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Mid-morning we took a train and a ferry ride from Hiroshima to Miyajima island where we spent around seven hours before catching the ferry again after sunset.

 

The crowds were out and about again today as this is the last weekend of Golden Week. The queues for Itsukushima Shrine were so long when we arrived at high tide, that we wandered up to the Ropeway for a ride up to the top of the island, and a 1.8 kilometre walk back down.

From the Ropeway there were views of the Inland Sea. On the walk down, there were waterfalls, lots of birds and frogs (mostly unseen) and very keen hikers walking UP to the top. Deer roam freely around the island and aren’t averse to opening doors to rubbish bins or nosing around in handbags where they think food might be found.

 

 

 

 

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The area is famous for its oysters, so what are you to do but taste some of the grilled oysters on offer. During the afternoon, we were also compelled to eat a green ice-cream sandwich. Oh, and there may have been some maple leaf shaped tiny cakes with custard cream centres consumed too.

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The Great Torii near Itsukushima Shrine is one of the most important cultural structures in Japan. The gate (bird abode) marks the transition between earth and the spirit world.

This is the eighth version, rebuilt in 1875. It stands on its own weight of 60 tons or thereabouts if you want to do the conversion to tonnes. It has two large camphor pillars with the four smaller ones being made of cedar.

When the tide is in, the gate appears to float on the water. When the tide is out, people wander out to get a closer look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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At this time of year, a trip to Hokkaido is the only way to possibly see sakura or cherry blossoms. They are just starting to come into bloom and we are likely to miss them at their peak. Nevertheless, those early bloomers gave us some pleasure today in Sapporo.

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This word is mono no aware (pronounced mono no ah-wah-reh) and its literal translation is “the pathos of things”.

More fully, it relates to the feeling of gentle wistfulness at the brief and transient nature of beautiful things and an awareness of the sadness of existence.

Hi ka raku you is another beautiful word meaning “blossoms fall and leaves scatter – the impermanence of worldly things”

 

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today’s haiku

the coming of spring

beautiful, fragile, short

the blossom’s lesson

 

They love to spend time making sure that the location of the camp is just right.

Selecting sites

They have a fascination with fire, and a very useful ability to ensure that limited supplies of wood are distributed fairly among all campers at a site to ensure that we get to eat.

Purnululu fire place

My personal favourite. They are VERY good at rigging up a private shower space for use after dusty walks in the Bungle Bungles.

makeshift shower

We spent two days with the walking boots on, clambering over rocks to find palm glades, checking out the panoramic views from lookouts, tramping over river rocks that get smoother with flood waters most wet seasons, but are sucked dry of moisture at this time of the year.

Here are a few of my favourite shots from those walks. You may notice an attempt from me to be artistic somewhere in the mix.

Purnululu panorama

Purnululu - Echidna Gorge

Bungle Bungle honey combs

Bungle Bungle sketch

Bungle Bungle honey combsCathedral Gorge - PurnululuThe Domes 2

Monday 8 July (posted in Marla 10 July)

It was a big party in the house behind the road house last night.  Sound travels well across the flats and the karaoke to end the event at 4.00 am was a nice touch.

Today’s highlight on the road north-west was the mound springs, fresh water ponds of varying heights scattered across the landscape. At the Wabma Kadarbu Conservation Park are The Bubbler and Blanche Cup. The Bubbler 1Blanche CupWe had a lunch (pre-packed to foil those aforesaid flies) at Coward Springs, once a railway siding and now a privately owned camp ground. The owners manage and maintain the site and the old Engineer’s House.

William Creek boasts a pub and a non-descript caravan park. This has been my beer brand of choice on this trip. Just in case anyone was wondering….

Coopers advertisement - William Creek Hotel

We decided to back track and head down 60 kilometres of track to Halligan Bay on Kati Thandi-Lake Eyre. Road into Halligan Bay - Kati Thandi-Lake Eyre It’s an isolated spot. The fact that it took us over 2 hours to traverse those 60 kilometres may explain that few make the effort. In summary, here’s today’s journey.  For the dear reader who loves maps.

Mud map Monday So tonight we are among 3 other campers in this remote place, traditional home of the Arubunna people, on the lake in the dry season.  And this is why it was worth the corrugated road effort!

Kati Thandi - Lake Eyre sands late afternoonKati Thandi - Lake Eyre sunsetKati Thandi - Lake Eyre sunset 3

A great opportunity presented itself today in the form of a drawing workshop (my first) at the ignite redlands light arts festival in Cleveland.

Artist Leigh Camilleri was our teacher and charcoal was the forgiving and filthy medium.

We began with tentative first drawings of our model.  Then contour drawings (no peeking now!).  Each step of the way, Leigh shared her considerable knowledge and dared us to be brave.

I loved working with the charcoal. The eraser and my hands became part of the play as we worked and reworked the final drawing (see the last two images) as a whole and in segments.

I learned so much in such a short time and will happily head back to the classroom later in the year after our big road trip which is approaching fast.

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