Travel Diary: I love abandoned places

I am sure I have touched on this in a previous post somewhere down the line, but I love seeing areas that were once walked, walked no more. I understand some of these places may have been abandoned for very sad or destructive reasons such as a shipwreck, radiation or war. Often these places become very empty very fast. I am filled with wonder and endless questions when such a place is brought to my attention.

Whilst I was in the Blue Mountains a week ago, I found a few examples of a time left behind. Some were recent walkways that were closed off for repairs.

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Others were much older, such as this mine that was closed back in the early 1900’s. By 1933, the Katoomba Colliery focused on tourism after the winding down and eventual death of the coal mine. It isn’t just the mine that is no longer functioning, the button you can see here to provide audio information is also not working.

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On my walk I stumbled upon what looks like a shale bucket rusting just off the elevated walkway through the rain-forest. It seems to have stayed where it was last used, or maybe in this case, where it landed.

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The website Info Blue Mountains gives a little insight as to why it is here:

Locating kerosene shale at Ruined Castle, he (John Britty North) registered “Katoomba Coal & Shale Co. Ltd” in 1885. German engineers were hired to construct an aerial ropeway. Known as the “Flying Fox”, it ran from the Ruined Castle, across the Jamison Valley, to the engine bank (near the upper terminus of the Scenic Railway). It collapsed after only a six months, the wreckage is still strewn across the valley.  The company soon went into liquidation.

This may have been in the exact spot it landed in after collapse. Pretty damn cool.

In my post linked here, you can find the new Scenic Railway that occupies the previous coal train that eventually was used for the increasing number of tourists, now the worlds steepest railway. From the top, what appears to be a roller coaster track can be seen.

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Again, Info Blue Mountains sheds light on the Orphan Rocker Roller Coaster, set to be the ‘World Scariest Roller Coaster’. It has never been completed, with many of the theories as to why found on the website linked. What an amazing setting for a coaster this would be and who knows, maybe one day people will ride this.

So there we have it, an amazing destination with a history that isn’t hidden, although different to what it is today. If you have seen this place yourself or know of somewhere else in Australia or elsewhere that has become a victim to time, do let me know!

In honour of Princess

This post is dedicated to someone I see every Friday at 2pm. I don’t ask to see her, but she is there. I don’t know why she is there, nor what is going through her mind when she arrives. It is a weekly reminder for me that the mind is one hell of a crazy place to be and despite sounding like something you would read in a novel, is entirely true.

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After searching ‘lady’ on Unsplash, this is the image that I found to be most fitting to the post. I wouldn’t want to take an actual photo of the person I am about to write about, nor take photos of my workplace. The image above is very similar to what I see weekly and I am really eager to share this particular experience with my readers.

I started work exactly two months ago on September 11th. A place of work with fantastic views of Sydney Harbour. It is no surprise that we get many people walking by that pause for a moment for a photo opportunity or a little reflection. This is when I first met Princess, doing just that. She was standing there wearing a hat, gazing out of the window just above the stairs leading down to the quay. Wearing a red dress and showing no signs of distress or needing any kind of assistance, her back straight with good posture, gazing straight out to sea. Nothing strange about it, until the duty manager told me that this is what she does every Friday at 2pm. This is one part of her routine. I have since learned that every Friday she comes in from east side of the building (if you were viewing Sydney from a map) and stares out the window, a little further up from where I first saw her. She looks out over the harbour for about ten minutes, before moving down towards the staircase that takes you to the waterfront on the west side of the building. At this point she doesn’t immediately make a move downstairs, instead she gazes for another ten minutes out to the ocean. She then proceeds to make her way down the stairs and up towards the Opera House. What she does after this is unknown.

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It might be a good time to tell you how we know her name. We don’t. It was a name that just stuck after some colleagues attempted to talk to her. If you try to talk to her, she walks away. She won’t leave the premises, she will just leave your presence. She doesn’t say a word during the 20-30 minute visit, however it is guaranteed she will be there again on Friday as she was yesterday. This visit is for some reason necessary for her. The same duty manager followed her one day out of the hotel, with a little distance as he was curious as to where she goes. This is how we found out the Opera House is her next destination. Unfortunately DM duties include being at the property at all times, meaning his time outside was very limited. This and the fact that it would be disrespectful to stalk someone that is seemingly of no harm. As far as I am aware no one else has tried to gain more answers, and despite it not being a big deal for most staff that know of her I would love to find out more with each and every Friday I am in the building.

How crazy. In her mind, she wakes up and then makes her way to our building. She then sticks to the same routine without fail and carries out her silent duties. Are we the first part of her journey? Is her whole day planned like this? Is the rest of her week spent with the same rituals in different establishments? So many questions can be asked here and it is a shame that I probably won’t be able to find out if she remains so reluctant to speak.

No matter where we go in life, the mind is probably the craziest place to be. Each and every one of our heads contains different logic and reasoning. We all have interests and desires, different daily rituals and routines. Then, there are people that vary much more in their behaviours, people that act in ways that we cannot understand despite trying our hardest. How many people lead similar lives in a city the size of Sydney? I am sure this one example is the tip of the iceberg.

As big as the bunch of keys is that is strapped to the waist of the duty manager, the one key we don’t have is the one to unlock such a mind. The most crazy and mysterious door of all.

Featured Image: Photo by Evan Kirby on Unsplash

Second Photo by Alessio Lin on Unsplash

Thank you to my 600 followers! (From the Blue Mountains)

I recently hit 600 followers to my channel, a milestone I’m very proud of and a community I am eager to continue posting for. Thank you to each and every one of you that likes, comments, reads and follows my blog, it is one of the few things that really keeps me going day to day.

I have a really exciting trip in store this afternoon, I’ve reached the Blue Mountains and the weather is perfect. I cannot wait to get out there and explore a little and let you in on my experience in the next post. I’m in the hostel celebrating with a $2 latte from the machine, cheers and see you all soon! 


The cup is balancing on my knee if you’re wondering… I cannot take photos with my left hand as it is very shaky. I should maybe get that checked out.

Our normal needs more crazy

I don’t think this horse has a name, just a legacy. It is a recent addition to this street and has heads turning every single time. Why wouldn’t it? It is a horse on roller skates for crying out loud!

Then again, that is all it is. A horse and roller skates. Two very normal things combined to completely throw us off guard. Add some bright colours into the mix to truly go off the rails.

Normal+Normal=Crazy.

Something so simple is very effective at grabbing attention, it is that easy to stand out. Our everyday is very repetitive, our work patterns and dress codes, our watercooler conversations and elevator silences. A dog rocking pink shoes at the beach is like an oasis in the desert for our under-stimulated eyes and boy, did he like the attention.

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There is a reason we weren’t satisfied with black and white television. There is a reason colouring books exist. Colour adds so much more to our lives. Nothing compliments a sunny day like a burst of colour. Nothing gives hope to a cloudy day like a brightly painted house or bright yellow camper van. We need colour to stay sane and these bright blessings aren’t given enough chance.

My flatmate never wears black socks with his suits. He insists that avoiding them makes him happier and more motivated for the day ahead. I insisted that my fathers funeral was a colourful one. Even the darkest days need light, you could say they need them the most. Can you imagine if we all decided to wear greens, yellows and pinks everyday? It wouldn’t seem attention seeking or over the top if it was the new normal.

We set the standard for what is normal, why not raise the bar a little? There would be an even greater appreciation for those that go beyond that.

To infinity!

 

A quick thank you

My blog has seen positive growth in recent months thanks to both religious and secular communities reading, commenting and sharing. 

No matter how large or small the viewing numbers, it is always exciting to see progress, especially on topics so important to me. 

I look forward to continued progress, finding great new blogs and finding inspiration from current ones!

Many thanks, 

Sam