Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Colebrook Reconciliation Park

The Grieving Mother figure at Colebrook Reconciliation Park
Colebrook Reconciliation Park in the Adelaide suburb, Eden Hills, was established in 1998 as a memorial to those Aboriginal children who were removed from their families and housed at Colebrook Home, a "United Aborigines" mission which had originated in Oodnadatta in 1924. Later, the mission moved to Quorn, before it was finally relocated to Eden Hills in 1942. The home was finally closed in 1972 and demolished in 1973.

"My baby, my baby..."
"My baby, my baby, please give back my baby."
A mother's words fall upon the deaf ears of authority.
Hearts break, tears fall, fear cries out
from the wrenched hands and arms of a mother and child separated.
Feel the pain, touch the ache, caress the tears.
Through ignorance and indifference came the disruption and destruction of family life.

For a brief period of time during the 1990’s, I was involved with the campaign to turn the site of the former mission (or home), into a permanent memorial to a generation of children who became known as the ‘Stolen Generation’. By 1998, following the success of the campaign involving a local reconciliation group and the Tji Tji Tjuta (former residents) of Colebrook Home, the Colebrook Reconciliation Park was born. In consultation with former residents of the home, a local artist, Silvio Apponyi, was commissioned to create a number of statues to install on site.

The finished works are the Pool of Tears, created in 1998, and Grieving Mother installed in 1999.

One of the figures on the Pool of Tears memorial
Background information on site at Colebrook Reconciliation Park
It is important to acknowledge that while Colebrook did house children who had been forcibly removed from their families by government officials, not all native children who passed through the institution were ‘stolen’ from their families. Some were placed there because their parents were unable to care for them. Other children had been taken from their families by non-Indigenous people as workers, and then abandoned when their services were no longer needed.

Sadly, over time, many children eventually lost most, if not all, of their language, culture and identity. When some of these children finally met their parents many years later, it was almost impossible for parent and child to bridge the language and culture gap. Tragically, some children never saw their parents again.

"We are the stolen children..."
A montage of former residents of Colebrook House
Thanks to the ongoing work and support of the Colebrook Tji Tji Tjuta, the Blackwood Reconciliation Group, the Aboriginal Lands Trust, and other groups and agencies, the Colebrook Reconciliation Park is now a permanent memorial to these children and their families.

Former residents hold 'campfire' gatherings for adult groups and for school and university students, where they share their stories and achieve reconciliation through creation of compassion and empathy.

Another view of the Pool of Tears
More Information
~ Admission is Free
~ Visits can be self guided or can be arranged for group
~ Guest speakers can be organised for a fee

Getting There (see map below)
On Shepherds Hill Road (next to Karinya Reserve), Eden Hills.
Bus 728 or 729 from the City to bus stop 29B, Shepherds Hills Road, Eden Hills
Off-street parking available

Tji Tji Tjuta, Mandy Brown
Email: mandy.brown[@]

The Blackwood Reconciliation Group Meets on the first Wednesday of Each Month
Contact Dennis Matthews via email: deebeemat[@]

Colebrook Blackwood Reconciliation Park…
Colebrook Home…

Here is a short video I shot of the Colebrook Reconciliation Park

Music is by the Aboriginal artist, Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu. The song is Bapa (Father), from his debut album Gurrumul.

Google Map showing location of Colebrook Reconciliation Park:
View Larger Map

Monday, December 26, 2011

Monday Movie – The Longest Way

Christoph Rehage set out on November 9th, 2007 – his 26th birthday – to walk from the Chinese capital Beijing to Bad Nenndorf in Germany. One year (November 13, 2008) and 4646 kilometres later he ended his walk – still in China – at Urümqi, a couple hundred kilometres shy of the border with Kyrgyzstan.

His website, The Longest Way, documents his walk in great detail, and the film he put together of the walk (embedded below), has received over 1.1 million hits on YouTube.

Christoph states that although you can see images of him sitting on a plane or riding in a boat in the video, those were shot during breaks from walking, “…either to sort out bureaucracy issues or to take care of some personal things.”

A year in the planning, Cristoph writes of the walk that “…getting as far as I got was an experience for which I am very grateful.”

It is interesting to see Rehage’s transformation from a “clean cut, beardless, lean, mean, fighting machine,” into the weather beaten, long-haired, bearded, adventurer he became by the time he ended his mammoth walk.

Christoph Rehage now studies in Berlin, and has no plans to embark on other extended walks. He is however, writing a book about his walk, and while I assume its initial publication will be in German, I would be great to see it translated into English.

Until then, enjoy Rehage’s year-long walk and growing beard via this time lapse video.

More information
Music: The Kingpins, and Zhu Fengbo.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

2011 Seasons Greetings

Four figures on the exterior of Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris
Is it that time of the year already? I guess it must be because shopping centre's everywhere are trying to outdo each other by filling their stores with the usual dreadful Christmas trinkets one finds in the lead up to the Christmas season.

But this is no time to be churlish.

Life is good - but life is also short, so in the spirit of Christmas, my wish is that your celebrations be shared with good friends, a loving family, and tables filled with healthy home cooking.

Love The Life You Live!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday Fotos – Paris, December 2010

My recent viewing of Woody Allen’s latest film, Midnight in Paris, made me nostalgic for that wonderful city, and had me reminiscing about my visit there last December (2010). So today, I am featuring a bunch of images from that trip, and links to relevant posts about my visit.

A view from the top of the Eiffel Tower. See my previous entries: The Eiffel Tower: A Promise Kept, and Top of The Tower Views.

The Statue of Apollo in the Grand Canal at Versailles, breaking through the encroaching ice on a cold December day in 2010. My trip to Versailles on a frosty winter's day was one of many highlights of my stay in the French capital.

I wrote about my visit to the Palace of Versailles in two posts: Viva La Revolution! and Palace of Versailles Gardens.

Above: Notre-Dame Cathedral. You don't have to be Catholic or even religious to appreciate the grandeur of Notre-Dame Cathedral, but it probably helps. Even so, I am neither, but that didn't stop me from visiting Notre-Dame several times during my 10 night stay in Paris (see Notre-Dame Cathedral).

To my delight, my visit coincided with an evening choral performance that I wrote about here: The Sound of Angels Singing. Given my previous comment about being neither Catholic nor religious, I may be coming across as confused and contradictory, but such was the power of the setting and the music, that I am happy to plead "Guilty as charged, you honor."

Above and below: No trip to Paris would be complete without at least one stroll through parts of the magnificent Jardin des Tuileries (or Tuileries Garden), which I wrote about here Jardin des Tuileries, Paris. As you can see from the ice covered table below, there was plenty of snow about, and despite the cold and the snow, I loved Paris in December.

Come to think of it - it was because of the snow and the cold that I loved Paris so much. The heat and the crowds of summer were long gone, making the queues shorter, the Metro less crowded, and the weather perfect for extended walks around the city.

Well that will do for now. If you haven’t done so, I can highly recommend Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, if for nothing else than the stunning scenery of the City of Lights. But as I indicated in my review, the film is thoroughly enjoyable in its own right, and I’m sure you won’t leave disappointed.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

In Review: Midnight in Paris

I have a terrible admission to make.

Until I saw Woody Allen’s latest flick, Midnight in Paris last night, I can’t remember going to see a Woody Allen movie in over 20 years. Twenty years! Why? What happened? Even I don’t rightly know.

I always enjoyed his early career as a writer, actor and film director, but for some reason I can no longer remember, I lost interest. Or maybe I just became more interested in the work of directors like Martin Scorcese, Francis Ford Coppola, the Coen Brothers, David Lynch, and one or two others.

I’m kicking myself now. Kicking myself, because I thoroughly enjoyed Midnight in Paris right from the opening montage of images that showed the ‘city of lights’ in all its stunning beauty. And kicking myself because I am sure I have missed any number of other excellent Woody Allen films over the past 20 years or so.

Still, there’s no point berating myself too much. Looking on the bright side, I’ve got at least two decades of catching up to do, as I program my personal Woody Allen retrospective in the coming months, and uncover more ‘lost’ gems from his film making oeuvre. But enough of the self abuse – on to Allen’s latest offering.

Part romantic comedy, and part fantasy, Midnight in Paris tells the story of Gil (Owen Wilson), a successful Hollywood screenwriter who is having problems finishing off his first novel. With his fiancée, Inez (Rachel McAdams), he travels to Paris with Inez’s rich, conservative parents, and understandably falls in love with the city. Unfortunately, Inez and her parents are less than enthusiastic, especially when Gil declares that he would love to live and work in Paris. Inez on the other hand, is apparently looking forward to married life in Malibu!

Gil believes that Paris’s golden age was the 1920s. An era that saw some of the greatest writers and painters of the twentieth century (both American and European), make Paris their home. At the end of a drunken night out with Inez, her ex-boyfriend Paul (Michael Sheen), and his wife Carol (Nina Arianda), Gil decides to walk the streets of Paris to clear his head. As a clock chimes the midnight hour, Gil is literally transported back in time to a party set in 1920s Paris, at which a host of famous writers and artists from that period are present.

Over a period of four or five nights, Gil meets Cole Porter, Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Picasso, Dali, Hemingway, and many more writers, painters, dancers, artist’s models, as well as other luminaries of the age.

- o0o -

I could write a lot more about the plot, but if you have yet to see the film, I don’t want to spoil the enjoyment I am sure you will get from it, by giving away too many plot points or quoting directly from the script.

As you might expect, Woody Allen has great eye for settings, and it has been years since I have seen Paris shown off to such great advantage in a movie. I was in Paris myself just over a year ago, and it was a delight to see scenes set in many of the places I myself visited during my stay. Places like the Louvre, the Palace of Versailles, the Musée de l’Orangerie (for a lovely scene involving Monet’s Water Lilies), Notre-Dame Cathedral, the famed Shakespeare and Company bookshop, the River Seine, and many others.

I thought every performance in Midnight in Paris, was spot on. Even from those actors with not much more than walk on parts. The dialog was sharp, witty, insightful, and the transitions between the present and the 1920s seamless. I spent the whole 90 minutes with a big smile on my face, and I left the cinema wishing that Woody Allen could have added another 30 minutes to the overall length of the film.

If you are into classic literature, art and cinema, there is much to delight and entertain you in Midnight in Paris. Apart from the great settings, and the excellent acting, you should have fun picking up the numerous artistic and cultural references Woody Allen sneaks in to his film.

My highest accolade? I enjoyed Midnight in Paris so much I intend to go back and see it again, before it disappears from the big screen. Not only that, but this is one movie I will definitely buy when it is released here on DVD – and for me that is always my biggest stamp of approval.

Highly recommended.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

In Review: Bloody Crimes, by James Swanson

Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln’s Corpse1 – to give my copy of James Swanson’s 2010 book its full title – is a detailed chronicle of a momentous period in American life, which, as the title suggests, deals with the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln; the historic journey by train of his remains from Washington, DC to Springfield, Illinois; and the hunt for the Confederate President, Jefferson Davis, in the final weeks of the American Civil War.

While the core of the book covers a period of less than four weeks – from the death of Abraham Lincoln on April 15, 1865 until the capture of Jefferson Davis on May 10, 1865 – there are chapters bookending this material which provide information to place these two larger-than-life characters in the right historical setting.

Apart from a passing mention or two, James Swanson does not deal with the hunt for John Wilkes Booth – Lincoln’s assassin – or that of his co-conspirators in this book. Swanson’s first book, Manhunt, covers this ground extensively, allowing him to concentrate on the parallel, but quite different journeys of Lincoln and Davis.

And what journey’s they are.

Following Lincoln’s murder, his body undergoes a 1,600 mile trip by train from Washington, DC through Maryland, Philadelphia, New York, Ohio, Indiana, and finally onto its final resting place in Lincoln’s hometown, Springfield, Illinois. As the funeral train steams across the American landscape, thousands of people line the route and crowd town and city ceremonies to honor the presidents life and to mourn his passing. The closer to Springfield the train gets, the larger the crowds and the more intense the mourning rituals.

While all this is going on, Confederate President, Jefferson Davis is heading into the south, hoping against hope to rally his scattered generals and war weary soldiers for the ongoing fight for secession.

Falsely accused of being a co-conspirator in Lincoln’s assassination, Davis eventually runs out of money, support, and options, and is captured along with his wife, children, and a small group of loyal aides, and jailed in anticipation of a trail that never takes place. Ultimately, he is released – neither guilty nor innocent – of crimes against the state, and lives out the rest of his life at Beauvoir, an estate near Biloxi, Mississippi.

Following Jefferson Davis’s death in New Orleans on December 6, 1889, his own remains underwent their own pilgrimage by train from the Crescent City through Mississippi, Georgia, South and North Carolina, and on to Richmond, Virginia.

But none of the above, captures the intimate details and minutiae that James Swanson fills Bloody Crimes with. Richly illustrated, and carefully researched, Swanson’s 464 page book takes readers inside the Peterson house to recount the minutes and hours following the shooting at Ford’s Theatre. The boarding house, owned and operated by William and Anna Peterson was just doors from the theatre. It was here that Lincoln, mortally wounded from a single gunshot to the head, spent the final 12 hours or so of his life.

Using contemporary accounts from the period (books, private journals and letters, newspaper reports, photos, sketches, prints, archival material, and official government records, etc), Swanson is able to paint a picture that captures the shock, tears, anger and confusion in the immediate aftermath of Lincoln’s death.

His coverage of Lincoln’s funeral train is equally detailed, again using many contemporary accounts that followed its route through the northern states of the Union. Interspersed with these descriptions, Swanson examines the southern journey of Jefferson Davis as he abandons Richmond, Virginia after the surrender of Robert E. Lee, and heads south by train with what little is left of his war cabinet and treasury.

James Swanson regards Jefferson Davis, as one of the “Lost Men” of American history, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he decided to turn his attention to telling Davis’s story at some future date. Sadly, in the epilogue to Bloody Crimes, Swanson writes that Beauvoir, the family home near Biloxi was completely destroyed when Hurricane Katrina roared across the Gulf in August 2005, sweeping away priceless artefacts, documents and other materials kept there.

Students of American history should find Bloody Crimes fascinating. I for one, highly recommend it.


1Intriguingly, Amazon gives the title of this book as Bloody Crimes: The Funeral of Abraham Lincoln and The Chase for Jefferson Davis (see image).

Why the difference in titles is beyond me, although I suspect that the ‘Death Pageant for Lincoln’s Corpse’ lines might have something to do with it. In that case, why not settle for the same, less offensive or controversial title across all editions and be done with it? Your guess is as good as mine, dear reader. Your guess is as good as mine.

James Swanson seems to have carved out a niche for himself as an expert on the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln and the events surrounding that historic event. He has written or co-written several other books on the topic including, Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer, and Lincoln’s Assassins: Their Trial and Execution (with Daniel Weinberg).

Not to be confused with Bloody Crimes, Amazon also sells a book titled, Bloody Times: The Funeral of Abraham Lincoln and the Manhunt for Jefferson Davis. This is described on Amazon as “ adaptation for young people of his adult book Bloody Crimes,” so be sure you are purchasing the ‘adult’ version of the book, if that is what you are looking for.

Swanson has also co-written, The Lincoln Assassination Encyclopedia with Edward Steers. Finally, most of these books are also available in Kindle editions, and as audio books through Amazon.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday Movies: Manhattan in Motion

A couple of time lapse videos that although completely different, nevertheless manage to compliment each other. The first is a beautifully shot video of Manhattan recorded at various times across multiple days and nights. The other, a somewhat surreal piece showing the slow decay and transformation that an ant colony wreaks on an old scanner.

 Manhattan in Motion Time Lapse
Josh ‘Getting My Time Lapse On’ Owens publishes his videos under the Mindrelic pseudonym.

Apart from his page on Vimeo from where this video was sourced, Josh can be found on Twitter, Facebook, RedBubble and his Mindrelic website. However, other than that he appears to be from Rochester, New York, none of these websites offer any insight or information about Josh. Nor does he try to explain why he makes his films or what he hopes to achieve by their creation. He seems happy to let the videos ‘speak’ for themselves. So without further ado, here is Manhattan in Motion...

More information


Describing Ants in My Scanner as “… an exploration of the aesthetic of life and degradation”, Paris based François Vautier, the creator of this short video explains that five years ago he…

"…installed an ant colony inside my old scanner that allowed me to scan in high definition this ever evolving microcosm (animal, vegetable and mineral). The resulting clip is a close-up examination of how these tiny beings live in this unique ant farm. I observed how decay and corrosion slowly but surely invaded the internal organs of the scanner. Nature gradually takes hold of this completely synthetic environment.”

Vautier (whose work was presented at the WORLD EXPO Shanghai 2010), adds that the ants are still alive, and that the process of recording the colony continues.

Music : Franks - Infected Mushroom.

More information

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bergdorf Goodman, New York City

If you have ever been to New York City, you will know there are some truly amazing stores waiting to be discovered and enriched with your hard-earned money. The famous stores that most visitors head for if they have shopping in mind are generally Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Another store that doesn’t seem to get as much press is Bergdorf Goodman, which has two stores on Fifth Avenue – and that store is the subject of this post.

Now let me say from the outset, that I don’t travel to shop. Apart from picking up a handful of cheapish t-shirts, or some other essential item that I forgot to pack, or need to replace, I carry everything I need with me. However, I can still remember the shock and delight I experienced when I walked past the Bergdorf Goodman (BG) building on Fifth Avenue at 754 Fifth Avenue (at the corner of Fifth Ave., & 58th St.). The other BG store across the street is officially the Bergdorf Goodman Men outlet.

Above: Note the mini display built into the subfloor space of this window. The image below presents a close up view of this subfloor display.

Having never heard of Bergdorf Goodman before I first visited New York in 2008, I was, as mentioned, shocked and delighted by the stunning displays this store is famous for. Like most department stores all over the world, the main BG building is graced with large windows which feature displays that are designed to draw shoppers into the store. But whether you enter or not, there is much to appreciate and savor in the regular Bergdorf Goodman window displays.

The Bergdorf Goodman site name checks David Hoey and his visual team as the creators of the 2011 holiday displays. Designed around the theme, Carnival of The Animals, as the theme suggests, each window includes a range of creatures – real and imagined – including some very surreal creations.

While the official Bergdorf Goodman site has five or six images of the latest holiday displays, the always excellent Vintage and Modern website has large photographs of all, or most of, the current display windows. If you can’t get to New York City yourself to see the displays, these images are surely the next best thing.

Finally, all the images illustrating this entry are of Bergdorf Goodman window displays dating from April, 2008. As you can see there is a stunning richness to these presentations that the photographs barely do justice too. Judging from the photos, the store appeared to have a Carnival or Circus theme in that year. Clearly, a lot of care and thought has gone in to these displays, and I highly recommend a spot of ‘window shopping’ at Bergdorf Goodman if you are in the vicinity of the store.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Feeding Your Travel Bug

It has been over two years since I wrote about the post-travel blues: that feeling of depression, or comedown, that hits once your trip of a lifetime has come to an end. I thought I’d return to the topic today to shed some new insights into post-travel coping strategies. But first, to recap. Among the suggestions in my previous post are: Start working on your next trip; Take a short course; Be a tourist in your home town; Learn the Lingo; and Use the Internet to connect with like-minded travellers.

 Since returning to Australia in March from an eight month trip that took me across America, into Europe and finally to Cambodia, I have continued to feed my travel bug in three major ways:

By turning my best travel photographs into a constantly changing slide show
Like most people who travel today with any type of digital camera, I returned home with literally thousands of images saved to my laptop. Putting some of these to good use, I have created a folder for my favorite photos. These are programmed to change the Desktop image on my computer every 60 seconds. In this way, I am constantly reminded of my trip highlights, and always thinking about my next journey, which as of this post is less than a month away (when I head to Melbourne for a five week house sitting stay).

I have also started posting a daily photo online via my Twitter profile. This forces me to go through my files looking for interesting images to upload, which again serves as an ongoing reminder of the travels I have undertaken, and kept me focussed on the travels still to come.

By treating my return home as just another extended stay in a never ending journey

I figure if Bob Dylan can embark on a ‘Never Ending Tour’, I should be able to embark on a ‘Never Ending Journey’. Therefore, I try not to think in terms of being ‘home’. Instead, I tell myself I am simply paying an extended visit to Adelaide, from which in due course I will move on. So, after returning to Adelaide from Melbourne early in February, 2012, I will once again spend time here before heading to Europe in May, and America in July. And thus the never ending journey rolls on.

This is just a mental mind game, I know, but it works for me, and may well work for you too, so give it a try, and let me know how you get on.

By Writing, Reading, and Researching

It is far too easy to fall into the routine of the daily grind once you return from your travels. I deal with this by maintaining this blog, and by writing guest posts for other blogs. This forces me to remember my trip, and to engage with the wider travel community wherever it may be found.

I also read as many books as I can about the cities and countries I plan to visit. And by books I am not talking only about travel guides. I look for histories, biographies, and novels that will help give me an understanding of the culture and the countries I will be passing through.

Recent titles include Paul Auster’s The Brooklyn Follies; Bill Brysons Life And Time of The Thunderbolt Kid; and The Historical Atlas of New York City by Eric Homberger. Right now I am reading two books, Bloody Crimes (James Swanson), about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and the hunt for Jefferson Davis; and Douglas Brinkley’s The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and The Crusade for America.

Add to these a shelf full of books still waiting to be read covering Venice, the Crusades, the pirate Captain Kidd, and the history behind the gardens at Versailles (to name just a few areas of interest), and you can see how I manage to keep myself occupied when I’m not actually on the road – or online.

Quite frankly, there is almost never a waking hour when I am not thinking in some way about travel: either journey’s I have completed, those about to begin, or still others on the distant horizon. I think it is fair to say, my travel bug is constantly being fed on a steady diet of information, images, and ongoing plans that help keep it full and focussed on the next travel ‘meal’.

Feel free to share your strategies for dealing with the post-travel blues via the Comments section below.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Lights of Lobethal Festival

Image courtesy of 
It’s official. Christmas is just around the corner. I know this because the ‘lights of Lobethal’ have been switched on, and that means like it or not, Christmas is coming. Let me explain.

For over 60 years, the community of the Adelaide hills town of Lobethal have been decorating their homes with lighting displays in the weeks leading up to Christmas. This tradition has become so popular that – according to whoever is responsible for keeping tabs on these sorts of things – the event has evolved into “…the largest Community Christmas Light Display in the Southern Hemisphere.”

And who am I to argue with that claim. The event began in the early 1950s, when local business owners used hand painted light bulbs to decorate their shops and businesses. Slowly, home owners began to do the same thing, and before you could finish singing The Twelve Days of Christmas, a new tradition had been born. As word spread about the lights, visitors began travelling from other hills towns, and eventually Adelaide and further afield to see the increasingly elaborate displays.

By the turn of the century, the event had changed from what was essentially a local community event to the Lights of Lobethal Festival, which now attracts over 250,000 visitors from all parts of Australia, as well as from overseas. Today, over 700 homes and businesses are lit up, at their own expense, to “…spread the true meaning and joy of Christmas.”

Of course, if a quarter of a million people were to spend just $10 each during their visit on food and drinks, and the odd trinket or two, that would no doubt be more than welcomed by the town burghers as well.

The Festival now includes a number of other events such as a Living Nativity (performing twice each night!), a Christmas Tree Festival (featuring trees decorated by local groups, school children and individuals), and a Christmas Pageant (December 23rd). The opening night (December 11), featured Christmas Carols, an official opening ceremony, and of course, the obligatory fireworks display.

Lights of Lobethal route map. Click to enlarge.
As you can imagine, given the large numbers of people now driving through the town each night, the event is heavily policed, and indeed a Dry Zone is in place (and enforced), for the duration of the Festival. An official route map (above) helps channel visitors and traffic in an orderly way through the town, which, as you can see from the map is not exactly large, so pack some extra patience with you if you go. By the way, to discourage visitors from driving through the town at all hours of the night, the light displays are officially turned off at 11pm each night.

If you don’t want to join the queue of cars yourself, Buses-R-Us operates three tours each night (at 8:30pm; 9:30pm; and 10:30pm) during the festival, at a cost of $12 per person. You can join these tours once you reach Lobethal, or you could join the more expensive full Lights of Lobethal tour from Adelaide (Adults $30; Concession $27; Family $90). You will find more information on the official Lights of Lobethal site.

Alternatively, beat the rush and arrive early in the evening. You could have a meal in Lobethal, then check out the Centennial Hall Market where a variety of art and craft and local produce can be bought, and also visit the Country Fire Service Op Shop on the off chance that a bargain is waiting to be discovered amongst the bric-a-brac there.

Lights of Lobethal runs from Sunday, December 11th until the 31st of December 2011.

More Information:Lights of Lobethal official website...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday Movie: HDR Skies

French photographer Tanguy Louvigny created the time-lapse film embedded below of Normandy and Brittany using High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging techniques. As you can see from the screen grab above, the footage – and the countryside – looks absolutely stunning, and Louvigny has generously made the above image, and half-a-dozen others, available for download as wallpapers for your computer desktop.

Films like this sometimes make me wonder if there is any point travelling to see the regions depicted in these homemade films for myself. After all, one would have to sit – in some instances – for hours to observe the same scenes. On the other hand, watching videos like the one here can lead to a growing sense of frustration knowing that life is too short, and no matter how much money you have, you will never have enough time to see all the beautiful places on this small blue planet.

Ultimately, more than anything else, these videos stir the wanderlust in me, and regardless of money or time, I am left counting down the months, weeks and days until my next journey.
For more information regarding how Louvigny creates his films, and the gear he uses, go to his website and Vimeo page.

Thanks to Open Culture for the heads up on this video and Louvigny’s delightful film.

Make sure you view the video at full size to see the footage at its best.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

SASMEE PARK: An Adelaide Hidden Gem

The South Australian Society of Model and Experimental Engineers (SASMEE) runs a variety of ride-on model steam trains at their SASMEE PARK site at Millswood, Adelaide, South Australia. I used to visit the site as a teenager, and had not been back to the park for over 40 years until I visited again with my niece, her husband, and two children, in August 2010.

As a teenager I loved to examine the beautiful steam-powered model ships, and stunning steam trains, each loving built by skilled engineers and craftsmen whose attention to detail and pride in their work was clearly evident.

First incorporated in 1927, the Society began developing the Millswood site in 1947, and have been adding to and extending the tracks and facilities ever since. The site includes a large boiler house containing various historical exhibits, the oldest of which dates back to the 1880s.
Click map to view full size
Entirely volunteer run, the park is open to the public on the first Sunday and third Saturday of each month - weather permitting - from 2 to 4.30pm.

With an entry price of just $5 for adults and $3 for children, SASMEE PARK is one of my Adelaide 'Hidden Gems'. Once inside the site, children and adults can ride the trains as often as they like for no additional cost. There is also a large pond on site where SASMEE members and members of the public can sail model boats (some steam powered).

As you can imagine, the site is very popular with children of all ages, and because of the range of facilities and activities on offer, SASMEE PARK is the perfect place to hold birthday parties for any number of children.

Unfortunately, on the day I visited with family members, it was overcast and soon started raining, which cut our visit short, which is why in the video below you only see the steam trains, and none of the other facilities – although you can catch glimpses of the site as the video progresses. I will return to the park over the summer to shoot more footage of the whole site and add that to an updated post in due course.

Check the SASMEE website for full details about the park.

Note: Enclosed footwear *must* be worn if you wish to ride on the trains. You cannot wear light, flimsy or open-toed footwear. This includes thongs (flip-flops), sandals and scuffs.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Visiting New York City

I was fascinated by an article in a recent edition of the New York Magazine called And Another Fifty Million People Just Got Off of the Plane.

The article spelt out in great detail the efforts that have gone into promoting tourism in New York City over the past ten years. Incredibly, in 2011, New York looks like playing host—for the first time in its history—to 50 million tourists. In 2002, when Mayor Bloomberg took office, that figure just over 35 million. With a turnover of $47 billion a year, tourism it is now New York’s fifth-largest industry.

Also of interest was information about where visitors come from and the ways they spend their time and money. In 2010, American’s accounted for visitor numbers of 39 million, compared with 9.7 million international travellers. However, according to the story, the two groups couldn’t be more different. Apparently, Americans “…stay an average of 2.7 nights and spend an average of $432” while in New York, while international visitors “…stay 7.3 days and spend an average of $1,700.”

It was interesting too, to read that international visitors are more adventurous than domestic visitors. I was particularly pleased to see this in the article:
“Among travelers from the top foreign markets, Australians are the most adventurous. They are the most likely to attend a sporting event, go dancing, shop, buy tickets to a concert or a play—anything, really.”
As an Australian who has visited New York City on two occasions, and who is looking forward to my third visit over the summer of 2012, I can report that apart from the dancing mentioned in the above quote, I have attended sporting events, shopped, been to concerts, Broadway productions and much more. I'm probably one of the few Staten Island Ferry riding tourists that have actually left the St George Terminal and spent a day checking out the island (nowhere near enough of course, but it's a start), whereas most visitors taking the free ferry ride reboard the next available craft for the return trip to Manhattan.

Despite the fact that I have now spent a total of four months ‘living’ in New York, I am far from exhausting the city's possibilities, and since the chances of doing that are next to impossible – even if I lived in New York full-time for ten years – it looks like I will continue to visit for a while yet.

Read the full article here...
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