Sunday, December 1, 2013

PIE in the SKY- Gulgong or BUST

Past the Blue Mountains, through Lithgow beyond Cullen Bullen and Ben Bullen in a beautiful valley that is filled with grape orchards and wineries lie the towns of Mudgee and Gulgong.  Gulgong was a gold mining town and Mudgee was our next speaking assignment.  

Here are some of the old hotels and businesses that still operate in Gulgong.  This once was a very busy mining town.
We got a kick out the signs describing the companies on the main road in Gulgong.  The town hasn't changed much and we enjoyed going to an outdoor market where local vendors sell a variety of items, some hand made items, things like soaps, honey, pottery, tepanada and vegetable peelers.  Aussies love their outdoor markets and we go to them in various towns including Sydney.

An outhouse is still available just off Mayne Street. :)

Here is a picture of an old pioneer going to the pioneer museum.

Every town has public toilets available and plenty of signage to get you to the right place.  It sure makes life simpler!

We love jacarandas and my new spring favorite color is.....

Go ahead - make my day!  I felt very safe wherever we went in this old goldrush town.

No grandchildren, I am not as old as the cottage!  And neither is Grandpa, but he had fun remembering the olden days in school.  These maps were amazing.

This is a view from the highest point in town and just a short distance from where they found the gold.  We tried to find a metal detector but couldn't buy one on short notice.  So we could not find any gold!!

But Grandpa hit pay dirt at the golf course - $20 got him club rental, green fees, golf balls and tees.  We were the last ones on the course - everyone else finishes by noon and heads off to lunch.  Notice the beautiful grass on the fairways and the beautifully manicured greens!  We had a great time, and his score improved with each hole.  

We headed back to Mudgee for lunch and then on to Ferntree Gulley for some bushwalking along the great divide.  

 The grass trees are exceptional here and we saw them everywhere.  The cicadas were also exceptionally noisy.  The din was earsplitting for the whole hike.  We did enjoy a kookaburra singing which helped break up the cicada buzz.

The Windamere Reservoir has all these dead trees still in it.  Aussies love their trees and rarely cut them down - even in the middle of a reservoir.

The highest point in this area is the Great Divide.  This river runs right by Mudgee.  The water is always so blue.  We traveled on Friday and spent the whole day Saturday exploring.  That was our first long Saturday in a while and we enjoyed the time off.  Our preparation day is Saturday and it is nice to finally have one.  If we stay at the office, we don't take much time off.
 The cows love Grandpa talking to them.  They always sit up and listen.  All of the cattle and sheep are well fed.  We have had a nice month of November rain and the land really shows the difference.  The rain has stopped the fires so you all can stop worrying about us.

On Sunday, we spoke in Church, I played the organ, and then we taught the Gospel Doctrine Sunday School class.  The branch president and his wife graciously invited us to their home for lunch.  In fact, they invited the whole branch and visitors - there was another young couple visiting for the weekend.  The Relief Society prepared a feast and we enjoyed good food, good company, and great memories.  President is Tongan and his wife is Greek.  The food was a mixture of Asian, Greek, and Polynesian.  Eating here is always a cultural banquet!

Everywhere we looked there were massive grape vineyards.  You can see the valley as we were driving home.  What a beautiful place as well as wonderful people.  We hated to head for home. 
This picture is out of order - we actually took it on Friday night heading out to Mudgee.  This is back in the Blue Mountains by a place called Bilpin which is the fruit tree capital of New South Wales.  We found this wonderful restaurant called Pie in the Sky and couldn't resist stopping for dinner.

Most pies in Australia are meat pies.  They have some fruit fillings but they call them torts.  So when we saw this sign in the major fruit tree area, we just had to stop and taste their version of a fruit pie.  We were also hungry for dinner - and as you can see, this is a diner!

A milkshake is actually that - milk and flavoring whipped until frothy.  If you want a Thick Milkshake, you will have to find a place that will actually put ice cream in it.  This milkshake was lime - Evan would probably like it.  

They were advertising a gourmet burger.  In Australia, that includes sliced beets along with the meat, cheese, lettuce tomato, and chili sauce. I'm not trying to be a "foodie" but couldn't resist taking pictures of this meal.  The burger was delicious and we are liking beets on our burgers!  Finally, the reason for the stop, the fresh apple pie.  Hmmmmm the crust is puff pastry and the filling may have been canned.  But we will give the meal an 8 and continue on our quest for a real home made pie! 
You have all asked about the fires - this was one of the worst areas and this is what it looks like now.  It has been 2 weeks since this road was closed to Lithgow and these trees were burned.  That is about an hour away from where we live.  We can always smell and see the smoke, but we were never in danger. 

And as the sun sets in Australia, we head for home.  It is December 1. Thanksgiving was not much to be accounted for.  We enjoyed roast chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, broccoli, and fresh pumpkin pie.  We shared our simple fare with the fleet Elders at 7:30pm and were all grateful for food to eat, friends to eat with, and family who love us.  We are grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who sent His Son to Earth to atone for our sins and pave the way for each of us to return home to live with him again.  We are blessed to be here at this time. We love you and miss you and have found the holidays to be especially poignant.
Elder Grandpa and Sister Mamoo  

1 comment:

  1. Molly, I always enjoy your blogs. Pat is retiring in July and we would love to serve a mission. However my dad is living with us now and he is our mission for however long the Lord allows him to be here. He says he didn't plan on living this long after mom left, but I guess he has no say in the matter.
    Australia looks so beautiful. I am glad you are enjoying your mission.