Hello all

Since we left Alice Springs on Tuesday we have been having all kinds of adventures dear friends! One that ended up being very interesting was the first night’s stopover at a place called Mt. Ebenezer Roadhouse (pop 11).  This rather unusual place is owned by an aboriginal community but is managed by white Australians with the help of some British backpackers.

Mt Connor fooled us from a distance! A friend told me they call it "Fooluru" don't you just love that?

Mt Connor fooled us from a distance! A friend told me they call it “Fooluru” don’t you just love that?

Four hundred aborigines live in a community 15 ks away from the roadhouse and we managed to see quite a few of them while having dinner at the pub that night. In fact I think we were the only white people (besides the staff) having tea there but we loved every minute of our interactions!

As we drove along the highway the next morning, we thought we saw Uluru in the distance and got quite excited. However, as we got closer we realised it was Mt. Connor which Kenny, the manager at Mt. Ebenezer had warned us might happen. He was right!

I wrote this piece in my journal:

Wed 20th August 2014

Kenny told us to stop at Mt. Connor lookout so dutifully we stop (Kenny has that effect on you) and meet a bus load of seniors on a tour. As we take our morning tea to the picnic table, there are a few women from the bus sitting there. Geoff asks can we share the sunshine as it’s freezing cold. Val, one of the ladies, says “Well, we won’t bite …” to which I respond “He probably wouldn’t mind a bite from a lady. It would keep him awake!”

Well, that was it … hilarity followed. We were best buddies after that. We chatted so long they nearly missed their call to go and only then did we snap Mt. Connor and climb the reddest sandy hill I’ve ever seen, to view the Amadeus Salt Lake. Amazing view … to the left and the right; who would have known it was there if not for Kenny? Kenny who is about to walk the Camino!

After that dear friends, we were flying very high and the kilometers then began to fly by also. Finally, with about 30ks to go we see another huge rock. Oh yes we cry! THIS IS THE REAL ULURU! We’d seen the rock. I couldn’t get a decent photo but we are excited nevertheless.

We’ve come to see Ayers Rock – known to the aboriginals as Uluru – and finally we’ve arrived! I have been here 45 years ago, as a silly 22-year-old with so little commonsense that I climbed The Rock in sandals!! Yep, I did say sandals and I had blisters for the next two weeks to prove it.

20140821_113444Today, we visited Uluru to do what the call The Marla Walk and when I saw the sheer cliffs of Uluru I wondered all over again about climbing that rock in sandals! However, today we are asked to respect the Aboriginal people and not climb it as it is a sacred place for them.

Oh dear friends, we learned so much today from the Ranger about aboriginal people! I realised then how much I had changed in the last 45 years wince my last visit. The world too has changed … especially Australia. We understand about the original inhabitants of our land now and we respect them for their culture and  share their land with them also.

What’s more, I understand clearly now WHY this part of our country was/is so precious to them. The Rock fascinates and draws you. It has that effect on those who visit. We have met so many different nationalities who keep wanting to come back. We met some Germans at Mt. Ebenezer who are visiting here for the third time.

We will be in Yulara (the township attached to Uluru) for another three days so you will be hearing more from me before I leave. Also, we have again arrived at the very right time for an Astronomy weekend and plan to attend a couple of the activities relating to astronomy with our very own Dr. Karl the scientist.

Until then … bye for now.

P.S. Since writing this, I have some amazing photos to show you next, but enough for today as I am off to an aboriginal ‘Welcome to Country” dance here at the campground.

The Ghan Preservation Society in Alice Springs was amazing. There were tow old dining cars in the yard which we looked through. One from the forties, the other from the eighties.

The memorabilia at the  Ghan Preservation Society in Alice Springs was amazing. There were two old dining cars in the yard which we looked through. One from the forties, the other from the eighties. For those who don’t know, the Ghan is one of the great train journeys of the world. It travels from Adelaide up the centre of Australia to Darwin. It was named The Ghan because camels were used previously to transport goods along this route and Afghans were brought in to take them on the journey. When the Ghan train began in the 1930s, the shortened version of Afghans eg The Ghan was born. It’s been called that ever since.A new modern version of The Ghan still runs today.

The dining car from the Ghan train.

The eighties kitchen from the old Ghan train.

Before leaving The Alice we saw a Catholic Church open as we were walking the town. I lit a candle for my family and for safety in travelling. It felt so good!

Before leaving The Alice we saw a Catholic Church open as we were ‘walking the town’. I lit a candle for my family and for safety in travelling. It felt so good to do this!

Mt. Ebenezer with a pop of eleven! Mostly dirt campground and this store and pub.

Mt. Ebenezer with a pop of eleven! Mostly dirt campground and this store and pub. A great experience of the outback!

The most amazing red dirt everywhere you look here in Central Australia. Mt. Connor in the background and our van down the bottom of the hill.

The most amazing red dirt everywhere you look here in Central Australia. Mt. Connor in the background and our van down the bottom of the hill.

Amadeus Salt Lake seen from the top of the red sandhill goes on for miles.

Amadeus Salt Lake as seen from the top of the red sandhill goes on for miles.

 

Uluru in the distance as we drover ever closer.

Uluru in the distance as we drover ever closer.

Geoff and I on the Marla Walk at Uluru. The Ranger told some wonderful stories here.

Geoff and I on the Marla Walk around the base of Uluru. The Ranger told some wonderful stories here about the aboriginal people.

The base of Uluru where people start to climb The Rock.

The base of Uluru where people start to climb The Rock. See the people toward the right climbing the first leg … it takes about three hours round journey.

Geoff looking keen to climb The Rock but got to the top of the first rocks and decided he'll come back later!

Geoff looking keen to climb The Rock but he got to the top of the first rocks and decided he’ll come back later!

 

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