Up in the blues…

♫ soundtrack: Run River North | Mr. Brightside

So I’ve been working in hospitality for a couple of years now, and although I don’t even know what a weekend means anymore, hahah, I also love to live as in the opposite way of everybody else – and taking a couple of days off during the week doesn’t sound too bad, does it? :)

This week I’ve decided (after confirming my roster on Monday, yay!) to spend two days in the mountains, more specifically the Blue Mountains, which is a national park here in New South Wales, two-hour train from Central Station in Sydney. I’ve never been there before and heard so many things about this place, so why not give it a go? To be honest, I think it is a really great choice for those travelling solo – heaps of nature, stunning views, a lot of walks and stairs and – but hold on, I’ll get to that!

First of all, the Blue Mountains National Park is located roughly 80km to the west of Sydney, but with easy access by train to Katoomba station, that would be the closest city. It’s inscribed as part of the UNESCO World Heritage, and originally land of Aboriginal peoples (particularly Gundungurra and Darug tribes). There’s a lot of trails to walk (from one hour to three days), heaps of lookouts, and most of it pretty accessible by public transport. Besides the bushwalking and cultural activities, there’s also some yoga retreats – there’s one of a 10-day meditation course that I would love to go, but for now they’re fully booked up to next year for new members. :(

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Fact: yes, the Blue Mountains are indeed blue (and beautiful)! Why? Apparently the blue haze that we see is actually a combination of dust, water droplets and even air molecules that are illuminated by a blue scatter of sunlight, phenomenon called Rayleigh scattering, turning objects blue when seen from a certain distance.

Well, now about the trip itself: I started the trip towards the Scenic World, which is a complex of rides and walks in the forest down the mountains – for a first-timer, I would definitely recommend going there – it’s a bit pricey ($40 per adult, unlimited rides for the day), but as I had no idea of what I was going to find, it was good knowing that I could just take a cableway back to somewhere I could get a bus back to the station, hahah. So they have the Skyway, Cableway and Railway, all of them that go both ways (in this case, Cableway and Railway up and down, Skyway back and forth from Echo Point). The Scenic World itself, besides the stations for the rides, has an eatery, cafe and souvenir shop – and just beautiful views, of course.

What I decided to do was a bit trickier than what most people do, but totally worth it: I first took the Skyway, and a 30 minute walk to Echo Point, where is the best view of the Three Sisters (name based on an Aboriginal legend), walked the Prince Henry Cliffwalk and then down the Giant Staircase (yep, giant, roughly a thousand really steep steps!). Then the Federal Pass trail overlooking the Jamison Valley, all the way back to the Scenic Walkways – the walks at the tempered forest at the bottom of the rides. It was maybe a couple of hours walk, and then I took the Cableway upwards. I enjoyed the rides (Railway! hahah almost a roller coaster feeling!) for a bit and then decided to finish the day at Echo Point. The whole thing was amazing, but heads up for the weather – yea man, it was COLD af, I started my day at 5 degrees and the maximum the whole day was 10, seeeriously. The whole day was about a 19km walk. YEP.

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Three Sisters (on the left)

Second day I had already booked a tour for the Jenolan Caves, approximately an hour and twenty from Katoomba (no public transport). I booked for the Lucas Cave, which said it was the largest and most famous one, but I think just the place around the caves was already so stunning that I was happy already: if you have the chance, walk your way up to the Charlotte Arch (photo on the left, the start point is in front of Jenolan House) and also worth a stroll along the Blue Lake – that is kinda of blue/green, due to the limestone).

If you visit and are curious like I am, I recommend downloading the Jenolan Caves app, they offer a series of short audios that tell a bit about the history surrounding the caves, the discoveries and cave keepers, geological information and cultural heritage. Just a helpful tip, there’s no wifi over there and my phone couldn’t get any kind of signal, so it’s best to download it before you go.

The Lucas Cave is just beautiful, with different formations and details – all perfectly explained by the guides that lead the tours! Roughly a hour and a half of visit, a significant number of stairs’ flights and a bit chilly inside but nothing much to worry about, to be honest. Good to highlight the Cathedral chamber, but I’ll leave it for you all to hear the story there :)

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Now, the useful things (why not? hahaha):

Beijo!

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“the lightest inebriation”

So just an little update: I’ve decided writing this blog in English from now on, so nothing as fair as explaining the page title: it’s extracted from a piece from a famous Brazilian/Ukrainian author called Clarice Lispector, which I took the liberty of translating (fairly freely,  but I tried!!). It’s one of my favourite pieces (and writers) in the world, and it makes not so much sense in English as in Portuguese since there’s an obvious game with the words that cannot be translated at its full extent. Anyway, here it goes:

By not being distracted

There was the lightest inebriation of walking together, the joy like when you feel your throat a bit dry and you notice that by admiration the mouth was slightly open: they breathe beforehand the air that was ahead, and having this thirst was their own water. They walked for streets and streets talking and laughing, talked and laughed to give substance and weight to the lightest inebriation that was the joy of their thirst. Because of cars and people, sometimes they’ve touched, and the touch – thirst is the grace, but the waters are a dark beauty – and by the touch it glowed the shine of their water, the mouth getting a little drier by admiration. How they admired being together!

Until everything turned into no. Everything turned into no when they wanted that same joy of them. Then the great dance of errors. The ceremony of misguided words. He looked for it and couldn’t see, she hasn’t seen that he didn’t see, she who was there, though. However, he, who was there. Everything went wrong, and there was the big dust of the streets, and the more they got it wrong, with more roughness they wanted it, without a smile. Only because they’ve paid attention, only because they weren’t distracted. Only because, suddenly demanding and hard, they’ve wished to have what they already had. All because they wanted to name it, because they wanted to be, them who were. They came to learn that, by not being distracted, the phone doesn’t ring, and you have to leave the house so the letter arrives, and when the phone finally rings, the desert of wait already cut the wires. Everything, everything because they were no longer distracted.

(Clarice Lispector, from the book Para Não Esquecer)

Original in Portuguese here: Por não estarem distraídos.

…and we’re back! :)

♫ soundtrack: SYML | Where’s My Love

Okay, past (literally!) a few years, hahah, I think I’ll start writing over here again! I’ll start from scratch, tell a bit how things are around here and what happened in the past couple of years!

So, intro part: my name is Fernanda and I’m 27 y.o., born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, but for almost two years I’ve been living in Australia, more precisely in Sydney. No, I never actually thought I would end up here, not because of the distance or whatsoever, but I before I came I don’t think I ever took Australia as actual place – hahah – like does it really even exist? Well, it’s been already a couple of years and it has been lovely, for realsies :)

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Since my lasts posts, from my trip to Lisbon in 2012 <3, I’ve worked for a few years, then I spend a month holiday in charming Valencia, in Spain – kinda learning Spanish but not actually, haha. After another year and a bit, packed all my stuff and moved here, turned my whole life basically upside down. Learned a job from zero, fell in and out of love and discovered a whole new world before my eyes, way bigger than I could ever picture. Now I realize how tiny bitty grain of sand I am in this big wide world, and how each time my story looks  a tad unconventional. Not because I’m Brazilian and live abroad, but because beside that, my Japanese background (it never takes less than 5 minutes to explain why the hell someone that looks and talks like me actually came from Brasil) – it’s like in the end I could not possibly come from only one place, and I actually kind of don’t…

Since I’ve left, I’ve been to Italy in October of last year with my mom, for the second time and now pretty sure will only be one of many. Spent a week in Bali, in Indonesia,  and finally Japan, in April, one of the most amazing and unbelievable places I’ve been and that’s going to take a few more times to get tired of. Maybe when I have the time I’ll write about it! :)

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beautiful Capri, Italia haha <3

But one of the things that I really want to write is a kinda series of “pills” about Australia. Dude, it may even be a western culture, really close and with a bunch of references from North America, with touches from the British, Irish, Scottish, original land of the Aboriginal and with loads of immigrants, from anywhere and which I cherish, always. It’s a mix way more recent than Brazil, so with a bit of tension sometimes and a not-so homogenous culture, but any and every details is very striking, and more often than not, quite peculiar. Again, it’s always good to advise that everything I write and all my comments are absolutely mine, conclusions I make from the talks I have, the things I see, and not at all absolute. Welcome to my own Straya, mate haha!

The stories I tell are about things that I’ve seen, and for me kind of make a portrait of what I think about Australia after a while here. There’s no way I ca consider that everybody have the same perception as me, and most of the time I may generalize and say bullsh*t, but nothing of what I say is made up – and of course, I avoid at all costs saying “oh, that’s just how aussies are”, for the good or the bad, cause everybody is really different and this would be and extremely open concept!

Anyway, initial explanation and introduction given, I’ll be writing for anyone willing to read! <3

Um beijo!

x.o.

Caminhos

“A menudo encontramos nuestro destino por los caminos que tomamos para evitarlo.” Jean de La Fontaine

“We often find our destiny by the ways we take to avoid it.”

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Regarde le ciel.

Uma amiga de Lyon postou esse texto no facebook e o texto é tão lindo que não consegui não copiar pra cá… é de Evandro Barreto, que tem um blog chamado Conexão Paris, nesse post aqui ó. :)

Do que não sentimos falta em Paris

Pelo que contam os passaportes, somos todos brasileiros. Mas, à menor provocação das circunstâncias, logo nos revelamos riograndenses do norte ou do sul, mineiros ou pantaneiros, baianos ou acreanos, nativos do Jardim Paulista ou do Jardim de Alá. Com nossos valores e nossas frescuras, atravessamos o mundo sem perder de vista a esquina de casa.

No entanto, quando estamos em Paris esquecemos que sábado é dia de feijoada no “Bolinha” enquanto derrotamos um cassoulet na “Fontaine de Mars”.  Do alto da torre, vemos o sol se por sem suspirarmos pelos crepúsculos do Guaíba ou de Iracema. Manhã de verão e não estou no Leblon?  Pas grave. O verão de lá dura o ano inteiro e hoje tem Beethoven na Salle Pleyel.  O casal de Bel’zonte, presença constante no Inhotim,  chega a uma conclusão, enquanto percorre o Parc Monceau:  “Esta é outra cidade sem mar que nos agrada muito”.

Nova Iorque nos sacode, Londres nos impõe respeito, Roma nos emociona, mas Paris nos completa a todos. Italianos como Yves Montand, holandeses como Van Gogh, espanhóis como Picasso, suíços como Godard,  americanos como Hemingway, brasileiros como Santos Dumont só ficaram prontos quando chegaram aqui.

Você, não sei, mas quando volto ao Brasil revejo a última viagem como uma criança gira  um caleidoscópio. Fragmentos coloridos das sucessivas temporadas vão-se justapondo e combinando de modo aleatório para formar  imagens inéditas, em que o totalmente novo realimenta o conhecido, preenchendo espaços, abrindo rotas, prenunciando iluminações e desafios num quebra-cabeças sem fim. Paris tem  sempre a resposta e nada me faltará.”

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Tá bom, vou postar sobre as últimas cidades que eu vi – haha, finalmente, óo-quei. Quero escrever antes que eu esqueça, antes que essas memórias me sejam fugazes, porque né.

Queria não esquecer. Porque eu sei que vou, de pouquinho em pouquinho vou esquecendo dos aeroportos, de alguns mapas mentais que eu fazia na minha cabeça, de algumas ruas que eu passei, tão rápido… vou me esquecendo mas vou me lembrando, de detalhes em detalhes, daqueles só para avisar que o sonho foi real, sabe como é?

Enfim, vou começar pelo final, Lisboa!

Engraçado conhecer um pouco do país que colonizou o Brasil e acabar percebendo como as coisas são diferentes: é como se Portugal guardasse um pouco do Brasil colonial, que hoje quase não se vê – pelo menos em São Paulo. Depois de looongas horas de viagem de ônibus entre Madrid e Lisboa, cheguei às seis da manhã e nem o metrô estava aberto… o hostel ficava em Baixa Chiado, no centro e bem localizado: a rua era paralela à rua principal, que chama Rua Augusta! haha.

No primeiro dia saí andando pela orla, que não é exatamente praia. Andei de lá até Belém, o que deve ter dado umas boas duas horas (e debaixo de um sol!) e depois de volta, passei pelo cais do Sodré e pela estação de barcos – que faz passeios diários para as praias próximas, como Cascais. A brisa era uma delícia e no caminho tinha uma pista para correr, onde estavam escritos os versos daquele poema de Fernando Pessoa (na verdade, Alberto Caeiro).

O Tejo desce de Espanha
E o Tejo entra no mar em Portugal.
Toda a gente sabe isso.
Mas poucos sabem qual é o rio da minha aldeia
E para onde ele vai
E donde ele vem.
E por isso, porque pertence a menos gente,
É mais livre e maior o rio da minha aldeia.

Depois de andar muito, cheguei à Torre de Belém e ao Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, mas o mais importante era experimentar os pasteizinhos originais de Belém, haha. A casa fica ao lado do mosteiro, um pouco depois de um jardim botânico. Comprei alguns para experimentar e me sentei no jardim do mosteiro para comer, próximo à fonte. Depois de perambular um pouco, voltei para o hostel andando – só que dessa vez na sombra, porque meus ombros estavam ardendo, aaaah!

No dia seguinte resolvi andar por Alfama, o bairro onde nasceu o fado, música tradicional portuguesa… o bairro era muito lindo, enfeitado com esses fios peludos coloridos (não sei se era uma data específica) entre os prédios mais antigos. Estranhei um pouco, pois parece que os prédios são um pouco mal cuidados, aquela imagem dos azulejos portugueses, só que amarelados e quebradinhos, mas essa ideia de remendados trazia um charme para o bairro.


E esse foi um dos achados mais legais de Lisboa: o mercado de pulgas, que chamava Feira da Ladra. Eu tenho uma quedinha muito óbvia por feiras, sejam de comida ou de objetos, antiguidades e bobagens – adoro as cores todas, os panos estendidos pelo chão com revistas, câmeras, bibelôs, relógios, roupas e sapatos e coisas de cozinha que contam sempre um pouco mais sobre os costumes e história de cada lugar. E, sim, com a Europa em crise, muitas pessoas vendendo as próprias coisas… o que é até um pouco triste, cada coisinha dessas na nossa vida acaba criando um valor muito maior que o dinheiro pode comprar.

Não deu para conhecer Portugal toda, claaaro. O Lucas sempre diz que o melhor é pegar o carro e ir conhecendo as cidadezinhas próximas – o que é verdade, cada cidade tem seu tesouro e talvez nunca dê tempo de ver tudo. Mas, para mim, acho que viajar é sobre aproveitar da melhor forma as oportunidades que a gente tem de viver – e isso significa que a gente pode ficar só mais sábia, para saber voltar.

Um beijo,