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Living History at Røros

Røros World Heritage Site – The Church

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Røros Church in Norway – its reputation preceded it and my only chance to visit was offered to me when I was in Trondheim, Norway. Of course, I leapt at the chance. Walking through a living World Heritage Site, is not something one gets to do every day. Built during Norway’s golden age of copper mining, the church in Røros dates back to 1780 and is nestled amongst classical Norwegian village architecture.

Walking around the town’s old Wooden houses

Initially the church was closed and locked when I arrived, but my intrepid Norwegian friend was not to be deterred and energetically sought out a nearby caretaker who lived in one of the neighbouring wooden homes, who was then kind enough to open the church and give the “Australian,’ a short tour.

This was greatly appreciated.

The guide told us the church has been extensively renovated and restored in recent years, as it frequently plays host to popular concert series and services, often attended by the Norwegian Royals.  Isn’t it stunning?

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Some photos from my walk around the old mine site

Røros is a town high up in Eastern Norway, not far from the Swedish border. Dotted with historic wooden houses and the large copper mine turned museum, the copper mine flourished from 1644 right up until 1977.

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The mine is now a museum and the town’s Instagram-worthy architecture has been reincarnated as home to a range of craft artisans, gourmet food purveyors selling their local products, such as cheese and flatbread, in Instagram- worthy shops, as well as boutique objects popular with tourists. The walk along the main street is a delight.

The working life of the town’s citizens in the past was never easy, being as it was, a mining frontier town set high in the mountains on the border of Sweden. Conditions in the mines were neither comfortable nor healthy, it seems and the citizens a resilient lot, coping with difficult work and the threat of marauding Swedes over the border. You can re-live a little more of their history and life in the extensive displays at the museum, located at the mine’s site.

[Note: Signs were in English.]

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Walking inside the copper mine

Contrastingly, modern day Røros is peaceful quiet and colourful. The old wooden houses are beautifully maintained and the town continues to be a World Heritage Site in which people actually work and live out their daily lives.

Every February, the town hosts an annual Winter festival. I imagine there would be quite a different colour on the ground this time of year than when I completed my walk in early Summer.

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Røros is also a place that tries to re-invented itself from its mining past by being sustainable and enjoyable for visitors. They try to preserve local nature, culture and environment, and tourists love it. I wrote more on a prior post about the history of Røros and its Mining Museum.

Something other regional towns might ponder about.

Linking to Jo’s Monday Walks

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Monday walk -Boreen Point Foreshore

It has been some time since I have been walking with Jo and I am delighted to be able to join in again! Yesterday, despite the oppressive humidity and the summer heat, we visited Boreen Point, situated on the shores of the largest lake in the super hip Noosa Region of Queensland, the Sunshine State of Australia.

The start of the Foreshore Walk

With a population of just over 250, Boreen Point is a welcome break from the hipster tourist laden surf beaches, and a chance to chill out and enjoy stand up paddle boards, kayaks, sailing and other water sports.

Me, I am happy to sit on a rug, take a short walk or dip my toes in the water and let the tranquility of the area ooze over me. Come and see what I mean.

Rebel is keen to start walking, so let’s go….

Today I took the path less travelled and the dogs didn’t seem to mind.

The shady trees were a welcome relief from the burning sun.

The vistas through the trees added to the area’s appeal, being a restful pause for the eyes.

Lake Cootharaba, itself, is about 10 kilometres long by about 5 kilometres wide, but average depth is only a mere 1.4 metres! My kind of lake!

The perimeter of the lake forms part of the Great Sandy National park and is rich in wetlands and bird life, and offers World Heritage attractions such as the Teewah Coloured Sands and the ‘Mini Sahara Desert”, known as the Carlo Sand-blow,  which I visited some years back.

Historical connections

Hidden in the bushy undergrowth in the Foreshore Reserve, stands a stone tribute to Eliza Fraser. She was a Scottish woman who was shipwrecked nearby in the19th Century and survived for several weeks with the assistance of the indigenous folk before she was rescued and taken back home. She became a minor celebrity in Australia and England regaling lurid details of her adventures being held as an “Aboriginal Tribal Slave,” to aghast Victorian audiences, and was later immortalized on celluloid by actress Susannah York in 1976. World Heritage listed Fraser Island is named after her. Seems she has left quite an impression.

All too soon, we had reached the conclusion of the foreshore walk and it was time to leave this lakeside paradise to the birds.

Linking to Jo’s Monday Walks

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Walking Around in Whitby

Named after British explorer, James Cook, this place is as far from its namesake town locality as it could possibly be, so what is there to see in Whitby?

Join me for a walk and see….

 

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A suburban street in Whitby

 

You may have read about my previous visits to New Zealand, but it is Whitby, a suburban area, located north of the capital, Wellington, that featured on our walk today.

There is strong evidence of middle income suburban New Zealand, here, but Whitby also offers some unique but lesser known features, which I was to discover on a family walk among its well manicured streets.

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Coniferous trees relish a cool, temperate climate, quite different to the sub-tropical flora my kin might see at home.

Seeing them along dotted along the littoral fringe and stream that bisects this town, our minds filled with thoughts of hobbits and elves and ‘Middle Earth.’

Well, we were after all, in New Zealand!

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The path, to the right, next to the tunnel of trees, along the littoral fringe.

 

 

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The flowers alone are worth walking miles for….

 

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Plants like the Protea, above, and this spectacular hydrangea bush, that I struggle to grow back home, relish the cooler, more wet humid climate and seem to grow like weeds!

 

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What is that definition of a weed?

Just a plant in the wrong place!

 

But it is not all trees and flowers we spotted on our walk.

 

The Kiwis are not at all overly formal in their manner, their sense of humour being evident in this unusual garden statue.

 

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Who wants a regular garden gnome, anyway?

 

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Besides being named after the British birthplace of explorer, Captain James Cook, the attraction about Whitby for me, was found in the unique, natural beauty of the surrounding mountains.

Visible from practically any street in this locality, it is easy to be mesmerized by the distant mountains which remind me of convolutions of a green Giant’s velvet brain.

Our walk encompasses a stop at a flat-topped Spinnaker Summit Lookout, at which the mandatory photo stop was required.

 

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The mountains of green velour on the far side of the lake look as if a giant laid down a carpet and then slept on it, failing to smooth the grassy covers when he arose from his slumber.

One feels like you could rub your hand over them just to feel their soft, velour texture.

I have never seen hills like this anywhere else in the world.

It is said that New Zealand has some similarities to Norway, well, maybe not in this area…..

 

A backdrop of mountains and hills like the convolutions of a green velvet brain

 

A walk around a suburban area often gives one a feel for the personalities who live there.

The diversity of boutique letter box designs was a delightful recurring theme in Whitby.

 

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I would like one of these letter boxes!

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Walking further from the lake and Summit lookout, we spotted several Tui birds relishing the blossoms, hunting, as they were for some food.

This species of honey-eater is not under any threat, having adapted well to the urban environment in the North Island.

Wiki states that apparently the early European colonists called it the Parson Bird but, as with many New Zealand birds, the Maori name ‘Tui’ is now the common name.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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After a good hour of strolling the suburban streets, Miss H and the young ‘uns were getting that glazed look in their eyes that said,” I’m soo bored” – you know the one that teens do so well, thus, a extension to our walk was quickly made to Adrenalin Forest, Porirua, on the outer edges of Whitby!!! Now it was the kid’s turn to dictate the direction of the “walk,” as the “Adrenaline forest” is an aerial obstacle course consisting of flying fox, high ropes, climbing through barrels, nets and steps, suspended above the ground, which makes for a fun and energetic few hours. The kids are harnessed with two dual locks, so it is impossible to remove both clamps from the harness at the one time, making it a perfectly safe activity, even for the most reckless individual. Furthermore, the attendants give full instructions and a good dose of practice on ground level before starting the course.

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I venture to say it is a kids only activity, as I didn’t see any adults participating in the course.

Why?

The parents/carers were all down on terra firma, shouting encouraging thoughts above, who were hanging by the harness up to 60 feet above them in the tree tops.

The course becomes incrementally more difficult, and Miss 11 who was part of our group, piked out at Level 3, and had to be ‘rescued’ – which meant that an attendant had to climb a ladder and disengage you from the course.

Miss 13 and 16 kept going till Level 4, but were exhausted afterwards. A real endurance activity for some.

 

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The Adrenalin forest is loads of fun if you are ever in Wellington, or Whitby surrounds.

Kids have exercise, fun, learn new skills, conquer their fears and the bonus is they are sun safe (in the shade) and cannot check mobile devices whilst they are up there!! I noted there was limited seating, (and nowhere to purchase refreshments) for adults who are watching, and the constant looking upwards was a posture most adults are not used to.

Like me, I suspect most of them could use a neck brace of sorts afterwards.

Something the young 19 year old me would not have to Ponder About

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old railway car
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‘Moore’ Meanderings at Linville

Being a winter girl, a summer drive through Australia’s back roads isn’t always pleasant for me, living as I do in a humid sub-tropical part of the globe, but I have to admit I discovered the Linville – Moore region of the Esk county, in Southern Queensland did have a particular provincial charm.

Linville, itself, boasts a Pub and a general store, in addition to a camping ground and a vague attempt at a historic railway exhibit, but this too simply adds to the relaxing country appeal of a laid back rural lifestyle.

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Historic Linville Hotel

Situated a 90 minute drive, north west from Brisbane, the Esk shire had a rich history of timber getting and cattle grazing. Veteran soldiers returning from World War I established small dairy farms in the surrounding areas, many of which have folded, following the deregulation of the dairy industry in the late 20th century.

In 1910, the Brisbane Valley railway line was extended to Linville, from Toogoolawah. It must have been a big event when the railway branch line opened and dignitaries boarded the train that took them from here to the Pinkenba docks in Brisbane, 140 kilometres away.

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The golden times have long gone for this small country town. The rail line was closed in the 1950’s and the station has suffered the ravages of time and neglect.

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The station master’s office contains several historic photos and memorabilia, but unfortunately it was locked when we visited and we could only peer inside through the window.
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The railway carriages are unlocked and free to enter, but as charming as they are, they too, are in complete disrepair. They might just be awaiting a philanthropic entrepreneur to renovate them into a fashionable Air B &B?

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Looking inside you can get a taste of rail travel of yesteryear. Beautiful leather seats and ornate plaster ceilings must have made for a luxurious alternative to a Horse and Jinker.

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The old rails has now been removed but the track itself remains now as a cleared, cycle or walking path. Cyclists can access a level 23 km run north to the town of Blackbutt but those on foot can take the path in the opposite direction of 7 kilometres to nearby ‘Moore’ township.

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The major waterway in the area, the Brisbane river, follows parts of the track, as it begins its winding course, meandering its way to Brisbane proper, finally spilling out into the sea, at Moreton Bay.

Due to recent good summer rainfalls, the vehicular causeway over the river was only just passable.

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Before leaving Linville, you might enjoy 100 years of history over a meal of very decent pub grub, moderately priced at around $15 for a Burger with chips.

Word has it that you can even stay the night at the historical pub, if you wish.

 

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Accommodation at the Linville Hotel will set you back $40, a night, if you chose to linger longer. Nighttime entertainment includes a game of pool, playing the piano or checking out the unique jukebox.

Or perhaps take in some more refreshments in the bar with the locals. Yes that label is fair dinkum!! Don’t let the chainsaw or the Port’s label, put you off!

 

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MOORE

Strolling down the ex-railway track for  seven kilometres, you will arrive at the town of Moore. In the main street you will find a lovely gallery cafe.

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The Old Church Gallery on Linville Road has a friendly buzz is evident with the owner operator enthusiastically welcoming visitors to her garden verandah cafe.

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The  menu for Lunch is centred on organic healthy cuisine, such as Cauliflower salad and Zucchini soup. There is plunger coffee, served individually to your table, according to taste, as well as infusions of loose leaf tea, and mouth-watering home made cakes, served with custard and figs, at prices that won’t blow your budget.

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Plus you will find many interesting curios and artifacts from bygone times.

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Home to Mackenzie fabrics, the adjoining Gallery contains a diverse range of arts, crafts, gifts and jewellery at moderate prices.

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The Old Church Gallery is located at 35 Linville Road, Moore and is open from 11 am – 4pm, Thursday to Sunday, and will happily caters for Groups. Word has it a craft group has started up in Linville and they will also meet up at the cafe.

Access for disabled and Dogs are welcome in the courtyard. Always a bonus for dog lovers.

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Moore and Linville’s Heritage Railway Walking trail make a delightful day trip to Ponder About and most suitable for Jo’s Monday Walks

Thanks goes to Ben and Nina for introducing us to the Linville area.

Architecture, Community

Finding Heine and Treasures in Berlin

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“We don’t catch hold of an idea, rather the idea catches hold of us and enslaves us and whips us in to the arena so that we, forced to be gladiators fight for it.”

– Heinrich Heine 1797 – 1858

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So says the inscription on the statue of German Poet, Journalist and literary critic, Heinrich Heine, in Berlin, Germany. His words of wisdom have often intrigued me and it was for that very reason that I tracked down his statue, on a recent trip to Berlin.

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Why bother to search for a statue, you might say? After all, the Heine statue is a little off the usual tourist path and one has to actively search for it, [and you already know that I was doing just that]. It is because I’ve been fascinated by the liberal, and at times prophetic words, of this free thinking writer and how his words written in the 19th century, became catastrophically true, in the twentieth century. But more about that a little later.

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Heine’s statue sits in a small square, fringed with manicured hedges and shady trees, and is a suitable spot to rest and reflect, as Heine did, upon the world, (although I suspect, today’s visitors might update social media, rather than navel-gaze). Whilst mapping out my walking route around Berlin attractions, finding his statue was a short stop before my walking destination – the Pergamon, a Berlin absolute ‘must – see’.

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Towards the entrance of the Pergamon

The Pergamon is situated amongst a complex of museums, housed in several palatial buildings on Museum Island. The classic architecture of the museum buildings harkens back to Ancient times and is an excellent visual attraction in itself.

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The Neue Museum

Also in the Museum complex, the monumental Neues Museum, circa 1800’s, contains Ancient art and archeology, whilst Neoclassical art fills the neighbouring and awe-inspiring Altes Nationalgalerie.

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Altes Nationalgalerie

But, I am here to see the Pergamon itself, and its jewels in the archaeological crown – one of which is the excavation finds of frieze panels of the Pergamon Altar, reclaimed in archaeological digs, from 1878 to 1886. Disappointingly, for me and future visitors, I find that the Pergamon Altar exhibit is closed for renovation, until 2019. Well, maybe next time.

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What you won’t see till 2019. Wikipedia Photo

Nevertheless, I am aware that one ‘altar’ doth the Pergamon, not make. There are other ‘jewels’ to see. Some of the other monolithic exhibits, such as the Market Gate of Miletus, the Ishtar Gate and the Processional Way from Babylon, are overwhelming and to say that is a complete understatement. Just look at them!!!

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If you don’t ever get to visit the historic sites of the Middle East yourself, visiting the Pergamon will make you feel like you have!

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The exhibits are unlike anything I have seen and are but a small window into the world of ancient civilizations. I am completely gobsmacked by the level of intricate detail and the skills necessary to produce such fine work.

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The Museum complex now houses three of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin’s collections: the Antikensammlung, Vorderasiatisches Museum, and the Museum für Islamische Kunst.

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To Plan a visit, go to the Museum website here, and please note there’s an option to purchase a combo ticket, for entry to all three museums, at a discounted price. A good tip to remember is to arrive at the Pergamon around opening time so as to avoid the lengthy queues commonly found, later in the day. I arrived just on opening time, and already the queue to enter took around 20 minutes.

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If you decide the queues to the Pergamon are too long on your arrival, the surrounding gardens and Berlin’s Domkirke cathedral are in themselves, a delight to see. The square in front of the Cathedral church is filled with buskers, street artists, and unfortunately, a few less desirable folk angling for the tourist dollar, legally or illegally. Be careful with your money around them.

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Berlin Domkirke

The Pergamon Museum complex is located on Bodestraße 1-3, Berlin and if you don’t want to walk there, from your accommodation, as I did, you can take a Bus, Tram, UBahn or Uber. Me? I enjoyed the a brisk, but lengthy early morning walk from my room at Comfort Hotel Auberge, which is located on Bayreuther Straße, a few steps from Wittenbergplatz station, but the walk back was a little too much, after being on my feet all day, so a bus near the Brandenberg gate took me right back to Kurfürstendamm, and then it was only a short stroll home past the farmer’s markets.

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My room at Hotel Auberge

Hotel Auberge is family run boutique hotel with classic old world features. Think ornate plaster ceilings, chandeliers in every room, carpeted stairs with turned wooden banisters, and a spacious room overlooking a leafy courtyard. Breakfast is an ample and satisfying buffet and tea is served to your table.

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On a 37° Celsius summer day like this one, the balcony seat was a perfect place to enjoy the sounds of the birds, and the city waking from its slumber before embarking on my walk.
The modern KaDeWe and Kurfürstendamm shopping precinct, the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, the Europa-Center and the Zoological garden are an easy 10 minutes walk away.

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Wittenbergplatz is a short stroll away

On my lengthy walk around Berlin, and the Pergamon, I was happy to find Heine, and pondered his thought-provoking words, especially his tragically prophetic line from the 1821 play, Almansor,

Where they burn books, they will, in the end, burn human beings too.”

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Fragment of the Berlin Wall on Freidrichstaße

Today, as I read a book called Stasiland by Australian author, Anna Funder, and learn of what it was like to live in the GDR, prior to the fall of the infamous Berlin Wall, I remember the inscription on Heine’s statue and ponder more his words, in much the same way as Anna Funder did, in her book:

“Heine, the free thinking poet, would be turning in his grave to see the sort of enslaving and forcing and fighting that has gone on here, under his cold black nose and pigeon shit shoulders.” -Anna Funder in Stasiland.

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Have we really learned any lessons?

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If you enjoyed reading my Tuesday Travel adventures, and are looking for other Travel themed blogs, you may like to check out:

Mindful Traveller

Restless Jo’s Monday Walks

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If you have a blog post on Travel and would like me to add it here, please leave a comment below with your link, so that others can find your post.

Amanda at Something to Ponder About