Thursday, November 04, 2010

Life is a Highway

I have never liked driving. Being a passenger means I literally have the time to sit back and enjoy the scenery. Truth be known, I don’t even have a valid driver’s license any more. I cannot tell you how lucky I was in Sydney to have a wonderful friend like LoJo who was not only a world class ambassador for her fabulous city but who also didn’t mind being the one to drive along almost every major highway in and around Sydney over the course of a week.

If Tuesday was about industry and cities then Wednesday was a return to nature. Our first stop was the lookout at Mount Keira where we cast our gazes down upon Wollongong. Perched in the hills like an oversized aviary, the lookout is an incredibly peaceful spot to grab a cup of coffee or, it turns out, to get married.

LoJo and I noticed several padlocks attached to the iron fence that formed the outer perimeter of the lookout. The locks were all engraved with names and dates and fastened by their brides and grooms. It seemed to me a very romantic gesture for the couples to leave their mark in such a symbolic way. I did, however, wonder what they did with the keys afterward.

We drove back through the mountains and over to Warragamba Dam near Penrith. The dam, I learned, is operated by the Sydney Catchment Authority and helps distribute water to locals in Sydney and the Lower Blue Mountains alike.

Perhaps our visit to Toronto the day before had home on my mind, but my first thought as we breathed in the clean rain-scented air was that the area reminded me of Cottage Country in Northern
Ontario. From the winding blue waters to the endless blanket of green forestland it was like Muskoka had been transplanted and was simply waiting for me to build my Great Canadian Dream on the shores of the Warragamba River.

The facilities and grounds at Warragamba are quite impressive. It is easy to see why so many Sydneysiders would make the drive to the dam to enjoy a Sunday picnic. The area was incredibly peaceful and LoJo was able to point out several different species of native birds we spotted perched here and there throughout the day.

I couldn’t get over the beauty of the land that surrounds Sydney. A short drive in almost any direction and you’ve left behind the oppressive clamor of the bustling city in favour of an ocean of nature and beauty. A wander through wine country, a picnic at the river’s edge in the mountains, or simply a chance for an eagle’s view of the urban chaos below – it is all available in Sydney if one only remembers to look for it.


Brenda said...

I am not fond of driving either but life in the USA requires it.

You are making me want to visit Australia! I love hearing all about this :)

Anonymous said...

Typ0, not only didn't I mind driving you around, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I love driving, and you're terrific company. It is very gratifying to show someone around that appreciates it. You make our little jaunts sound so interesting.


Anonymous said...

Glad you had LoJo to take you sightseeing to such wonderful places.
I can't believe that such fertile land is so close to Sydney--the scenes are beautiful. I always had the picture in my mind of an arid wasteland. But I suppose there are sheep and kangaroos around that live on something!

Corinne said...

No. More. Song title. Titles. Dude, you're getting these tunes stuck in my head, like immediately.

"Honey, I lost the keys to our marriage." Hmmm.... Thinkin' that wouldn't go over so well. Great photos from around Sydney! Still totally jealous. ;)

sprinkles said...

I'm not a big driver either really. I didn't get my license until my senior year of high school, well after all my friends had gotten theirs. Just had no interest. And then once I got it, I almost never drove anywhere.

One day my parents decided that they were tired of driving me everywhere so they bought me a car and insisted that I was going to pay them back for it. The car was a piece of sh*t and not worth what they paid for it but I found that I loved the independence it afforded me.