Day 003: Blue Mountains
My first passion fruit
It's still cold in Sydney. Worse, its colder than New York City. Otherwise I'm impressed with Australia. Every morning starts with toast, coffee, and mango. Maybe yogurt, peanut butter. Most lunches involve avocado on bread and apples. Oatmeal is called for on a chilly day before heading out to the Blue Mountains with my ex-pat American friends Ben and Meredith.
3 Sisters of the Blue Mountains
Its about a 90 minute drive west from the edge of Sydney to the Blue Mountains. The mountains are foggy with a misty clouds collecting around the peaks and valley. Thankfully rain does not drop on us, and the clouds burn off by the afternoon.
Mountain picnic lunch
We choose a 7 km walk. It sounds easy but factoring the steep decline and incline to get into the valley its no walk in the park. The first part of the walk curves around the perimeter of the ridge. Looking down into the valley you can see white specks as cockatoos fly from branch to branch. After more than an hour we decide to stop for lunch.
Ben and I have predictably packed avocado sandwiches and apples. Meredith on the other hand has very generously collected kiwis, apples, oranges, strawberries, cheese, olive bread, and more avocados to share picnic style along with thermoses of hot tea. Meredith participates in a CSA in Sydney, so the kiwi and avocado have exceptional taste and textures. Both are denser with brighter flavors. I also broken open my Japanese green tea Kit Kat which tastes a lot like white chocolate. A little anti-climatic.
The big moment is when Meredith splits open a passion fruit. I've seen passion fruit flavored items, but have never had one. Definitely the flavor sensation of the year. Passion fruits transform in your mouth from tart to sweet in a big way that only a tropical fruit can. My first reaction was, "Oh my god its like gum," because passion has the magical morphing flavor of juicy gum. The texture is wet and loose with seeds that slide down your throat without drawing much attention to them. I have since been hunting them from grocery stores. Passion fruits are best when they are shriveled up. Bigger is better. Passion fruit is perfect on yogurt.
Surrounded by waterfalls, ferns and slippery steps descending to the valley
After lunch we wind our way down the stairs past "fern gully" to the valley. The built board stairs are wet an muddy, so every step must be considered. We change paths a few times to avoid the terrifying stairway to heaven, a steep set of 900 stairs straight up. After watering ourselves and a few stretches we drive to the local town Katoomba in search of scones, but end up happy with curry and sausage pies. The trail wiped us out, and my day is over except to pack and prepare for my trip up to Queensland.