Glenorchy Back Country ; No Words

“Words, words, words, I’m so sick of words!”

Well at least Eliza Doolittle was.

Me, I would be better saying,

“Words, words, words, I’m so stuck for words!”

Which for anyone who knows me, must surely be a first.

I LOVE words.

I love working out their origins, the way they look on paper; their shapes and rhythms.     And I love the way they can have multiple meanings, depending on context, dependent on the company, the glint in an eye, the emphasis on a syllable, the quickness of response, the back and forth.

Words can bind or divide with such ease and speed they become almost the most powerful tool available to us mere mortals.

But I digress –

words, they confuse, confound and cause all sorts of meanderings.

Like our meander into Glenorchy Back Country, South Island, New Zealand.

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Don’t click on the blue map – nothing will happen. Just an overview of where ‘we are’
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This is the area we rode in 🙂

And for those who don’t know where New Zealand is, the bottom of the planet, almost in the Pacific Ocean.  I think God created the world from the top and as he moved down, his artistry became more and more breathtaking; his masterpiece complete at Glenorchy.

And that’s the point – this trip was SO amazing,

So breathtakingly beautiful.

So filled with laughter and energy and love and caring and support that

WORDS FAIL ME!!!!!

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Bijmin – no words 🙂

No really, they do.

From our first meeting for a drink, which ended up including a dinner, we knew we were in a special place, where like minded people understood the words spoken, the words unspoken, the meanings behind them.

People who immediately saw the laughter in an eye, or the nervous hesitation in the curve of a mouth.

We knew, without any hesitation that we were heading for a special 5 days and we were right.

Although perhaps heading wasn’t quite the right word, try meandering.

As some of us did on the way home via a fairy light boat or two (see blog All grown up? Really?) but to bed we went, finally.

Surprisingly, despite creaky heads for some, we were all up and ready to go as planned, bright and early referring to the day and time, not necessarily  the people.   See what I mean about words ?

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Queenstown early morning
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Lake Wakatipu – 75km long, 400m deep
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The crew the morning after that meandering night 🙂

And that was the beginning of a Real world:

no internet, no radio, no news, Facebook:

sometimes not even lights.

But again, words – there were lights, just not the ones we normally think of when using the word.

The sky was alive with lights, THOUSANDS of stars, breathtaking, moving, shimmering, glimmering, glowing, even flowing….. just endless stars that kept us spellbound.

A walk in the dark one night, clambering down the side of a cliff in total darkness trusting Bijmin our leader, lead us to more lights.

At first we thought they were stars, but they were not.

They were glow worms – THOUSANDS of them, hanging under a huge cave like boulder across the river, which in the dark was invisible to us, and creating a second heaven of starlight.

We gawked, silenced and humbled by the enormity and power of our universe and thought how easily we could have missed it except we dared to brave the dark and damp.

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We rode around mountains, seeing glaciers, snow, water as blue as the sky, and then as transparent as glass so that you couldn’t be sure what was reflection and what was mountain.

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Sunrise from our camp
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No words
beaty
That water
dart
That grass
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Breathe taking
amazing
Whichever way you
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looked, left you
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speechless…
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no words
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Pistol gazing at the world…..
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No words….
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the Dart River… braided, beautiful, breathtaking….
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anyone for a wedding?
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the beauty of silence – created by the beauty around us… no words…
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The crew
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That’s Pistol again – and a VIEW – no words 🙂
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Cabbage trees, snow, mountains, rivers, air as clear as….. no words 🙂

We rode through forests.

With Beech trees as tall as cathedrals, moss and lichen dripping,

streams and waterfalls a constant surprise.

At times the forest was so silent we felt like the first and only people in the world.

At other times it was so full of bird sounds it made me laugh for joy.

The forests were filled with dreams.

Thoughts of dinosaurs, ogres, goblins, Bilbo, Gandalf, Frodo.

You name it, they were there.

Silent, watching us feeling them.

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sometimes steep, ……
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Both ways……
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silence….
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that up…… and
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and down feeling….
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No words…. but heaps of smiles….
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That Forest….
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That Forest….

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The waterfalls, the walks, the views –

No Words….

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None of us could stop smiling for the sheer joy of being alive
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In a world so captivating
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On top of the world
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No words….. just love
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The look of love – Needs no words
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My ‘partner in crime’ looked always like the cat who had found ALL the cream…..:-)

We scrambled up and down, feeling, smelling, sensing the forest

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and took those candid shots!
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So much water – everywhere…..

We camped in cold, clear places and warm snug places.

We shared our meals with our beloved horses.

We brushed our teeth in public, and even had a bath with a view.

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Our camp – frosted grass, slippery decks, cold feet and hands but warm smiles and laughter to make our stomachs ache….
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and then the sun reached us……
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and thawed our frozen chairs
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Drinks were shared, with all sundry 🙂
sharing is caring
that’s mine…

 

Making lunch was always such an adventure

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What about my breakfast please…..?
never lost
At least someone knew where we were, or at least where we were going to be :
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“with a little help from my friends
private conversations
Some conversations were private….

 

Brushing teeth was an adventure 🙂

 

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and After 🙂

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so warm and welcoming

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What remained after a horrific fire 😦

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no words – just a new day
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As old as time itself……

 

my rusty
where are you?

 

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We lunched along river banks and on grass hills, we talked, we laughed, we giggled, we lay in the sun, we rode bare back, we swam our horses in glacial pools.

Returning from my first ever swim, bareback…..

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My first ever bare back ride – the face says it all 🙂
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The 3 Musketeers before we plunged into the icy glacial water 🙂 🙂 🙂
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Fun and….
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and games in the most beautiful country on earth….

We cantered, we jumped, we fell (or at least I did – twice in the first hour of our ride!!!!) we laughed again and shared- stories, drinks, food, fears, loves, joys, life with a capital L

 

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We felt like children on a school camp, in the moment, thrilling to the  joy of being alive, overwhelmed by the beauty of our surroundings, humbled by the generosity of spirit shown by our horses, stripped to our essence camping together and always laughing and playing.

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swim?

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Our last dinner together

 Our little group, from worlds as far apart as Tuscon Arizona, New Hampshire, South Africa, Nebraska, California, Sydney, Noosa, Melbourne were united, bonded forever by this experience.

Bonded by a thread as smooth as silk and as solid as chainmail.

Linked through our connection to our horses.

Joined by an experience that cannot be put into words and that cannot be replicated, nor understood except by those of us who were so fortunate to have experienced these remarkable animals, so patient, so responsive, so willing, so kind, so powerful in a country of such extravagant beauty.

No words.

crazy crew

 

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I left a part of my soul with Rusty my beautiful horse; Glenorchy Back Country and my new friends….

 

Photos are thanks to ‘the crew’ – I can claim No credit for them – very grateful team

Holiday Romance

Okay, so I’lll admit there was a time when I indulged in a few holiday romances, but that was many years ago.

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Now I am older and wiser and a whole lot more cautious.

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After all, the broken heart following such affairs is deterrent enough for me not to venture into those waters again.

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So I approached this relationship with grown up attitudes.  We would be together for 5 days, we would enjoy the time we had together and go our separate ways with no strings attached, no expectations and therefore, no pain.   Nothing could be simpler.

And so it was that we danced around each other, assessing how far we could push ourselves and each other.

We tested which buttons would produce a joy of such magnitude I cannot begin to describe it, and which buttons were clearly going to be a no-no with me left deflated and hanging on the ground, foolish and stunned by the speed of the whole chain of events!!!!

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Still I persevered, thinking the whole thing would be so worth it for 5 days.   And I believe he did as well as he stuck by me – faithfully and quietly.   Never looking elsewhere, always waiting for me to join him.

But he was not boring;  not submissive, quick to challenge me and turn a ho hum moment into an adventure.    There were times when he was confronting, prodding and dare I say it, even went so far as to goad me into losing my ‘cool’.

It was at moments like these that the encouragement and support of my girl friends  kept me ‘in the game’ so to speak and made it all worthwhile.

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And then it was all over and I had to leave.

I had been preparing myself for this moment from day one, but still, it was SO much harder than I had expected it to be.

A long kiss, and I walked away.

But no, not too far.

I came back for another cuddle and a whisper and he gave me a kind, soft, lingering nuzzle which left me oh so warm and fuzzy.

I was ready to leave him.

It was after all, just a holiday romance.

I love you.

I stalked him the day after I left to find that he was happy, content, eating well and showing little sign of distress.

Was I relieved?

Perhaps.

Just a little.

But hurt too, did it really mean so little to him,

this holiday romance?

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At home again with a slow heart I did the washing, hung it up to dry

and there it was!!!!!!!!

He had not just walked away casually without a backward glance.

He had left me a locket of his beautiful hair.

Well perhaps not quite a locket.

Rather a whole lot of auburn, russet short hairs.

But still a secret parting gift to remember our precious time together,

those stolen moments when we swam unhindered,

bare backed, not even socks or shoes;

in a delicious spine tingling icy glacial pool with no one around

(well almost)

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They were there, clinging to my leggings – the leggings I wore on that special ‘bare back’ day.

Even After the washing machine had done it’s work.

Clearly, I had meant something to him, since he wove them so firmly into the cloth of my, was going to say soul,

but really just my pants and jackets.

Still, a gift from him to me.

So Just Perhaps, this wasn’t merely a holiday romance,

but a whole lot more.

The Big question now is,

do I live with ‘him’ around me for a little longer,

or do I use the band aid approach to purge all memory

with a lint stick?

 

“the look of love”

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All grown up? Really?

All grown up?

Well perhaps not All grown up

Just a little – both ways 🙃

Otherwise how do I explain a night out on the town – Queenstown to be exact with strangers?

Well Mum, it was like this you see, “ I Had to meet the people I was going to ride with – I mean I had No choice. So we met and I had to have a drink, just to be polite.

That drink just to be polite 😉 –

Turned out they were a lovely group of 👫 people, you would totally have approved Mum and we were really good and just had the one drink and then went to get some dinner. We totally planned to finish early because we knew we had to be fit to ride the next day.”

The dinner – we Knew, after the first sip of wine we would be friends for the whole 5 day ride 💕

And?

“Well after a great dinner with wine ‘and stuff’ ….

What stuff?

Well some Grappa, and some Kahlua and some Amarettos and some, well I think that’s all ….

Just some of ‘that stuff’ 🍷which confirmed we would be ‘friends for life ‘ 😉

Well I was on my way back to my Juicey Snooze (love saying that 😉) when my friend said she didn’t want to go to bed yet. Honest, I didn’t want to hang out but she did and I couldn’t leave her alone now could I?

So she took me to this fairy light boat to have a quick drink and she had never had mulled wine and so how could I say no?

And so?

The fairy lights boat and That mulled 🍷

And so we went, and we met these amazing young people who were such fun and it would have been rude to leave.

So you stayed?

Yes, well what else could we do? It would have been So rude to leave And we had such fun drinking mulled wine till they ran out …..

That lovely group of young people we met – I mean some responsible adult needed to be there – didn’t they? 🤣
I mean, what would You have done? 😉

And now it’s the next day and we have 🐴 horses to ride!!!

Help – maybe not so all grown up at all 😉😉

But it was Such fun 🤣

Sounds – Milford doubtful ; Doubtful certainww

Such is the strangeness of the English language. Or rather the vicissitudes of the New Zealand weather.

A very early start, compounded by the complexity of daylight saving switch (will I be an hour early or late, does it go back or forward; no not the time I get that – spring forward, fall back; but the actual watch)

Fortunately along with my sleeping pod, juicy snooze (I just love using that name) offered me a wake up call so I left the time forward/back calculation to them.

So bright and early I stood at a bus shelter along with a large number of sleepy Chinese tourists. No I need to make a correction- the tourists need no correction, the brightness does. There was none, for almost the entire day.

We stood silent in the dark and rain waiting as instructed for ‘the bus’ which arrive and with it the brightness of my travelling companions, John and Carla.

Brightness is as much a thing of the heart as it of the sun and so with brightness in our hearts we set off.

To Doubtful Sound because it was doubtful we could get to our planned Milford Sound for fear of avalanches.

Which made us more confident about than Captain Cooke was when he named it and refrained from taking his ship, the mighty Endeavour in for fear he would not get her out. Ever cautious he was.

And so was our bus driver as he wound his bus along Lake Wakatipu, a huge dark mass of water (400m deep!) on one side and cliffs reaching up into the dark in the other.

From Queenstown to Kingston to Garston ( the most inland city in NZ) to Mossman to Manapouri – such a mix of names) we saw through the rain and mist, fields and fields of grass so green it reminded me of a melted green wax crayon – intense, solid. Lambs so newly born they could barely stand on their wobbly legs, sheep shorn in anticipation of the spring weather so forlorn wet and I would swear shivering as we and they prayed for clearer skies.

Freishens, thick coated heads down, backs to the wind (producing 50 000 Litres a day 😯)

We drove through old fairy tale forests- beech trees 1000 years old; gnarled, misshapen with long tendrils of moss and lichen. These trees hung of to the edge of mountains so steep that when you looked through them you saw nothing but the darkness of the rock. Definitely fairy tale forests, in this weather of the Brother’s Grimm variety.

And everywhere water, from the heavens, from the rocks, from the snow and sometimes it seemed from the very bowels of the earth

(Trivia 7-9 metres rain a year!) felt like he had most of it today 😉🌧

Oh and did I mention the wind?

Or the laughs?

Or the wine?

We went on buses, boats, buses, footbridges and buses and boats and through it all – had the most amazing time

And to round off a perfect day – the sky turned blue, the sun winked at us; the lambs on our way home were playing, the cows grazed, the passengers snoozed, and we had an extra hour of daylight to savour the gift of nature in all her disguises

Here’s hoping the weather plays ball tomorrow when we start riding

All grown up 😉

How grown up I feel sometimes.

I know I know, my Jess travelled half way round the world all alone on busses and things – but still her 60+ year old mother feels grown up today.

A lovely last walk around Mount Albert and coffee with Desna found me at the airport – alone.

Well not quite alone; I was accompanied by ‘my stomach’. Was it a butterfly 🦋 (or two, or a hundred)? Was it a knot? Or was it the excitement stirring energy? Hard to tell.

We all know I have a mixed reputation when it comes to catching flights. Add to that the modern way of phone boarding passes that scanners seem to have endless trouble with and you will understand my sense of achievement at getting onto the plane and in the right 💺 seat. Such a grown up thing to have done 😉

So all set I was – Queenstown here I come in my ‘paid extra for window seat’ because the view you understand is worth every cent. Well yesterday it was, today is raining and clouded over from whoa to go 😯 but still yesterday the view was So amazing

Leaving amazing Auckland
Approaching Queenstown above the weather – That waited for us in the tarmac ☺️

A municipal bus ride into central Queenstown, short walk up the hill and here I am – totally the wrong age for Juicy Snooze. But what fun

Reminds me of our municipal hard rubbish depot- follow the coloured line – mine was green

A Tiny pod of a room (most are shared – think backpackers) with a shower 🚿 that would not cater to a large soul but in that score I am fine.

My pod bed – I have a window (paid extra for that too 😉)

And so if the rain stops, the adventure may take a different turn but for now it is coffee and the AFL grand final

Rangitoto, boats and boardwalks

A new day.

A new adventure.

A walk to the station, (So Easy to buy a ticket , So quick, So cheap – Melbourne take note !!!!) and a ride to Britomark at the harbour

Hot coffee at Botswana Butchery (nothing to do with the country – go figure) and a glorious ferry ride to Rangitoto island saw us start

A walk through spring , ice cream galore
That coffee in Botswana 😉[[[[[[

This island erupted from the sea about 600 years ago – a New volcano 😯

An iconic landmark in Auckland’s skyline- symmetrical cone of 260m looking over the Hauraki Gulf.

Looking ahead…..
Looking behind

The black lava dominates and yet vegetation is taking root and the island is a mass of green, black and more green, steep slopes and amazing views in all directions.

There is a single ‘road’ built by prisoners. Interestingly there were not POW but regular prisoners in the 1920’s who,for the last 6 months of their sentence were taken to the island to work.

The whole island is a conservation area now and very tightly controlled with the reintroduction of indigenous bird life eradication of rats and the cleaning of boots and sealing bags mandatory.

The Tui serenaded us almost all the time as we walked the boardwalk to the top of crater

An amazing day finished off with a return ferry ride, G&T to share notes and thoughts and impressions in the sun at the harbour; a delicious meal , gentle train ride and good walk up the hill to home from home

Farewell Rangitoto
Auckland harbour
Special meal
Quirky- Auckland harbour on a Friday night

And when I work out how to post the video of the Tui, I will 😉

Melbourne sparkles even when the weather doesn’t

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The anticipation was exhilarating…….

from the orchestra through the entire centre.

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The concentration…….

No words to describe this

Two comprehensive encores

Surely more than 10 minutes solid applause 👏

She is so engaged with the orchestra, with the conductor, with the audience- she takes you along with her

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So fortunate

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But who is She, that I am raving about?

Anne Sophie Mutter.

Ten years younger than me.   I remember the talk about this amazing musician, throughout the years while I was still trying to learn the basic Fur Elize on the piano,    she was wowing the world with her artistry and at 13 was invited by Herbert Van Karajan to play with the Berlin Philharmonic !!!!!!

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She owns 2 Stradivari’s – I do not know which one she used when I saw her.

Oh and she only wears Galliano outfits when she plays for comfort 🙂

And that, dear friends, was just another Friday morning in my Melbourne.

Mt Goomboorian, Campdrafting

Now that we had mastered the art of cattle mustering

(in 2 easy lessons you understand 🙂 )

We moved on to ‘greener’ pastures.

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In the bus, with horses in tow, we left our beautiful Mount and drove through Gympie, where once again we made a pit stop, this time, not at the bottle shop, but rather at the ‘bandaid’ shop (aka pharmacy) to attend some rather painful nether parts which one of us had acquired which offered as much mirth to the group as it offered pain to that region. 🙂

Task accomplished we stopped at the Best pie shop Ever.

Truely you can take my word for that.

And the chips were not half bad either.

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The pies were delicious – with or without sauce
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The lovely Lisa salting our amazing chips
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While some rested in the smoker’s lounge 🙂
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and our lovely horses settled for their hay
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If you down that way – the best lamb shank pies in town (and good coffee too)

Cots Camp,

near Widgee was our home for the next few days,

with such cute tents awaiting us and  more lovely views.

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The local bar 🙂
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Our home –
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Our home for a few days
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our ‘little’ houses
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Sunrise – or perhaps…
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it was sunset ….
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another guest at….
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Cotts Camp

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The team here were Unbelievable

I really need to give a shout out to Rod, Ash, Jake and the rest of the crew.

Here we arrived, greenhorns every one of us, and with their welcome, and patience, we actually understood this camp drafting competition and learnt more or less:

(some of us much less,  or perhaps I should one of us, much less – you can guess who that was.   The others much more 🙂  )

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Our amazing crew

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Jake, an old soul in a young man as one team member described him.   He was SO kind, patient and enthusiastic –  a real treasure
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The most amazing Ash
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Rod, the rock of Cots Camp

Now for those of you who have no idea what campdrafting is, (I was one of those until a few months’ ago).   Allow me to elucidate briefly.

In the days of large scale cattle mustering there was always the banter about who had the best horse, who rode the best, who could ‘tame a beast’ the best etc.   And so a sport was created.  I believe exclusive to Australia, called campdrafting.

In this, the competitor is in a ‘camp’ with several ‘beasts’ (aka cows) and on his horse he selects one and ‘dominates’ it by isolating it from the others and heading it towards the front end of the camp where there is a gate into a large arena.   When the competitor is ready, he calls ‘gate’ and the gate is opened, the cow races out, as does the rider who then attempts to ‘steer’ the ‘beast’ around two pegs in a figure 8 and through another set of pegs (the gate) – all within 45 seconds.

Sounds easy?   Well yes, when you see an expert, you hold your breath but they do make it look easy.    None of us were experts!!!!!!!   So just like us, you now understand what we are to do.    I will attach below 2 videos, an expert (our lovely Helen) and a wanna me – yours truely for comparison purposes on condition no one laughs please.

And so our days were spent being taught to chose our ‘beast’; dominate our ‘beast’; turn our horses on a dime; stay in the ‘arc of vision’ of the cow –

not too far behind because all the ‘beast’ will hear is the sound of you chasing and it will go forward – Fast.

not too close or you will clip it and you and/or your horse and ‘the beast’ will go down – Hard.

so a bit like Goldilocks, just right.

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First Jake or Rod are ‘the beast’ – walking us through the concept – yup that’s me and T Rex
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Then they (in this case Jake) rides with you
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showing you so patiently
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Then you have a Real ‘beast’ !!!
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Which I will attempt to ‘dominate’ 🙂
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Serious discussion 🙂
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In front of an ever patient audience!
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Comfort to know that even the excellent riders (Duncan in this case) had lessons
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One thing about this sport – lots of sitting and waiting….

Finally we move from the practice runs to the Real Arena – where we had surprise after surprise as our ‘beasts’ roared through the gate and straight across the arena to the opening at the other end, before any of us knew what had happened.

Our horses on the other end knew exactly what to expect and bounded across the arena at fast gallops chasing the cows.   Our first rider, who shall remain nameless let out a yell of surprise, you can probably guess and found herself at the other end of the arena before the word was completely out of her mouth such was the speed of her trusty steed!!!!

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… and out the gates they went….

Thankfully our next attempts were less ‘startling’

Slowly, with the amazing patience and coaching from Jake, Ash & Rod, we all started to improve – of course some did so a lot more than ‘others’ (you can guess who those ‘others’  are – and if in any doubt, refer to the score sheet from our final day competition)

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walking the arena to ‘get our bearings’
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pondering the arena
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riding the arena
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being helped around the arena
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being watched in the arena

It was all such fun.

Until it wasn’t

Sadly one of the team fell  – at the far end of the arena and we watched, helpless, as she bounced and lay still.   A sober reminder that this is, still, a risky sport.   Thankfully, with a nurse in the team, an ambulance from Gympie and a little bit of luck on her side,  her injuries were not life threatening although serious.   *

It was a quiet evening for the rest of us – with conversations muted;  all aware of how easily it could have been any of us; how quickly things can go from normal to tragic; how fortunate we each were that it wasn’t us (and how awful to think that at the same time)

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Then another day dawned

 We were back for our last day of campdrafting –

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This was a very serious competition

with much shouting and encouragement from the sidelines

as each of us attempted to win the coveted trophy.

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Yup, that is
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Me & T Rex…..
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Wish this was me – its the lovely Helen….
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And that’s me pretending I’m Helen 🙂

Here is a video of our lovely Helen showing “how it is done”.

Here for prosperity is a video of yours truely, showing how a greenhorn does it…. or rather doesn’t

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Waiting for the ‘Judge’s call”

On the day, I am SO pleased to say that our favourite John, won.

Never was a team more pleased for a winner.

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The winner
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and his runners up
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and in case you Really want to know how I did – 😦

and in case you thought it was all chasing beasts, there was also ‘washing them’

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Talking to friends afar
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Talking to friends near
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Resting ….
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Stretching..
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Hugging

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and cuddling
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and the rest 🙂

And suddenly – it was all over, we rushed back onto the bus for the trip back to airport where we all went our separate ways with Great Memories.

Thank you Cots Camp Crew for an amazing time. 

 As usual, all photos are thanks to Rainbow Horse Trails, ‘the team,’ myself and Globetrotting.com.au

*  Happily T is back in Melbourne and recovering well – we missed her and sister K on the last 2 days.

Mt Goomboorian, Cattle Mustering

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The adverts were amazing, mustering cattle, camp drafting, (suitable for all riding levels, even beginners (that’s still me!!!!))  stunning views –  Southern Queensland, mid winter, escape from Melbourne cold, improve my riding skills – who could refuse.    So before I knew it, I was a paid up ‘member’ of the June intake of camp draft novices. thanks to globetrotting.com.au

A flight into Queensland, for those who are wondering where I was going (as was I), the attached map will give a rough idea.   We all met at Maroochydore airport; Maroochydore is, apparently derived from  ‘murukutchi-dha’ in the language of the Brisbane River Aboriginal people, and it literally means ‘the place of the red bills’ (i.e. the black swans).

There were 11 of us, mostly groups although John was a brave solitary traveller, actually doubly brave as he was also the only male – he became our Knight in Shiny Armour on his white steed and I knew Margaret from our ride in Margaret River last year.   Introductions duly made, we left in a bus for Gympie. (The name probably derived from an aboriginal word for the local stinging shrub).

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Two hours on the bus, including a most important bottle shop stop,  saw us arrive at the base of Mount Gomboorian, our home for the next 3 days.    After a brief introduction to our horses, how they are trained, which saddles we would use etc.  we were loaded into vehicles for the ‘ascent’ up the Mountain.   I think these two photos sum up the exhilaration of the angle of ascent !   Some of us felt the need for head protection as we bumped and bounced and tried to hang on!!!!

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Words again do not do justice to the views, across to Fraser Island, Noosa and back inland ‘forever’.    Perhaps these will help you.

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Whichever way you looked
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the views took your
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breath away….

Our tents were more than comfortable …….

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My little red bag – stayed outside – not a good shape for opening in a tent – note to self 🙂 🙂
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Margaret and I were as snug as could be in our home from home

and the food always appetising – Sean our trusty chef excelled at every meal.

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Dinner
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Men in the kitchen
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Women round the table
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Mud Crab – delicious
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If challenging for some 🙂
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and absorbing for others 🙂

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But it was our horses that really ‘sold’ us.

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I had T Rex – small (hence the name) and young with a distinctly ‘mulish’ look about him.   Be that as it may, for the first time I could reach the saddle of my horse without standing on a Huge log or rock or mounting block.   He was not,  at least to a novice eye (i.e. my eye)  a good looking horse and I was asked more than once if I was on a donkey!!!!   That question though was always from a ‘non horsey person’.

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Our horses

Never, however be fooled by looks – I am sure your mother told you that once.   This little hang dog mule of mine had the spunk of a champion camp draft horse and when you asked him to go, he could move like a bullet.   So the donkey statement never came from anyone who saw him actually move 🙂

Our first day was spent out riding through countryside, getting to know our horses, their quirks, their likes, and dislikes (more about that later).   T Rex likes eating and since his face is level with the bush most of the time, he spent a great deal of time chewing and I spent a great deal of time stopping him.   I did, in the end, convince  him to stop – win for me.

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Steep climbs
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and drops with
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amazing views
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whichever way we looked
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No words, just views
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and light dancing through the trees
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And skies so blue
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it looks like someone painted it

Where are we?

By now you will know that I am curious about how places get their names and we rode through some Weethefeekaarwe Bush.   This Weethefeekaarwe Bush consisted of  grass and scrub taller tha us on horseback so that we could hear one another but not always see one another.    The name rolled off Andrew’s tongue with such ease and emphasis on odd syllabi it took me a while to work out – he had no idea where we were or what it was called – I will leave you to work out the name for yourself 🙂

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keeping heads well up
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to see above the grass
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ducking and diving
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through this

Weethefeekaarwe Bush – none of us knew where the . we were 🙂

Lunch at the Silky Oak was a treat.

Made extra special by a drink in the pub like nowhere else in the world!!!

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Me and my ‘mule’ T Rex
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Helen and her steed

After drinks and food we collected our transport parked outside waiting patiently and ambled home through such lovely countryside.

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the companionship of riding together
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friends made along the way
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alone, but not alone
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my hang dog ‘mule’ T Rex
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ever changing
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So sure footed
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regardless of the depth
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and of course always a drink
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so special
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Did I mention my T Rex tripped in a hole, at which point I thought I was going to go over his head.  Except a fox popped out of the hole which pushed T Rex up again and we both survived.   Could not believe what I saw!!!!!!
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But left me grinning from ear to ear for a while….
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and T Rex watching his feet more carefully for a while

Night Time Visitor

But it wasn’t all riding, we had a lovely visitor one evening, only 15 years old and by the light of the moon and headlights of a vehicle, she gave us a whip cracking demonstration.   For posterity sake, I have included it even though it is not a first class video.   The show was.   And I had a ‘crack’ at it – It is a lot easier to hit oneself and cry out than it is to hit the ground and make the whip cry!!!!!

Cattle

There is something very peaceful about ‘mustering’ cattle.

That is, until something goes wrong.

Now you do realise we are all novices, some of us even novice riders, never mind jackaroos.   So we were not mustering 2 000 cattle 100 miles; rather about 70 cows, a few miles.   Still, it Was mustering.   Instructions were given, we were allocated our places and so began the task of gathering them all together so we could get them out of the gate and onto the road.

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We ‘plodded’ along with cars patiently waiting behind and in front of us – this is the country after all – or should I say thank goodness as they did not seem to be at all agitated despite having to wait for an awfully long time while we herded the cattle from A to B.

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every patient cars
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well behaved cattle……
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with a crack crew behind them
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keeping them in line
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even the tiny calf at the back who kept lagging
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while the cars continued to wait patiently (we hope patiently)
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The traffic 🙂

And just when you think all is going well, a cow finds a hole in the fence and runs through, which means all the others follow.   And there they are, in a field with another herd of cows.   Which means we have to sort the two herds out and then take ours back on the road.

That deserves a whole blog – suffice to say, we did a lot of watching while the experts (being the Rainbow Beach Ride team) did the work of separating the two herds.  And the rest of us?   Stood and watched and munched on fruit we had brought with us.

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them watching us
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watching them (well some watching them 🙂 )
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T Rex – not a dinosaur
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nose to nose with them
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Debbie pondering
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and enjoying her fruit salad
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but not sharing 😦

Once the herds were separated (thankfully there was an old dip pen we could use to do this; we had to begin again.    Herding them into a group to continue to point B.    Back on track and thinking again we had this all under control, a dog ran out of an open gate (what farmer leaves a gate open – I ask with tears in my eyes).   This was no kelpie used to sheep and cattle, but a mean spirited dog that ran wild amongst the cows – dispersing them again this way and that.   And I must tell you, when 70 peaceful cattle suddenly swing around and face little you on your horse and you are not sure what is going to happen, your stomach tightens and you concentrate on your breathing.   I heard a few choice words around me and hoped our talk about forming a wall was being adhered to by the others or I would be alone in the melee.   To be truthful I cannot remember how we turned the around, but settle them we did.    With the young owner of the dog apparently oblivious to the chaos he had just created.

And on we went.   Of course there are no photographs – we were far too busy 🙂

There was a lunch at a lovely homestead where we chatted about the happenings of the  morning and I have no doubt the horses had their own conversations – if only I could understand their language!!!!!

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lunch break 🙂

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The cows were sprayed by some while others ‘played’ with their horses and the next day saw us mustering them back to A.

You would think we had this under our belt by now, wouldn’t you – I mean what could go wrong?   We knew where the hole in the fence was.  We knew where the ugly dog lived.

And then the surprise.

An open gate saw some horses run up to us.  No problem, the cows are used to horses so they don’t spook.    Shetland ponies, though, are quite a different proposition.   Two little ponies followed the horses, proud as punch they looked as they trotted up to us.   They could almost pass under some of our horses bellies, but that didn’t matter, Rosie next to me baulked and bolted into the ‘gutter’ which mean my lovely T Rex felt the need to follow.   All I remember is ‘hang on with your legs’ – my thighs have never worked so hard, my reins less so, but we all stayed on our feet so to speak and while we recovered, the rest of the team stopped the cows from running all over the place – Again!!!!!!

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Them ponies 😦  created ‘chaos’

And that was us mustering……

Done and Dusted – experts, clearly.

So time to move on to greater challenges.

Camp Drafting

P.S.  Photos kindly taken by Rainbow Beach Rides, “Jackaroo team”, myself, and Globetrotting.com.au

Special City : Special Experience

 

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This is the second concert I have been to of a totally unfamiliar genre/work.

Not something I usually do – I always play safe when I book my concerts.

Apparently not this season.

And I am So glad I did.

This work is Sublime – tears down the cheeks kind of sublime – (and not from the $13 a glass of wine)

Rather from the juxtaposition of death and creation. The poem, Dream of Gerontious is stunning, I won’t quote, but so worth a read

And the music, Elgar at his most sublime.

He said ” I wrote it out of my insidest out” “This is the best of me”

And then the singing – soaring praises, exquisite phrasing

and such comfort after the journey to death :

“Softly and gently, dearly ransomed soul. In my loving arms I now enfold thee”

Special city;

Special experience