walk back but didn’t mind it one bit, walking in this wonderful gorge along the river. I had enjoyed walking down here in  the winter  months but it was so much nicer today. For those interested in some more of the history here is the link to my February 1st blog http://wp.me/p5GeDV-30

There are  so many places to visit here in Northeastern Pennsylvania but you should hike the Lehigh River Gorge at Glen Onoko. A prefect place to take in the beauty of Spring. Here is a link to some more photographs I took on my hike today. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-5/nggallery/blog-photos/glen-onoko-lehigh-river-gorge-may-9-2015ring-necked snake (1 of 1)

 

 

There are many ways to salvation, and one of them is to follow a river. — David Brower

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