Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Land Down Under: The Blue Mountains

Looking at the Blue Mountains
Panorama of Blue Mountains and 3 Sisters
Valley
The Blue Mountains are about 2 hours west of Sydney. You can get there by rail or car. The Blue "Mountains" aren't really mountains at all, but instead a high plateau in a temperate rain forest with large canyons. The weather is cooler than in Sydney and it can change quickly. On the day I visited, it rained, there was fog and there was bright sun. The Blue Mountains derive their name from the ever-present blue haze that is caused by light striking the droplets of eucalyptus oil that evaporates from the leaves.

Three Sisters
A popular attraction in the Blue Mountains is the rock formation known as the Three Sisters. Aboriginal legend (there is some controversy regarding this legend, see link) has it that three young sisters had fallen in love with three brothers from a neighboring tribe. However, tribal law forbade them to marry. Unhappy with the law, the brothers captured the sisters resulting in a tribal war. To protect the sisters from harm, a witch doctor turned the sisters into stone. The doctor intended to reverse his spell when the war was over; however, he was killed in battle. As only he could return the sisters to human form, the sisters had to remain as stone. Yet, another example of love gone awry.

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