Posted on apr-08-2009

Viaggio di Gino, Ann Julie e Luisa

Questo Diario di Viaggio è stato tenuto da Ann Julie che, essendo inglese, ha preferito scriverlo nella sua lingua madre. Per non perdere il vero senso delle sue parole, preferiamo pubblicarlo senza tradurlo.

After being met at Perth Airport by Dundee’s mother who was very helpful and showed the good services given to tourists even at 2am. The week described before in letter was the one spent with my brother Ron and his Ladies (4) at Sorrento Resort north of Perth. Marisa could have spent the whole holiday here as in Italy she, Sara and Aaron have a great problem with the sun and the beach, suffer from a type of erythema more an allergy than sunburn, so to be able to stay in the sun and get a tan without suffering was out of this world for her. Daphne was horrified at this as in the southern hemisphere there is a lot of skin cancer. You see one can’t win but couldn’t spoil Marisa’s enjoyment lovely free beaches and no immediate skin problem. I told you about the changes we saw on Rottnest Island from our visit in’93 and this one; we took the ferry from Hillary Boat Harbour (Sorrento) Last att. pic sent.

On the 21/12/08, Ron and Family dropped us at the car rental office and we were off on our discovery of South/western Australia. Even with the Tom-Tom that we had brought with us from Italy it took us sometime to get out of Perth due to the new motorway they are building as the roads are not registered on the machine. Our first stop was at Preston, the start of the Geographe Region, there are big inlets which are a mark of the Australian coastline, Pine trees which I didn’t think very Australian at this stage but had to change my mind later on as they are full of them, so much so that they could go into competition with the Black Forests of Germany in some areas. There were also the Black Swans the emblem of WA, at Australind, we walked around then off to Bunbury where Ron and Daph lived for a few years where we saw a campsite ‘Liguria’, there are a lot of Italian names.

Little Beach

Little Beach

Every zone in Australia is a Shire, at Busselton we had lunch and I realized that this was going to be a flash Gordon tour so I would not be able to amble as I like too but had to be like Gino mark out A-B and so on. Next stop Cowanamup Bay a small bay with a placard that described the big biodiversity, limestone/granite coastal cliffs, Jarrah Marri forest, and Karri lined brook. Sheltered Bays with sea grass beds and reef ecosystems, giant humpback, south right whales. Home to the Wardandi people or Noongar hunter/gathers this was the start of Leeuwin Park which covers from the north to south cape. (It reminded me of the Indian Ocean cape zone of SA) My camera got over heated, thought that the batteries had run out but when I changed them still didn’t work, will tell you the out come of this later on, but it meant that I have no photos from a lizard at the bay until we got to Pemberton.

We spent our first night at Margaret River and don’t think that the famous chocolate factory is there, it is miles north so we didn’t have the chocolate fondue that we had planned. Next morning went to Prevelly Park were there were a lot of old surfers, to think that it was Xmas week there weren’t many people about. The Caves on the way down to the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse are fantastic; we went to the Lake Cave. It is a drop to walk down, don’t know how many stairs but well worth it as they have formations that you don’t see in the Grotto (Caves) of Italy as the earthquakes break them. We also learnt about the Bussell’s and the Brockman Families who owned all this land between the two Capes & Fanny Brockman nee Bussell discovered this cave. The lady wasn’t impressed with me as I pointed out that there was no sign with regard to the level of difficulty. As here in Italy they cover themselves with regard to visitors having problems, only the Mammoth Cave seems able to take people with physical problems. There was a Japanese Lady who was worried that she wouldn’t make it back up…she did.

We had a picnic lunch near the lighthouse with a breathtaking view and watched the whales while eating. Went off the track a bit to Molloy island, we didn’t go onto it as it is a private one with a ferry to take you there, and our first introduction to this dog and cat’s not allowed or only those of the residents. Back to Margaret River by the same road that we would use the next day to leave that zone. The whole area of the Capes besides the coastal/beach area is taken up with wineries, golf courses, Spa Retreats but it still has a beautiful wildness which I hope it keeps as it is a big attraction. Now there is no need to exploit the land for tourism which was late coming to the zone, there are a lot of farms for sale which could be converted and the ‘Greens’ seemed to have protected it more than in other areas of Australia. At Alexandra Bridge they still have protest banners up.

On our way up to Nannup there was a kangaroo on the side of the road who gave the impression of passing the morning watching the cars travelling by. Nannup seems to be a great logging area with a big factory and miles and miles of pine trees but seems that they are also do eucalyptus plantation which seem more natural to the environment but don’t know if they can chips them as they do with the pine to export all around the world. Then down to Manjimup, the countryside changes and reminds one of the Marché and Toscana in Italy and as I said before parts of Germany. The names on the map don’t give the true impression of the size of the towns. Some are mentioned and even looking out for them they aren’t there, not a house. There again you have small name printed and a town is to be seen rather than a village. We were told to keep the petrol above the half tank mark and it is a good rule. At this stage I had to replace the camera, Kodak are for people like me very easy to use and I found out also the most costly in their range, asked for the girl to do it so that it was ready for use and it didn’t work. I said lets try mine again and low and behold it worked, bought a memory card, as I had to buy something seeing that they had opened the box. It is something to do with the connect with the battery, it happened again as it had happened in London, so after a nights rest and playing with the batteries it starts to work normally.

Walk to Glocester Tree

Walk to Glocester Tree

Arrived at Pemberton and thought to do some sight seeing before going to the hotel/motel but the golf link road was closed. When we got to the hotel they told us about the big storm that they had had on the 20th the swimming pool had just been reopened as the tree had fallen over it and rubble into it. Walked to the Gloucester Tree, the bush is lovely. We slept very well, rather cool so that we wonder about this Australian Summer. 24/12 went down to Point D’Entrecasteaux on the way we saw the damage that had been done, thankfully it had happened days before we arrived so that the roads were now open after the huge Karri tree had fallen and blocked them. At Salmon Beach, breathtaking is an understatement, the rock formations, the mile long white beaches and the two or three people that you meet up with. Going to the Point noticed that the entire bush was burnt, as far as the eye could see. (I thought that maybe this was like in Italy before where they used to burn everything hoping that they could then build.)

I met two ladies who they explained the reason for this burning, which was later proved in Victoria when the fires get out of hand. There is a seal colony at the Point and we were also very luck to see more than one school of whales. On the way back to Pemberton we stopped by to see the bicentennial tree. Walked around the town the tourist tram was just leaving for Northcliffe, we had passed there that morning. Went to The swimming pool which is nested in the river, we were unable to go on any of the bush paths around it as they still had to be remade. The midnight mass was at Manjimup needless to say we didn’t go as there is no driving at night in a rented car but as a fish dish Marisa had marron which we all had again on Kangaroo Island will explain then.

We went to Christmas Mass at the Anglican Church – Walpole, it seems that all Churches have open tables for communion, as they go in turn as there aren’t enough people for each church to do a morning mass. Marisa found all this bewildering as in Italy all/most churches are RC. and with the last Pope it went back to none RC are unable to take communion anymore. With it being Xmas needless to say everything was closed so we were unable to do the famous Valley of the Giants tree top walk. But we went down to Ocean Beach south of Denmark and saw the first of the tan rivers going into the sea. They coloured tan from the trees. Then on to Albany, was one of the first settlements of Australia, It has lovely old buildings but at the moment it is without a beachfront so I am unsure how that will turn out. There is a lovely drive to the Vancouver Peninsula needless to say how the area got its name.

Australian Road

Australian Road

26th Just outside Albany is the main sandalwood factory, even though it wasn’t fully open we were able to have a good look round and buy a few things. I hadn’t realized that it was such a silly little tree and a parasite at that. Said nicely they need hosting trees and the oil comes from its root. Anyway now they have very large plantations far away from Albany but seeing that it was the first factory when bought out, the contract states that, the factory has to remain in Albany. Now on too the beach of every child’s dream housed in the Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve ‘Little beach’ where we had our picnic as still everything was closed (marron farm) except for the information centre run by voluntary workers. The rock formation here reminds me of the matopos (Byo). Walking from the car park to Two Peoples Bay through the bush there was a beehive that was in a tree trunk for everyone to see fascinating showing that they had no natural predator.

Coming up to the beach it was full of people, the most that we had seen up until then, having their picnic, playing cricket, relaxing and then on the beach boats and people waterskiing and then further along miles of white beach with just one fisherman and a pelican. This was our last day in the south so tried to take everything in. Here to I was able to read the sign regarding the poisoning area, remember the thing about cats and dogs as it seems that they have to cull foxes and wild cats hence domestic animals are not allowed to run free or to go in certain areas. If there is anyone interested there is a walking track from Perth to Albany, they put groups together so you don’t get lost.

5.30am wakeup as we really had miles to do so that we got back to Perth in time, 1pm, to give the car back in town instead of the airport. No need to ask where the grain basket in WA is, we kept passing trucks taking the grain down to Albany, as in one part they harvested the fields and emptied straight into the trucks, otherwise you had these huge deposits and sometimes just stack on the ground and covered. This drive reminded me of Rhodesia, open spaces and rather boring different to the drive down along the coast. We spent the rest of the day riding the free buses around Perth so we were able to have a good relaxing look around, as Kings Park we had done with Ron. Then the normal walk round of the city centre and dinner.

Our last day in Western Australia we went back to Fremantle where we had also been with Ron to the market but this time had a good walk all around the town, found their small beach left of the round house and then had lunch at the beer garden. Did think to ride the buses there as well but decided not too and spent an hour chatting to a lady from Bunbury, everyone has their family problems. We went back to the hotel in Perth then I took the washing to one of the back packer’s laundry so that we had all clean clothing to arrive in Adelaide. The people that we met and came across in our travels were very pleasant and helpful even though a few thought they may have been on candid camera as certain things I don’t know anymore with not living in Anglo-Saxon country.

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island

New Year was seen in on Kangaroo Island. We were up early to drive down to Cape Jervis from Adelaide to catch the ferry to the island. The motorway was being worked on, so we had to take a secondary road and were able to see all the countryside on the way down. It is lovely, very like the Howick zone of Natal SA. While waiting to board the ferry, Marisa and I were very lucky, to see the small penguins it seemed that they had swam over from the Penneshaw reserve as they weren’t there on our return, so Gino didn’t see them as he drove the car onto the ferry. We sat at a table with an Italian originally from Sulmona in the Abruzzi. He left when he was 7, went back when 20 & returned at the age of 27. A builder by trade he is now building his own house at Penneshaw.

Sea Lions

Sea Lions

When we arrived on the island we went to Cape Willoughby first, it brought back childhood memories of a trip to Nyasaland with the corrugated roads. We didn’t go to visit the penguin colony there, On the return trip took the Wilson River Road which passes by the vineyard which originally was started by the lighthouse keeper and his aboriginal wife, obviously they aren’t still around, but their estate is one of the best kept that I’ve seen and we drank the wine, it too was very good. At this stage Gino had had enough of the unseal roads. Drove to American River which is on the mouth of the lagoon where we saw black swans and pelicans and had a picnic with pies which we had got at the local shop, they were very tasty. We then went to Kingscote thinking that the hotel was there but it was on the other side of the Island, thankfully we did that before going to Seal Bay. All the reserves you pay to go to and they are worth they money as besides having the view, it helps for the up keep of the centres. At Seal Bay you go onto the beach where there are colonies of sea lions. The males fatten themselves up for 3mths before they have the weight to go after the female and my goodness can they move at a speed, that is why you go in small groups and with a guide. We then drove on to Kangaroo Island retreat where we were to spend the two nights.

The place was new, lovely and well lay out. The owner is a bushman so the walks are fantastic and well marked, they also had night tours but his lady friend was new to running a resort but I am sure that they will get it right. Most of their staff were overseas students. There were family’s that worked in Singapore that were spending their holidays on the Island so I caught up with the American expat. Situation, now with the economic problems, it wasn’t good for the families.

Remarkable Rock

Remarkable Rock

31st we went down to the Remarkable Rocks and they are! After having a good look at them we went on to the Admirals Arch where there are other seal colonies. On Kangaroo Island all the fertile land has been farmed but the western part which forms the Flinders Chase National Park is out of this world, even got Gino to go on the unseal road again to go to Snake Lagoon. To get to the lagoon there is a 3km, walk first through the bush then along the river which has a rock bed hence it forms rock pools.

Remarkable Rock

Remarkable Rock

This day I also gave in to taking pictures of the flowers, as I had started to try and limit myself with regard to photo’s as there are just so many things that cry out to be photographed. This day we had also seen an Echidna and a goanna or could it have been a Perentie (wishful thinking), at dinner our waiter, who was an Israeli chap, said it just wasn’t fair as he had been there longer and hadn’t seen them…yet.
The first day of 2009 we took the north main road to fetch the ferry, with the lunch stop at Andermel Marron Farm; even with an unsealed road Gino was not going to miss out on these fresh water crayfish. They are very delicate, so if not handled correctly in their transfer from one pool to the next they die.

The lunch and wine (remember watch the alcohol level for driving) was well worth the road. With the horrible situation of not enough time unless you watch the minute hand, we decided to see if we could catch the earlier ferry which would get us back to Adelaide before nightfall so we were able to have another look around before we had to leave to carry on our trip. One could spend a holiday of a week on the Island without getting bored, we were unable to see it all but enough to taste the flavour, that remained in our memory.

Gino, Ann Julie e Luisa
ginven@tin.it

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Posted on feb-27-2009

Le Ricorrenze in Australia

Australia, un paese dove è sempre festa!

Gli australiani sono un popolo che ama divertirsi, mangiare e bere in compagnia, il tutto allietato da musica e quant’altro. Non c’è evento di qualsiasi rilevanza, all’interno di un nucleo familiare, che non meriti di essere omaggiato mediante l’organizzazione di un allegro barbecue in giardino, in spiaggia o nel parco in compagnia degli amici di sempre. Dai simpatici convivi del vicino della portata accanto, si passa alle grandi celebrazioni in occasione di feste nazionali o alle manifestazioni enogastronomiche o, ancora, ai festival culturali. Non è, quindi, difficile avere la fortuna di trovarsi in Australia proprio in occasione di una festa, di una ricorrenza o addirittura essere invitati ad un succulento “barbie” solamente perché in quel momento vi ritrovate a passeggiare in quel giardino pubblico o siete sdraiati in spiaggia dove è in corso un’allegra festicciola.

Capodanno sulla Baia di Sydney

Capodanno a Sydney

Avendo già deciso il proprio itinerario ed il periodo, è possibile fare una interessante carrellata dei numerosi eventi che hanno luogo in Australia durante tutto l’anno. Appena smaltita la sbornia e i festeggiamenti del veglione di fine anno che, soprattutto nella scintillante Sydney, è uno degli eventi coreograficamente più entusiasmanti al mondo grazie al magnifico spettacolo pirotecnico al Porto di Sydney allo scoccare della mezza notte, ha inizio il Capodanno Cinese che coinvolge centinaia di migliaia di persone ogni anno. Anche in questo caso, la Chinatown di Sydney, la più longeva e numerosa, organizza uno tra i più fastosi Capodanni Lunari fuori dall’Asia, con un nutrito calendario di eventi che si sviluppano durante ben tre settimane. Da non perdere la suggestiva e colorata Parata.

Australia Day

Australia Day

Siamo sempre in gennaio quando hanno inizio le celebrazioni dell’ “Australian Day”. Il giorno 26 gennaio, infatti, è la festa nazionale ufficiale australiana in ricordo dello sbarco del Capitano Arthur Phillip a Sydney Cove, quando issò la bandiera Britannica per celebrare l’arrivo degli insediamenti europei in Australia nel lontano 26 gennaio 1788. E’, in assoluto, il momento per gli australiani di qualsiasi estrazione sociale di celebrare l’unità della loro nazione, per apprezzare il proprio patrimonio culturale e la storia del paese, per avere una parte attiva all’interno della comunità e per ricordare i pionieri coloniali. E, anche in questo caso, il viaggiatore che si trova in Australia in occasione di tale ricorrenza, potrà prendere parte ai numerosi concerti musicali all’aperto che vengono organizzati durante tutto il giorno, visitare interessanti mostre ed esibizioni culturali il cui ingresso è omaggiato in occasione di questa ricorrenza, ammirare fantastici fuochi d’artificio alla stregua del veglione di San Silvestro.

Sempre a gennaio, per gli amanti della musica country, assolutamente da non perdere, è il Country Music Festival che ha luogo a Tamworth, nel New South Wales. Per un’intera settimana, infatti, più di 800 artisti si esibiscono in circa 2000 spettacoli, per lo più gratuiti, fino a che non si arriva a decretare il vincitore delle “golden guitars”, il più ambito premio per la musica country australiana. Restando ancora in estate, naturalmente l’estate australe, davvero pittoresco e unico da vivere, è l’ormai famoso oltre confini “Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras” che è uno dei più grandi festival della comunità gay nel mondo (secondo solo al gay pride di San Paolo, in Brasile). Ha luogo ogni anno a febbraio e, nonostante il nome che può trarre in inganno, non si svolge durante la giornata del martedì grasso del nostro Carnevale, per intenderci, né di martedì. Il nome deriva infatti dal nome francese “mardi gras” del carnevale di New Orleans, retaggio del periodo in cui la città era governata dai francesi, passato, poi, nell’inglese d’America a indicare un festeggiamento di tipo carnevalesco in senso ampio.

La locandina del Mardi Gras 2008

Locandina del Mardi Gras 2008

Attualmente il Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras è un festival che dura circa tre settimane, tra febbraio e marzo, comprende eventi culturali, artistici e sociali e prevede un party pomeridiano, chiamato Fair Day, la parata che percorre per un chilometro e mezzo il cuore di Sydney nonché l’arteria principale del quartiere gay, Oxford Street ed un party finale. Anche trovarsi a Sydney in occasione del colorato Sydney Mardi Gras è davvero un’occasione da prendere al volo per ammirare come semplice spettatore e, perché no, per prendere parte alla chiassosa e scalmanata parata, con musica e balli coinvolgenti, come solo la musica e l’arte in genere può fare, superando ogni pregiudizio e discriminazione di qualsiasi natura. A migliaia di chilometri di distanza dalla cosmopolita Sydney, dietro la parvenza di una tranquilla città australiana, Adelaide vince la palma d’oro quale egregia organizzatrice di eventi artistici e musicali, a livello sia internazionale che locale.

Decisamente una “manna dal cielo” trovarsi, a marzo di un anno pari, nella capitale del South Australia in occasione dell’Adelaide Festival of Arts, durante il quale, sono presentati spettacoli di danza, prosa e lirica e altro ancora, di compagnie australiane ed internazionali. E sempre restando ad Adelaide, importante è il Glenelg Jazz Festival e il Fringe Festival dove si possono applaudire comici e cabarettisti australiani, europei ed americani. E chissà, se siete fortunati, avrete modo di veder calcare la scena alcuni dei comici di casa nostra che, solitamente, applaudiamo a Zelig. E l’elenco dei festival, manifestazioni culturali ed enogastronomiche, competizioni sportive a dir poco strane, basti pensare alla “Beer Can Regatta” che si disputa ogni mese di luglio a Darwin e vede in gara imbarcazioni completamente costruite con lattine di birra, si susseguono tutto l’anno e per tutta l’Australia a tal punto, da poter meritatamente asserire, che in Australia è sempre festa!

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Posted on feb-24-2009

La mia passione per l’Australia

Perché andare in Australia?

L’Australia mi ha sempre affascinato fin da bambina. Mi ricordo che c’era un cartone animato ambientato in questa terra lontana che parlava, appunto, di una bimba dai capelli biondi, stile “Candy Candy”, che viveva in una fattoria con la madre vedova e, ancora oggi, sorrido al ricordo di come restavo incollata alla TV ad ogni puntata. La storia di un continente così giovane che inizialmente era abitato da galeotti ai lavori forzati, dove vivevano quegli strani uomini tutti pitturati in viso che mangiavano bacche e giravano mezzi nudi, mi affascinava ed incuriosiva.

Poi, le storie che solitamente la nonna mi raccontava sugli italiani che nel dopoguerra emigravano in Australia, dove c’era tanta offerta di lavoro e, soprattutto, il fatto che donne giovani decidevano di partire affrontando una lunga e certo non confortevole navigazione per sposare uomini australiani mai visti e conosciuti se non in modo epistolare, mi toccava il cuore. Mi sembrava già strano che potesse esistere un Paese dove c’era poca gente e lo Stato dava addirittura denaro e terre affinché altre persone decidessero di trasferirvisi, che dovesse addirittura reclutare donne dall’estero era quasi pazzesco! Così è nata la mia particolare passione per questo Paese, passione che ho sempre coltivato come meglio potevo, a seconda della mia età e delle mie conseguenti diverse possibilità. Poi, superati abbondantemente i diciotto anni, terminati gli studi e già inserita nel tanto ormai difficile mercato del lavoro, finalmente sono riuscita a coronare il mio sogno di bambina: andare in Australia!!!

Ricordo che la paura era tanta, mista ad impazienza e adrenalina allo stato puro. Tante volte avevo sfogliato riviste e libri specializzati ed internet era ormai già in grado di “trasportarti” in un viaggio virtuale in qualsivoglia angolo di questo gigantesco Paese ed avevo anche avuto modo di parlare con gente che già c’era stata e addirittura avevo conosciuto australiani in vacanza in Italia ma nonostante tutto, affrontare un viaggio da sola, perché così volevo, mi metteva un po’ di paura. La brama di andarci ha però superato ogni mio dubbio ed ora, a distanza di qualche anno dal mio primo sbarco in Australia, ringrazio quella bambina dai capelli biondi che viveva in una fattoria con la sua mamma nei dintorni di Sydney…

Del mio primo viaggio in Australia ricordo tutto come se fossi tornata ieri e, spesso, nei momenti di malinconia, mi riguardo le tante foto dei bellissimi posti che ho visitato. Ogni foto è come la copertina di un libro che racconta una tappa del mio viaggio, con i luoghi stupendi che ho visto, i compagni di viaggio e la gente del posto che ho conosciuto. In alcuni ci sono voluta ritornare perché tanto mi avevano rapito il cuore, in altri spero di aver la possibilità di farlo presto.
Se dovessi riassumere in una sola frase perché mi piace tanto questo Paese, direi che l’Australia è un concentrato di bellezza, di cordialità e di tranquillità. Di luoghi meravigliosi e per tutti i gusti ne possiede tanti, è inutile ripeterlo, ma quello che più mi piace assaporare ogni volta che ci vado è lo stile di vita degli australiani, il loro modo informale di porsi, la loro cordialità, la loro “gioventù intellettuale” che li porta ad essere attratti da ogni cosa e, da ultimo, la loro voglia di aggregazione che si nota nei giorni di festa, quando è facile vedere giovani e famiglie intere cucinare allegramente l’immancabile carne alla griglia, nei barbecue che stabilmente sono posizionati in ogni parco, giardino e spiaggia d’Australia.

E, ancora più insolito e allo stesso tempo bello, è vedere come a fine giornata, ogni parco, giardino o spiaggia viene lasciato in ordine e pulito come era all’alba, nonostante la gente, i bimbi piccoli, il cibo e le birre, sì le tante birre, consumate! Ecco, quello che mi piace dell’Australia, al di là della meravigliose attrazioni naturalistiche che possiede, è questo spirito di appartenenza ormai smarrito qui da noi, che ti fa sentire parte di un tutto nonostante gli impegni, il lavoro, la famiglia, le difficoltà che ciascuno può avere, questa voglia di stupirsi anche di cose piccole e di non dare tutto per scontato. E se penso a quando bambina dicevo: “Nonna, l’Australia è la gallina dalle uova d’oro”, capisco che, nell’innocenza dei miei pochi anni, ero riuscita già a carpire il segreto di questo Paese.

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