A sunny Sunday in the Hunter Valley, Australia
We had to wait around a bit until Klaus & Verena came to pick us up on their car. We first went to a shopping centre and got an Australian plug adaptor, so Christopher and I could use the Internet at the same time. Next we went to Woolworths next door, where we got a couple of baguettes, zuchini, eggplant and meat for our barbecue. We got some veal and at Christopher’s insistence also bought some kangaroo meat! He had never tried it before, but found it tasted similar to deer. He also went on to add that he would not mind trying crocodile meat next!
We then went on the road that would take us up to the Hunter Valley and I remembered going by train from Sydney to Mt Kosciusko in the Blue Mountains back in 1976. One has to go inland to go to both places and the two are quite close to both Sydney and Newcastle. I really enjoyed the ride, as there was a blue sky, many gum trees, typical Australian houses with nice gardens, corner bars with a TAB sign on it, roundabouts and long straight stretches of road. I enjoyed it all! We were lucky as it was kind of warm and we even saw 21° displayed on one sign on the way back to Newcastle! We got to the Hunter Valley and Klaus stopped at lookouts so we could take pictures. We visited a few wineries, trying and even buying some wine bottles as we went along. Many of the names ran a bell of course, as many of the Hunter Valley wineries export their wines. There were other people doing the round of wineries, but there was no way of knowing whether they came from Sydney or Newcastle. In one winery I noticed a poster which was just about winery doors in the Hunter Valley and many of the names and logos were familiar too!
We then found a spot to have our picnic and I had completely forgotten about those facilities, as there is nothing of the sort in Austria. Picnic tables were in the shade, there were rubbish bins and they even provided gas for barbeques! If one prefers to use wood, then one must get the wood oneself, unfortunately!
Klaus & Verena started cooking the veggies and meat. We started eating the veal first and that tasted excellent! Christopher also liked his kangaroo and he compared it to eating deer, as the taste is stronger than other meat. The picnic site even had toilet facilities for men and women and they were clean and even had toilet paper!
Suddenly I felt happy about my idea of moving back to Australia again, only one more year to go! There was blue sky and everything looked so nice! Talked much to Klaus & Verena and they also told me that they had a bridging visa, but theirs is part of their Business Visa and they are not allowed to travel outside the country.
From the wineries we moved to the Hunter Valley Gardens. We had a hot drink there and it was interesting having a look at the shops, as they had all sorts of fancy chocolates and drinks. Gernot then found a place where the three guys could try some gulf and I think Christopher enjoyed it very much, as he has just started doing a golf course in Newcastle! Once the sun started to come down we returned to Newcastle and Klaus showed us the touristy places around the city. It had been a most enjoyable outing and to top things off, Klaus and Verena also showed us their flat and then Klaus took us to a shopping centre so we could do our weekly shopping, as we have no car here yet.
Our flat overlooks the port and I keep thinking about the port of Callao in my hometown Lima! Apparently some 20 ships arrive there every day. Some are transporting containers, but most of them carry coal, which is Newcastle’s main export. When we went to the Hunter Valley we came across trains which had 4 locomotives in front and they were pulling kilometer long wagons carrying the black coal. I don’t know much about the price of commodities, but it is obvious that we are talking about a lot of money!
From our flat we can hear when the ships blow their horns announcing their arrival or departure. A helicopter also flies pilots out to the ships to help get them in and out of the port. Ships seems to stay in port for a few days and then it is time for the barges to help pull or push the giant ships into place.
I wish I could see their flags, as that way I would know where they come from. Their names are not usually clear and that is something else I would not mind knowing. According to our friends the coal is sent to China and India.
We have also noticed that twice a day a small plane lands in the water just across from front our flat bringing business men to and from Sydney.