We woke to a start this morning. It felt like the roof of our house was caving in. And then we realised what it was, it was raining torrentially and sound of the raindrops hitting the roof was what woke up. With a sudden chill, I realised I had left our shoes outside last night as it was covered in sand from the dunes.
I rushed to open the door and true enough, our shoes were ponding with rainwater. On the bright side, they are clean now. On the not so bright side, we were headed to Blue Mountains today with no proper footwear. Just great. The good news kept coming when we found out that water was seeping into the room through some crack in the flooring. Thankfully other than the bed sheets getting soaked, our things remained dry.
After reporting this to the hotel management, we checked out and began our journey towards Blue Mountains in the heavy downpour. Today was the start of daylight saving in New South Wales and time was brought forward by an hour at 12mn. It is my first time experiencing this in person and it felt so weird that suddenly it is already 11am when it should have been 10am. Having said this, it does make sense to move time forward as the days were starting much earlier.
As we didn’t have a map to guide us to Blue Mountains, we made a few wrong turns through the hill towns which line the highway leading up to Katoomba. As we approached Blue Mountains, the rain let up and we could see Katoomba shrouded in clouds, which could only mean one thing. Cold. And cold it was!
We had prepared for Blue Mountains to be within the range of 10 – 15 degrees but the temperature that greeted our afternoon arrival is 6 degrees celcius. In fact from what we gather from the locals, you could still see snow further up the mountain range. This was mighty inconvenient considering that we did not have clothes suitable for the weather and really wet soaked through shoes.
Needless to say we were freezing within the minutes out in Katoomba during our check in at the mountain lodge. Our choice of accommodation was not any comfort either. As I had booked our stay here too late, the only options that was left were either the super expensive or the very modest range.
Turns out that Katoomba Mountain Lodge while offering individual rooms with bare amenities came with shared toilets, kitchen and TV room. In that freezing cold, no one was in the mood for bathing and after a quick lunch of instant noodles, we bundled up into the room and hibernated from the cold feeling miserable. The only source of heat within the room is an ancient heater made up of a single iron coil which Theo used in the meantime to dry our shoes.
My hopes of exploring Blue Mountains diminished as the sun set. Finally around dinner time, the rain had stopped and we decided to head out to grab some food. The children had to wear three layers of clothes beneath their coats and used socks to cover their hands before we dared to go outside.
The streets were deserted in the misty darkness but thankfully we could make out signs of life within the restaurants that line the main road of the hill town. We had a delicious dinner in a Thai restaurant and I was glad to be warmed up with a piping hot bowl of Tom Yum soup and very cute waiter. Ha ha.
When we got back to the hotel, another pleasant news greeted us. There was a blackout. We found the guests of the lodge huddling together in the TV room with only candles to light their way and warm them. Whatever cheer we gathered from our dinner soon diminished and we did our best to cover ourselves tight and coaxed ourselves to sleep in the miserable cold.