“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” ~ Henry Miller
While we’re galavanting about Kangaroo Point today in Brisbane, we thought we’d gegale you with tales of our G travel spots. There were something like 18 places starting with G that we’ve been to, just off the top of our heads, so we’ve just chosen a couple and will get around to the others when we restart our A-Z all over again. And with the recent time/workflow/travel issues we’ve had, there has been no time to put together our infamous little collages. So we are marking our G spots with a single image today. Hope it’s pleasurable.
GREAT BARRIER REEF
The Great Barrier Reef is undisputed as one of the world’s most important natural assets. It is the largest natural feature on earth stretching more than 2,300km along the northeast coast of Australia from the northern tip of Queensland to just north of Bundaberg. We had the time of our lives flying in a helicopter over it. Wow! Can you believe this is in our home State?!! Memories: snorkeling with the fish, rainbows on the way home, Heart Reef, the little submarine, can’t believe the colours, coral, coming back for more.
Mongolia. Known as ‘Big Sky Land’. According to legend, the Gobi Desert was created when a Mongolian chief, skilled in the art of black magic, was forced to leave town with the Chinese army in hot pursuit. As he fled he uttered ‘black words’ and the land shriveled up and died behind him, leaving nothing for the Chinese but an arid land. This legendary desert is filled with many such mythic tales, and was still very untouristed when we visited. The desert is a living menagerie of the weird and wonderful: It’s home to wild asses, rare Saiga antelopes, wild takhi horses, the world’s only desert bear (the Gobi bear), ibex, snow leopard, wolves, and exotic and shaggy-necked two-humped camels. Nomadic Mongolian shepherds crisscross the Gobi, too with us being lucky enough to be invited into one family’s ger. With Ghengis Khan going down in the black column of the history books, Mongolians suffered the reputation of being unreconstructed barbarians. The opposite is true. They are a race for whom hospitality is not only a point of etiquette but a matter of survival. After forcing down fermented mare’s milk and rock hard stinky camel’s cheese to reciprocate the politeness – we felt that perhaps we wouldn’t be able to survive in the Gobi desert for too long. Memories: Delores’ tent falling down in the middle of the night due to a herd of sheep running through it, falling asleep in Vulture Gorge, riding camels, looking for dinosaur bones, stumbling upon a watermelon farm, kind and generous people, gassy horses, riding free over the grassy steppes, freedom.
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
Montana, USA. Close encounters with large predators, hiking cliffside trails, and venturing into remote, mountainous terrain were what we were expecting when entering Glacier National Park. We also wanted to see unparalleled scenery and take jaw-dropping photos. We got what we wanted. Named for the rivers of ice that continue to carve its spectacular alpine landscape here, Glacier continually ranks as the most pristine of America’s national parks. Grizzly sightings are a tradition here, and a guarantor that we took serious precautions like clapping, singing, and wearing bells on our packs to make sure the encounters are far and few between. Glacier also is home to wolves (as we found out early before sunrise one morning near Lake McDonald), mountain lions, and mountain goats. Going-to-the-Sun Road is the marquee drive in Glacier and perhaps the most scenic stretch of tarmac in all of North America. It has been described as a “don’t look down” road. It bisects the northern and southern halves of the park, crosses the Continental Divide, and is designated a National Historic Landmark. We drove it so many times, we know it like the back of our hand. Memories: Moose Drool, spectacular sunrises and sunsets, bear fear, glowing yellow wolf eyes, great buffet breakfasts, our shed, The Shining, wildflowers, fresh air, loving Montana and all it has to offer.
The Grand Canyon is more than a great chasm carved over millennia through the rocks of the Colorado Plateau. It is more than an awe-inspiring view. It’s a place to almost fall over the edge into the chasms below as we try to get into the best position for our art. It’s only the most visited national park in the world – which is why we were never that keen to see it. We always thought of it as overpopulated, overpriced, crowded and frustrating. In reality it was actually all of those things. But WHAT A VIEW! All the annoyances fade into the background as you watch a Grand Canyon sunset. Wow. Memories: Mum panicking as I’m almost pushed over the edge, a full moon, helicopter flights, Lampoon’s National Vacation, a ‘must-do’ place to visit.
Tibet. The fort is what you first see of Gyantze – rising sandy colored and ominous above the town. For a few hours it withstood the British in 1903. We were less successful in penetrating its’ secrets, foiled by a small Tibetan lady who calmly spun her wool and had no interest in letting us in. A short visit to the Gyantse monastery – filled with pilgrims, who even crawled for miles underneath the shelves of its holy library to let the knowledge flow into their heads. No kidding. Another world, another time. Memories: dogs, monks, markets, prayer wheels, flashing pictures of the Dalai Lama as bribes, yak heads, yak and cabbage soup, stupas, prayer flags, alluring, mysterious, alien, utterly magical.