Travelling Tuesday–Saas Fee

The Matterhorn Rebellion

[K-Team European Adventures 2014]

One morning in August 2014, I rose early to catch the sunrise on the mountains surrounding Saas Fee in Switzerland. My husband also woke early to organise the earlier-than-other-places’-check-out at 9.00am. A shadow of disappointment rested on us as we adjusted to the reality that we would miss viewing the Matterhorn—not as a result of the weather, the weather was perfect, but because certain members of our gang feared they could not afford the expense of travelling to the other side to see the Matterhorn. (In retrospect, in a large travel group there’s always going to be differing agendas and opinions where to go and what to do and plenty of drama to go with it.)

The fallout from the Matterhorn Rebellion had settled and we had made the best of our Saas Fee visit with the previous day spent up the Honig instead. An aside here, how family myths are created. One member of our crew, insisted for years to come that I had been stalked and attacked by goats up on the Honig. I was not stalked and attacked by goats. Although, the thoughtless person who left a plastic bag of waste tied to a bench seat, has a lot to answer for. Let’s just say, that anyone who sat on that seat was assured of company. Goats, that is.

*[Photo 1: Goats, and mountain view up the Honig © L.M. Kling 2014]

Hence, the next morning, our last in Saas Fee, after catching the sun’s rays spreading over the mountains, we ate our muesli breakfast admiring the view…until the others in our party made an appearance.

 *[Photo 2: Dawn on the Dom © L.M. Kling 2014]

However, for some members, the novelty of early starts had worn off. So, after some more drama, where the morning views of the mountains surrounding Saas Fee were not appreciated, my husband, his brother and I were left to sort out the garbage. Saas Fee being a green village, had a particular protocol regarding waste disposal.

*[Photo 3: Morning Saas Fee, Switzerland © L.M. Kling 2014]

I rang the hotel management. My Swiss-German being non-existent, and my German not much better, this was a challenge to understand what we were to do with the waste. We were meant to have an orange bag for the garbage. Where was that? My husband hiked down to the hotel reception, while his brother and I vacated the apartment. We waited in the courtyard for my husband to return. He did, just before the taxi arrived—and with an orange bag.

*[Photo 4: Saas Fee, a town surrounded by the Alps © L.M. Kling 2014]

En route to the car (being a car-free village, all cars had to be parked in a carpark outside Saas Fee), with the loads of bags the others left for us to transport by taxi, the driver stopped at a humble wooden hut. He took our orange garbage bag and, after opening the door of the hut, tossed the bag inside. I marvelled that even the garbage-disposal sites were disguised as mini alpine huts.

*[Photo 5: A hut like this in Saas Fee ©  L.M. Kling 2014]

After finding our car, and loading the baggage into it, we walked to the cable-car station. We caught up with the rest of our party at the Revolving Restaurant at Mittelallalin. We rode the two cable-cars and then cog-wheel train which went through the mountain tunnel to Mittelallalin at 3500m. The brisk but thin alpine air, the blue skies and bright white peaks of fresh fallen snow melted the misunderstandings of morning away and peace was made.

*[Photo 6: Now that the garbage has been dealt with—my hubby grabbing sunshine outside the Revolving Restaurant © L.M. Kling 2014]

*[Photo 7: What lies behind the Dom–the Matterhorn, of course © L.M. Kling 2014]

At 1pm, the younger members of our party decided to head down the mountain and start the drive back to Wattwil and the farm. Us “oldies” stayed to investigate the ice-caves inside the Fee glacier. When we prepared to leave the mountain, we saw the line-up for the cog wheel train was wide, thick and long with skiers who had the same idea. Maybe after some lunch the crowd would thin. Not so. Lunch did nothing to thin the crowd. Took us nearly an hour, crushed in by school-age skiers and their big ski gear bags whopping in front of our faces, and slowly inching forward as we watched three cog wheel trains cram skiers and snow-boarders in and then leave without us. There was even a “ghost” train. It came. It went. Without any passengers. Go figure!

*[Photo 8: Line-up of a different kind in the Ice-caves of the Fee Glacier (c) L.M. Kling 2014]

 ‘Why the long face, son?’ his mother asked.

‘All this way, I’ve come,’ he muttered, ‘perfect weather, and we were so close…and I still couldn’t see the Matterhorn; thanks to the Matterhorn Rebellion.’

So, as the sun set on the Alps, disappointment settled in the hearts of certain K-Team members, who had missed out on their goal to see the Matterhorn.

[Photo 9: Sunset on the Alps, Saas Fee © L.M. Kling 2014]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2018; 2022

*Feature Photo: Dawn on the Dom © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2014 

***

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Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981,

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And escape in time and space to the Centre of Australia 1981…

Virtual Travel–Romantic Road Bavaria

[Over the weekend I have wiled away some time in virtual travel courtesy of YouTube, particularly reliving our exploration of the Romantic Road, Bavaria. I also delved into some research of Nördlingen (mostly Wikipedia). I wanted to find more information about Kaiserhof Hotel Sonne but was sadly disappointed that the algorithms were on the side of “Booking.com” and “Tripadvisor” which dominated the search engines.

If anyone out there has some history pertaining to this hotel or can direct me to some resources, please share in the comments below.]

We passed through Ulm which was featured in this postcard but didn’t visit Ulm. We stayed in a town nearby called Burgau for a few days while we explored the Romantic Road. Our Tom-Tom, which we named Tomina, took great delight in leading us astray. In our quest to reach our Burgau apartment, Tomina decided to take us on a roadway that was closed to traffic.

Similarly, over one-hundred years ago, this postcard chased Theodora Bellan across Bavaria, originating in Sofflingen (a town that Google maps doesn’t recognise), then Nussdorf, and finally found her in Ludwigsburg.

The Romanitic Road was one part of Germany, that despite the wars and modernisation of the twentieth century, never lost its Medieval charm. A reason I so wanted to travel this road of the Romans when we travelled to Germany in 2014.  

Romantic Road

The next few days we explored the Romantic Road, although Tom Tom always tried to get us on the freeway. Friday, we did Tomina’s circuits in by never obeying her commands and instead following the Romantic Road signs.

 Highlights of the Romantic Road:

Nördlingen–the town of my Trudinger ancestors and having lunch in the Hotel Sonne restaurant which was owned by the Trudinger family until the 1960s. We then walked around the medieval wall. Hubby amused fellow travellers by greeting them with an Aussie “G’day”.

[Photos 1, 2, and 3 Aspects of Nördlingen © L.M. Kling 2014]

1. Red Rooves were filmed in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
2. The Wall of Nördlingen.
3. Kaiserhof Hotel Sonne

[Photos 3 & 4: Wassertrüdingen © L.M. Kling 2014]

4. Rain in Wassertrüdingen
5. Reflections in the water of Wassertrüdingen

Dinkelsbuhl–the church, St. Georges Minster, the ornate carvings and artwork and the bejewelled skeleton of a martyr executed by Emperor Nero on display. And…that day, Goths and Emos aplenty.

[Photos 6 & 7: Dinkelsbuhl © L.M. Kling 2014]

6. St. Georges Minster
7. Segringer Tor

Rothenburg ob der Tauber where we enjoyed the delicious sweet pastry as well as the beautiful sunny day that showed off its cobblestone roads and medieval buildings at its best.

[Photos 8, 9 & 10: Rothenburg ob der Tauber (c) L.M. Kling 2014]

8. Sweet Treats
9. Typical Rothenburg Street
10. Rothenburg ob der Tauber most popular

Challenges of the Romantic Road:

  • Too many tourists especially at Fussen on the Saturday we visited, caused us to be trapped in a massive traffic jam that held us in a virtual carpark for an hour.
  • So many tourists at Neuschwanstein (Mad Ludwig’s Castle). If we’d attempted to buy a ticket, we would have waited a four and a half hours or more to enter the castle!
  • Traffic jams and rain, both especially heavy that particular Saturday in August.

[Photos 11 & 12: Neuschwanstein and surrounds © L.M. Kling 2014]

11. Neuschwanstein with Schloss Hohenschwagau in foreground
12. Schwansee

We took a break from the Romantic Road one day to visit my relatives. Tomina had trouble with the “dud” roundabout, so we ended up travelling the “scenic route” through the back way off the motorway through corn fields and behind slow tractors. The hour’s trip took two hours, but once we arrived, we had a wonderful day.

In Burgau we had no internet. I think Hubby coped…although to be honest, he was grumpy at times. I guess there’s something to be said to slow down to the pace of snail mail and send postcards as folk did over 100 years ago…especially when there’s no internet.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2020; updated 2022

Feature Postcard: Ulm © 1905

Postcard Front: Ulm, Bayern

Postcard Back

***

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Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981,

To download your Amazon Kindle copy of the story…

And escape in time and space to the Centre of Australia 1981…

Trekking Tuesday–MacDonnell Gorges (1)

The T-Team Series — The Gorges of the MacDonnell Ranges

In this episode, the T-Team valiantly explore as many gorges in the MacDonnell Ranges as they can…in one afternoon. The challenge, avoid the crowds of tourists while keeping Mr. B entertained.

Ellery Creek and Serpentine Gorge

[Extract from The T-Team with Mr B: Central Australia 1977, a prequel to Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981.

The T-Team with Mr B — In 1977 Dad’s friend Mr Banks and his son, Matt (not their real names), joined Dad, my brother (Rick) and me on this journey of adventure. I guess Dad had some reservations how I would cope… But it soon became clear that the question was, how would Mr B who was used to a life of luxury cope? And how many times would my brother lose his way in the bush?]

With our two Indigenous guides, Dad drove the Rover along the rough dirt track (probably a “short cut”) to the road that parallels the MacDonnell Ranges, Namatjira Drive. These days, the main roads are sealed, but not back then. Dust billowed into the cabin as we drove on a road that parallels the MacDonnell Ranges.

*[Photo 1: View of MacDonnell Ranges from Namatjira Drive © L.M. Kling 2013]

Nearing the intersection of Namatjira Drive from the unknown track, Dad turned to Mr. B. ‘Ellery Creek? Or Serpentine?’

Mr. B gazed at the mountain range and pointed. ‘Ellery Creek. You did say it’s like the local’s swimming pool.’

‘There’s many interesting gorges and creeks in these hills to explore,’ Dad said. ‘We won’t be staying at any for too long.’

*[Photos 2 & 3: Gorges Dad dreams of visiting again and again: Ormiston (2), Glen Helen (3) © C.D. Trudinger 1977]

2. Ormiston Gorge
3. Glen Helen

Mr. B frowned. ‘Just long enough to take a few snaps like the tourists, I expect.’

‘You sure you don’t want to start at Serpentine to our right? We could hike up while the morning’s still cool.’

‘What morning? It’s already past noon.’ Mr. B flicked his map flat. ‘Ellery Creek, I say, for lunch.’

Dad sighed, ‘Very well, then, Ellery Creek.’

Ellery Creek

After lumbering along the wider but corrugated road, Dad turned into the barely discernable trail that led to Ellery Creek. After entering the clearing for parking, we hunted for a car park. Not an easy feat as the car park was full; even the spaces in between swarmed with tourists.

Dad squeezed the Rover into what seemed the last remaining gap, and the T-Team piled out.

*[Photo 4, & 5 Aspects of Ellery Creek © L.M. Kling 2013]

4. Trees of Ellery Creek

5. Ellery Creek Big Hole

*[Photo 6: Recent visit to Ellery Creek © L.M. Kling 2021]

‘It’s like Glenelg beach,’ I said, ‘it’s stuffed full.’

Richard looked at the offering of water; a disappointing dam at the end of a sandy bank. ‘There’s more sand and water at Glenelg.’

‘As many people, though,’ I replied.

Matt sniggered.

Mr. B stomped past us and with elbows akimbo he stopped at the water’s edge. ‘Is this it?’

Dad joined his friend. ‘I warned you.’

So, with obligatory photos taken while dodging the crowds, we made our way to Serpentine Gorge.

*[Photo 7: Said obligatory photo of T-Team with guides at Ellery Creek © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1977]

As he turned the Rover left so heading east towards Alice Springs, Dad smiled. Mr. B pouted and folded the map. He insisted we have lunch before we start on the hike up the gorge. Dad went one better announcing that, since it was Sunday, we’d have lunch AND a Sunday Service.

Mr. B’s response was to shake his head and mumble something not-so-polite into his red dust-stained handkerchief.

Serpentine Gorge

Less populated, Serpentine Gorge begged to be explored. Our Indigenous guides were not interested in joining us, so we bravely set off on our own adventure. To get to the narrowest part of the gorge, we had to cross a deep pool of water on our air mattresses and then walk along a rocky creek barefoot. We had forgotten to bring our shoes. Not that it concerned the men, they raced ahead leaving me behind hobbling on tender feet over sharp stones.

*[Photo 8: Later lilo exploits © C.D. Trudinger 1986]

Then, disaster. Mud and slime replaced jagged rocks. In the shadows of gorge, I trotted on the path near creek. My heel struck a slippery puddle lurking by a pool of sludge. Next, I skated, feet flew from under me, and I landed bottom-first in the murky depths of the Serpentine Creek.

*[Photo 9: That special part of Serpentine Gorge at that special time of day © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

I pulled myself from the rock-hole, my clothes caked in mud and stinking of slime.

Dad jogged up to me, his barefoot steps slapping, the sound bouncing off the slate walls that lined the gorge.

‘What do you mean special part of the gorge?’ I snapped at Dad. ‘It’s not so special to me. It’s too dark, and I’m just too uncomfortable.’

*[Photo 10: Not so special to me © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1977]

‘Ah, well,’ Dad sighed. ‘We better get back to the Rover. We need to find camp before it’s dark.’

As we hobbled back in the fading light, I mumbled, ‘Sure it’s not dark already?’

Other Gorges for Another Day

Dad endeavoured to distract me from my discomfort with descriptions of the many other gorges in the MacDonnell Ranges and tales of adventures exploring them. His stories whetted my appetite to view these wonders myself one day, on this trip, or perhaps in future journeys to Central Australia.

*[Photo 11 & 12: Other Gorges to look forward to. Redbank (11) Ormiston (12) © C.D. Trudinger circa 1950]

11. Redbank
12. Ormiston

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2019; updated 2022

*Feature Photo: Ellery Creek Big Hole © L.M. Kling 2021

***

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T-Team Series–Palm Valley

It’s been a rough weekend. Storm, been called a mini cyclone, struck Adelaide Saturday afternoon, slaying trees all over the city and the hills, and tearing down powerlines. 100000 people were affected with no power to their homes, and even today, some are still without power.

We were without power for 24-hours, so work on the computer has been delayed. Managed to get some painting done, though.

Memories of the T-Team’s adventures without all the modern-day luxuries surface, and how we coped way back in 1977…

[Extract from The T-Team with Mr B: Central Australia 1977, a prequel to Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981.]

The T-Team with Mr B (24)

Lost in Palm Valley

Our truck lumbered over the designated four-wheel drive track-come-dry Finke Riverbed to Palm Valley.

*[Photo 1: Dry river of the Finke © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955]

Dad turned to Mr. B and chuckled. ‘How would you like to sleep on this riverbed?’

Mr. B pouted, folded his arms and looked out the window.

We continued to bump over the rocks and sand where two-wheel drive vehicles fear to tread. Dad recalled his days travelling by donkey along this same track when he explored Palm Valley with his Arunda students.

*[Photo 2: Those were the days when only donkeys trekked the path to Palm Valley © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955]

‘O-oh!’ Dad uttered as the Rover’s underside scraped over some boulders. When our vehicle continued to move, though slowly, we all sighed with relief.

‘O-oh!’ Dad gritted his teeth and sucked air through the gaps in them. The Rover jolted to a stop. The engine screamed. The body rocked. The wheels spun. ‘O-oh! I think we’re bogged.’

Mr. B groaned, ‘I hope that doesn’t mean we’re sleeping on this god-forsaken creek tonight.’

‘Okay—oh, better put it into four-wheel drive. Now, for one more try.’

Dad readjusted the grip of his fingers on the steering-wheel and pressed his foot on the accelerator. The Rover leapt out of the bog-hole.

‘Good thing you remembered that the Land Rover has four-wheel drive,’ Mr. B muttered.

We crawled along the creek bed for a few more minutes, until confronted with formidable boulders where we were forced to stop. Dad reckoned we were a mile or two from the valley, so we had to hike the rest of the way.

Rick raced ahead. As was his habit, he lost us.

*[Photo 3: Palm Valley with me © C.D. Trudinger 1977]

We entered the land that time had misplaced, forgotten and then found preserved in this valley. Lofty palms swayed in the breeze. Fronds of green glittered in the sun while their shadows formed graceful shapes on the iron-red cliffs. Here a cycad, spouting from the rocks, there a ghost gum jutting from those same deep red walls. This sanctuary for ancient prehistoric palms, which had existed there since the dawn of time, distracted us from my errant brother. We trundled over the stone smoothed by the running of water several millennia ago, admired the mirror reflections in the remaining pools, and breathed in the tranquility.

*[Photo 4: Mirror reflection © C.D. Trudinger 1977]

Then, as if the ancient palm spell was broken, a frown descended on Dad’s face. He stood up, tapped his pockets checking to feel if his keys and small change still existed, and then marched down the valley. When he’d disappeared into a gathering of palms, I asked Mr. B, ‘What’s my dad doing?’

‘I think he’s looking for your brother,’ Mr. B replied. ‘He seems to have a habit of getting lost.’

Matt, Mr. B’s son sniggered.

*[Photo 5: Wiggly Palm © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955]

Still in the zone of swoon, I sat beside the billabong in the shade of the palm trees and changed my film. Then I stretched, and leaving Mr. B and Matt to their rest, I ambled along the stone-paved bed looking for Dad. Again, time lost relevance in the beauty and wonder of the palms: tall skinny ones, wiggly ones, short ones, clustered ones and alone ones.

*[Photo 6: Pa peaceful amongst the palms © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1977]

I found Dad, but there was no sign of my brother. The sun had edged over the western walls of the valley casting a golden-orange glow over the opposing cliffs.

Dad huffed and puffed. ‘It’s getting late. I s’pose Rick has gone back to the Rover.’

‘Better head back, then,’ I said.

On the way, we collected Mr. B and son. They had not seen my AWOL brother either.

*[Photo 7: Sunset on the cliffs of Palm Valley © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955]

We waited back at the car for Rick. Dad’s concern turned to annoyance, then frustration. Dad had plans for a picnic, but as the sun sank lower, his well laid plans were becoming remote. Dad paced the sand, hands on hips, and muttering discontentedly. Trust my brother to spoil a perfect place and time for a picnic tea. The idea of proceeding with the picnic without Rick did not occur to Dad. I guess the thought that some peril had befallen him had sabotaged any appetite. Dad nervously tapped his right pocket; at least his keys hadn’t gone AWOL.

Every few minutes Dad paused in his pacing. ‘Ah—well!’ he’d say. Then sucking the warm air between his gritted teeth, he’d resume pacing.

An hour passed as we watched Dad track back and forth across the clearing.

*[Photo 8: Memories of a ghost gum © C.D. Trudinger 1977]

‘I swear you’ve made a groove there in the sand,’ Mr. B said.

Dad halted and narrowed his eyes at Mr. B.

I peered at the sand, straining my vision to pick out the path Dad had created.

A branch cracked. Footsteps, thudded. Distant. Then closer…louder.

Dad turned. All of us in the clearing froze and we fixed our gaze on the path leading to Palm Valley. The prodigal son stumbled into the clearing.

[Photo 9: Waiting for the prodigal son—view amongst the palms © C.D. Trudinger 1977]

Contrary to the parable, Dad snapped, ‘We were going to have a picnic tea. But it is 5 o’clock, now. We have to get going!’

So, with less than an hour before darkness descended, we navigated the bumpy Finke River ride, and Dad’s grumpy mood, back to Hermannsburg.

After tea, Dad recovered from the grumps as we played card games; first “Pig”, followed by “Switch”.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2019; updated 2022

Feature Photo: Palm Valley © C.D. Trudinger 1981

***

Dreaming of an Aussie Outback Adventure?

Click the link below:

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981,

And escape in time and space to Centre of Australia 1981…

Monday Musings–Good Intentions

GOOD INTENTIONS

We all have our ideas how the world should run. We think we know what’s best, what’s good, and what will work. If only everyone would follow our advice, the world would be a paradise.

When I was twelve, my parents thought it best I go to a new school for my last year at primary school. That school was a feeder school to the secondary school they planned to send me.

*[Photo 1: Full of hope of a new adventure © M.E. Trudinger 1975]

‘You’ll make some friends who’ll be there for you when you go to high school,’ they said.

Good intentions; a sound plan for transition…

Their plans just didn’t work out as they intended.

Two weeks into first term at that new school, I realised I’d connected with nobody. The girls in my class had formed their tight-knit friendship groups way back in Year 1, so I had no friend-prospects.

At recess, I sat alone Indian-style on the grass under a tree. Never mind, I thought, my books are my friends. I’ll read out the year. I opened my latest novel. Besides, I have plenty of friends outside of this school.

For the next few days nobody and my books kept me company at recess and lunch. What better way of dealing with loneliness of an hour by entering another world and the characters there. No different from the previous year at my old school when I ignored my friends in preference to researching dinosaurs and aliens in outer space.

*[Photo 2: One of my books, the Lost World of the Wends © L.M. Kling 2021]

Then the good intentions of the teachers came into play. The new Year 7 girl reading her books every break? Oh, no! We can’t have that! She must socialise.

So, with good intentions, the teachers denied me the joy and escape of reading. They forced me to play with my peers.

However, my peers, comfortable with their set, didn’t appreciate the teacher’s good intentions. As I followed one group into the girls’ toilets, the leader spoke up. ‘Nothing personal, but stop shadowing us.’

Fine then. I wiped the tears stinging the corners of my eyes and bit my lip. Sorry for upsetting your perfect little life. I’ll go find someone else to be my friend.

Soon after, I teamed up with a Year 6 girl. She sat on her own at lunch. I’d been kicked off the bench by the other cohort of Year 7 girls because I liked cheese and gherkin sandwiches. Rather than making a big deal of the excommunication, I wandered over to the Year 6 girl and sat beside her. She didn’t mind my choice of lunch.

*[Photo 3: Happiness is a friend, Poatina Tasmania © L.M. Kling 2010]

For the next week, we enjoyed each other’s company. We played on the monkey bars and joined others in her class playing four-square (a type of hand-tennis). For five days, my cliquey peers were happy, the teachers were happy, and I was happy. I’d found a friend.

But good things were not meant to last at this new school. The beginning of March, and just a hint of an autumn-south-westerly breezed through the classroom porches. I kicked off my shoes, pulled on my scuffs (major rule: no shoes inside the classroom), and lined up ready to enter class. The Year 6 teacher sought me out and took me aside. ‘You aren’t allowed to play with Year 6 students,’ they said. ‘It’s against the school rules.’

*[Photo 4: Beginnings of autumn © L.M. Kling 2021]

The school with good intentions had a rule: Students must only mix with students the same age as them and from their class.

So again, good intentions forced me out on my own again. I rode home that day, tears streaming down my face. I failed to understand. The injustice of it. They want me to socialise and then thwart every effort for me to do so, with all their damn rules.

With good intentions, the next day, Mum marched into the office and spoke to my teacher. With good intentions, my teacher reprimanded the girls in my class.

Made no difference. My peers wanted no part of those good intentions. And they didn’t like being told off. Not one bit. I paid for those good intentions right through secondary school, actually.

I considered making friends with some boys in my class. But after one day sitting at a table in class with them, I figured that making friends with the boys in my class wasn’t an option. Probably a rule about that too. After all, our teacher gave us a lecture on the evils of wearing bikinis…so…

[Photo 5: Beware, the bikini…modesty at Moana © R. Trudinger 1982]

For the rest of that year, I became very good at keeping out of the supervising teacher’s gaze at lunchtime and pretending to play with my peers while making sure I didn’t appear to be “shadowing” them. The bullies helped this charade by “shadowing” me. Not that I appreciated their efforts at the time. As the year wore on, I managed some illicit liaisons with my books behind the bushes, when the teachers weren’t looking.

My mum carried the burden of guilt from her good intentions of the year I lived friendlessly. But she needn’t be. My parents’ intentions were good. Though I suffered, these challenges were good for me. I learnt to persevere. I learnt that being alone doesn’t mean that I must be lonely. God was and is with me. I learnt not to quit. In short, I developed character. Besides, this school inspired me to learn the Japanese language, setting me on my future career path teaching the Japanese language, as well as travelling in Japan. And most of all, I learnt to see the kids sitting on their own and be their friend.

[Photo 6: Tokeiji, Japan © L.M. Kling 1984]

Yes, good intentions may not work out as we intended, but God can turn around our struggles, and our failures, with His best intentions for us.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”—Romans 8:28

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2022

*Feature Photo: Alone, in Japan © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 1985

***

Read the stories inspired by the year of living friendlessly…

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The Lost World of the Wends

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My Cover Journey

The Hitch-hiker, Last Day Free

[An excerpt…]

More silence as the Kombi trundled along Main North Road. Was this the trend for the road trip? Long awkward silences. Two brothers sitting side by side, itching to punch each other. Liesel itched to lay hands on Fox who squashed himself against the car door. And Minna opposite Günter, tried not to make too many calf-eyes at him, as well as trying her best to not nibble her nails. Was this what grown-up young people do for fun? Where was the excitement? The pillow fights? The Coca-Cola? Things go better with Coke, so the commercials say. And things in this mobile can did require better going.

A man dressed in brown walked on the roadside. He hunched over and stuck out his thumb.

Fox slowed down the van. ‘Oh, a hitch-hiker. Why don’t we pick him up?’

‘Are you crazy? No way!’ Liesel batted his arm.

Fox eased the Kombi to a stop. ‘He looks like he needs a lift. What the heck.’

‘What’re you doing?’ Liesel raised her tone.

But Fox continued to pull over to the side of the road.

[Read the whole story.

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© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2015; updated 2022

Take a Free Horror Ride: A Halloween Special

THE HITCH-HIKER

[An Extract]

Johann glanced back at the bug of the man settled on the tucker box. ‘Cup? You want a cup? Be my guest, they’re in the tucker box, I think.’

I sidestepped that idea and ran to the Kombi. The coke bottle, I’d use the coke bottle.

After emptying out the icky liquid, I raced to the other side of the van. I reached as far as I could on tippy toes. No use. I was just too short. I jumped. I tried climbing up the roof rack. Failed. No footholds to launch me up. I slumped on the edge of the road and cried. No one cared that we were in danger. Liesel had given up without even trying. She didn’t care. And worse, I didn’t matter. Me, a nobody. Thirsty and no one bothered to give me a drink. Aware that I was all alone, I sniffed. Nothing could make me happy, not even the smell of kangaroo steak wafting under my nose.

‘Oh, little girl, why so sad?’

I looked up to see Boris in his grey skirt towering over me. I was sick to the stomach, like I had eaten a cocktail of worms and cockroaches.

‘What is wrong my pet?’ he asked.

I shuddered but refused to answer.

‘Maybe I can help you.’

For a price, I thought.

‘Just tell me what you want more than anything in the whole wide world.’

I glared at him. Over my dead body. What is this man?

Tears blurred my view.

He extended an arm to me. ‘Anything, anything at all.’ his arm seemed so skinny; more like a tentacle than a limb.

I rubbed my eyes.

It crouched beside me. ‘Come on, you can tell me. You can trust me. I can grant you anything, any wish you have.’

I blinked.

Beside me perched a man-size cockroach. Its oily armour glistened in the golden rays of the risen sun.

‘I don’t think I need anything, Sir.’ I tried to stay cool and resisted the urge to recoil.

Its antennae twitched. ‘Anything. Just say the word. Your wish is my command.’

‘I want you to leave me alone,’ I said. All thoughts of thirst evaporated.

Its beady eyes bored through me into my soul trying to suck out all my goodness, my life. ‘My dear girl, I’d beg you to reconsider. With the gifts you possess, the universe is your oyster—if you follow me.’

I gulped. A cold breeze cut through me and as if I’d faced death itself; the Grim Reaper. I pushed myself up, and staggered from it. ‘No thanks, I’ll have none of what you offer.’

It reached out a spiny hand. ‘But you’ll—’

‘None at all.’ I dropped the bottle, and bolted to the campsite.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2015

Photo: Night Drama Flinders Ranges © Lee-Anne Marie Kling © 2000

***

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Story Behind the Art–Cradle Mountain

[One week remaining of our MAG exhibition at Brighton Central Shopping Centre. So far, a most successful time. Our artists have sold over 56 works and counting.]

Heavenly Hike Around Dove Lake

The pinnacle of the K-T-Y’s (K-Team, the Younger) road trip around Tasmania was Cradle Mountain. I might add here that we’d abandoned my husband (Hubby)in Poatina on a Christian Leaders Training course, while I chauffeured the younger members of our family to the scenic sights in the Central Highlands and East Coast.

So, Sunday January 18, 2009, with Cradle Mountain National Park our goal, we drove the hills, dales, twists and turns. And we fended off near-misses with drivers who apparently didn’t know which side of the road they were meant to be on.

[Photo 1: Our goal to view, Cradle Mountain © L.M. Kling 2009]

Before entering the National Park, we had to buy The Pass. And the K-Team kids took the opportunity to have some lunch at the café in the Visitors’ Centre.

Then another wait on the sealed but narrow road. We watched the procession of cars squeeze past us as they exited the park. The boom gate took what seemed an eternity to rise. I reminded my “lambs” that good things come to those who wait. However, the only positive my 15-year-old Son 2 could muster was more atheistic zeal to preach to his captive audience.

Finally, the boom gate rose, and I ferried the K-Team Young’uns to a highly sought-after carpark. We piled out of the car, sorted out backpacks, and with the sun warming our backs, commenced the hike around Dove Lake. At first, I had to drag a reluctant Son 2 to join us on this adventure, but soon, wooed by the brilliant scenery, he raced ahead to catch up to his older brother.

This time we hiked the opposite way around the lake from the way we did in 2001. Following the well-trodden path, a small lake emerged.

[Photo 2: Small Lake © L.M. Kling 2009]

‘Is this Dove Lake?’ Son 1 asked.

‘I don’t think so,’ I replied. ‘I remember it being bigger than this.’

A sign designated to the pond, confirmed that it wasn’t Dove Lake.

A little further on, we reached the boat house and Cradle Mountain framing the view of Dove Lake. On the shore of pebbles and sand, a photographer perched near his sturdy tripod and SLR camera with telescopic lens, while his wife, long-suffering, sat under a beach umbrella enjoying a novel.

[Photo 3: Boat House, Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain © L.M. Kling 2009]

We continued our trek around the lake. Son 2 ceased his drone about the meaninglessness of life, while Son 1 captured the beauty on the little digital camera I had lent him.

We marvelled at the sun sparkling diamonds on ripples of water.

[Photo 4: Diamonds on the water © L.M. Kling 2009]

I explained that the tannin from the button grass in the highlands caused the rivers to run the colour of tea.

[Photo 5: Rivers of tea-coloured water © L.M. Kling 2009]

A cheeky currawong amused the boys.

[Photo 6: Cheeky currawong © L.M. Kling 2009]

Every few steps, I stopped and took yet more photos of the lake and the mountain towering above.

7.
8.
9.
[Photos 7, 8 & 9: Views along the way: Cradle Mountain (7), Roots (8), and Flower (9) © L.M. Kling 2009]

Even so, time stood still…

Within an hour, the K-T-Y had reached the halfway mark. What a difference eight years make! What took more than two hours in 2001, half the time this time.

[10. Halfway © L.M. Kling 2009]

More magical drifting. See, I wasn’t hiking; the path was easy, the views spectacular. My film camera took over.

Tea-stained ripples by the shore.

[Photo 10: Ripples on shore © L.M. Kling 2009]

The knotted trunks of the emerging rainforest.

[Photo 11: Rainforest edge © L.M. Kling 2009]

‘I’m in camera-heaven!’ I sighed as I caught up to Son 1 who was also clicking away on his camera.

The deep blue of Dove Lake dazzled us.

[Photo 12: Deep blue water © L.M. Kling 2009]

Further on, a passing parade of hikers lead by a tour-guide directed my view to Cradle Mountain through a tangle of vegetation.

13.
14.
[Photo 13 & 14: Cradle Mountain Framed by forest © L.M. Kling 2009]

Then Dove Lake again framed by twisted and thirsty trees.

[Photo 15: Dove Lake framed © L.M. Kling 2009]

A couple approached us. ‘How far?’

I looked at my watch. ‘I don’t know, but we’ve been walking about an hour and a half, so, at least that.’

‘Hmmm, we’ve only just begun,’ the man said and then passed us.

My sons raced ahead, eager with the end of the hike in sight.

[Photo 16: Thirsty Bushes © L.M. Kling 2009]

Dove Lake winked through the trees. Yes, our hike was almost done.

[Photo 17: Almost there © L.M. Kling 2009]

I caught up to the K-young’uns. ‘Took us two hours this time.’

‘Dad’ll never believe us,’ Son 1 said.

[Photo 18: Days end at Deloraine © L.M. Kling 2009]

Over a hotel dinner at Deloraine, the result of the boys needing a “dunny stop” and me not wanting to cook tea that night, we reminisced the tale of two Cradle Mountain trips. And Son 2 had to admit that the hike around Dove Lake this time was not bad. And maybe, just maybe, there was a God who created this amazing world.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2019; updated 2022

Feature Painting (watercolour): Classic Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake (minus the tangle of forest) © L.M. Kling 2009]

NB. This painting of mine is available as an unframed painting at our MAG exhibition at Brighton Central, until October 30, 2022.

***

Want more but too expensive to travel down under? Why not take a virtual travel with the T-Team Adventures in Australia?

Click here on Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981…

And escape in time and space to Central Australia 1981…

Story Behind the Painting–Northern Flinders

Skint at Arkaroola

[This time, some of the T-K Team step back in time into the Mt. Painter Sanctuary, Northern Flinders Ranges, South Australia; a land offering a glimpse of prehistory…]

Late 1980’s, and my husband and I planned a honeymoon stay in Arkaroola, the town within the Mt. Painter sanctuary, Northern Flinders Ranges. When we arrived, we rolled up to the motel and presented our VISA card for payment.

[Photo 1: Approaching Mt. Painter Sanctuary, Northern Flinders Ranges © L.M. Kling 1987]

‘Oh, I’m so sorry,’ said the manager, ‘we don’t take VISA. Only MasterCard.’

‘What?’ But we were counting on our VISA to cover the costs.

We scraped together the cash amount for the three-nights of accommodation and emptied our wallets of all but a few notes. Romantic dinners in the restaurant, off our menu. The longed-for Ridge-Top Tour, off our track. Then cold hard panic struck, how were we to pay for petrol when we returned to Adelaide? The amount in our tank, Dad’s four-wheel-drive vehicle that he loaned us for the holiday, may not last the journey back to Hawker. All because the town in which we chose to spend our honeymoon, was so remote, they did not deal in VISA.

[Photo 2: Cornflakes for breakfast © L.M. Kling 1987]

We sat on our motel bed and counted our measly amount of cash. What were we going to do? It’s not like I hadn’t gone without before—on the T-Team with my Dad. Being like-minded and frugal, we dealt with the disappointment, and decided we’d cook our own meals using the barbecue facilities and not venture too far from the town. Besides, there were plenty of places to which we could hike.

[Photo 3: Hiking up Radium Creek searching for titanite © L.M. Kling 1987]

I took a deep breath and picked up the book our pastor had given us as a wedding gift. Inside the front cover I discovered an envelope. ‘I wonder what this says,’ I said to my husband.

I took out the card and opened it. An orange-coloured note fluttered onto the floor. I picked it up. ‘Hey, look! Twenty dollars.’ I waved the note in my husband’s face. ‘Twenty dollars! Pastor must’ve known we’d need the money.’

‘I think God did,’ my husband said. ‘Twenty dollars makes all the difference.’

‘Can we do the Ridge-Top Tour?’

‘Um, perhaps not that much difference.’

‘Dinner at the restaurant?’

‘Maybe, but we still need to watch our spending.’

I sighed. ‘I know.’

[Photo 4: Dinnertime Hill © L.M. Kling 1987]
[Photo 5: Towards sunset on Mt Painter Sanctuary mountains © L.M. Kling 1987]

In the restaurant, and eating the cheapest meal offered, I spied a photo adorning the wall behind my beloved. A waterhole with red cliffs on one side and cool but majestic eucalypt trees on the other side. ‘Echo Camp,’ I read. ‘I want to go there.’

‘Hmm, not sure, if we have to drive far.’

‘Oh, please.’

‘We’ll see.’

[Photo 6: Radium Creek © L.M. Kling 1987]
[Photo 7: Nooldoonooldoona © L.M. Kling 1987]

A couple of days passed, and we’d exhausted all the nearby scenic sites to which we could hike. We decided to drive up the road, but not too far.

I spotted a sign to Echo Camp, and not-too-many kilometres off the “main” road. My husband noted that the track was only for “authorised” vehicles.

‘That’s not fair,’ I said. ‘They shouldn’t tempt us with scenic places like that in the restaurant and then deny us because we’re not “authorised”.’

[Painting 1: Track to Echo Camp © L.M. Kling 1987]

He who was driving, turned into the track. ‘You’re quite right. Ready for some adventure?’

‘Okay, well, it says Echo Camp’s only a few kilometres down the track.’

My husband drove up and down the track. It soon became obvious why the track was meant for “authorised” vehicles. But we were committed, and the track became so narrow, with one side rocky cliffs and the other sheer drops, we had no choice but to lurch forward, upward, downward, sideways and every-which-way. While I clutched the bar on the dashboard, my husband had fun, relishing the roller-coaster ride to Echo Camp.

We reached a relatively flat area where we parked our four-wheel drive vehicle. The Painter Sanctuary mountains rose and dipped like waves before us. A feast for the eyes with shades of sienna, blue and mauve. I captured this beauty with my Nikon film camera.

[Painting 2: Vista of the Sanctuary © L.M. Kling 2019]

‘By the way, where’s Echo Camp from here?’ I asked.

‘Just around the corner, I think.’

‘How many kilometres have we travelled?’

‘More than the sign said, but it can’t be far.’

‘I get the feeling we missed it on the way here.’

My husband nodded. ‘I think we did. There was a fork back there, but I wasn’t sure. And the angle was too sharp to turn down.’

‘Better check out that track.’

[Photo 8: Sun fast sinking on secret sanctuary © L.M. Kling 1987]

We back tracked and found the way leading to Echo Camp. By this time, the sun hung low in the sky, so our time savouring Echo Camp was limited to no more than half an hour, wandering near the rock pool, taking photos, and enjoying the peace and silence of this land untouched by civilisation, and reserved for the “authorised” apparently.

Aspects of Echo Camp

[Photo 9: Our trusty Daihatsu Four-wheel drive © L.M. Kling 1987]
[Photo 10: Reflections in the billabong © L.M. Kling 1987]
[Photo 11: Echo Camp © L.M. Kling 1987]

Then, after braving the roller-coaster road again, we crept out from the contraband track, and back into town.

[Painting 3: Echo Camp © L.M. Kling 1990]

***

My most recent painting of Arkaroola landscape, Dinnertime Northern Flinders is for sale at the Marion Art Group exhibition at Brighton Central. You can also check out my work on the Gallery 247 website.

Marion Art Group’s exhibition (first in three years) is to be held from Monday October 17 to Sunday October 30, Brighton Central, 525 Brighton Road, Brighton, South Australia.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2019; 2022

Feature Painting: Dinnertime Northern Flinders Ranges © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2018

***

Want more but too expensive to travel down under? Why not take a virtual travel with the T-Team Adventures in Australia?

Click here on Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981…

And escape in time and space to Central Australia 1981…

Story Behind the Art–Cockling at Goolwa

[After a three-year hiatus between exhibitions, Marion Art Group will hold an exhibition at Brighton central shopping Centre (Brighton Road, South Brighton) from October 17-30, 2022.  One of my artworks to be displayed, Cockling at Goolwa in Pastel revisits the K-Team’s journey down “memory” highway, 100-kilometres south of Adelaide to Goolwa Beach on the far-flung edges of the Fleurieu Peninsula. Remembering our time with friends 20-years ago searching for cockle shells in the sand.]

Cockling at Goolwa

A picture, they say, tells a thousand words. So, what is Cockling at Goolwa’s story? How can the simple heel-toe dance of “cocklers” (people who dig for cockle shells), their feet sinking in soggy sand of the in-coming tide, in the flux of early summer warmth, on a remote beach south of Adelaide tell us? What story worth a thousand words? What was it about this scene that attracted me to capture it? First in photo and then several years later, on canvas in acrylic, and recently in pastel.

*[Photo 1: Cockling at Goolwa © L.M. Kling 2002]

I think the water reflecting the sky, all silver, the people on the wet sand, a mirror, swaying and twisting for cockles captured my attention. I’d been there, on the glassy surface, watching for bubbles, grinding my heel into the bog, feeling for the sharp edges of shell and plucking out the cockles that snapped shut when exposed to air.

*[Photo 2: Dad Digging for the cockle © L.M. Kling 2002]

I was there, but then I watched. Mothers, fathers, and children lost in the moment of twisting and hunting and collecting cockles.

*[Photo 3: Lost in the moment © L.M. Kling 2002]

‘What will you do with all those cockles?’ I asked.

‘They’re for fishing,’ one of our friends said. ‘Bait for fish.’

‘Hopefully, we’ll catch a few fish and have them for dinner tonight,’ another said.

I imagined fish, fresh from the sea, thrown on the barbeque and the cockle bait inside them buried once again in our stomachs. We continued digging for cockles…family and friends, one with the ancient, outside time—nothing else matters but the cockles.

*[Photo 4: Goolwa beach Lost in time © L.M. Kling 2002

]

Goolwa, if I remember, has mounds of spent shells in the sand hills, monuments to generations upon generations of Indigenous Australians, their open-air kitchens and meals. Did they perform the same ritual, on the same patch of wet sand, delving for cockles to fry on their fires? A quick perusal of Google reveals they used nets to collect cockles and catch fish. They then cooked the cockles on a campfire.

*[Photo 5: Goolwa beach sunset © L.M. Kling 2002]

We are here, they are gone, but their spirit of history lingers, reminding us, though we seem different, we are the same. We are digging, dancing and delving for our dinner. We are still, in the moment, alone in our thoughts in a forgotten corner of the world, unknown by the world, yet one with this country’s past. And God knows each one of us—each part of us, even the unknown parts of ourselves and our secrets.

*[Photo 6: Divine painting of sky and sea © L.M. Kling 2002]

What if I shared a little secret—an artist’s secret? Okay, I’ll tell you. I painted this picture in less than two hours. Now, that I’ve told you, would the painting be worth less to you? Must time be equated with worth? Sometimes I do take hours upon hours, layers upon layers, and more hours planning to get the work right. But not Cockling at Goolwa.

*[Photo 7: The natural child © L.M. Kling 2002]

I love the beginning of a painting; laying the foundation, engaging my inner-natural child, the paint flowing from a thick brush on a damp canvas, colours blending, mixing as I go. One side of the brush crimson, the other blue and a dab of white. Sienna somewhere there in the foreground shadowing the sand. Mid-yellow added incrementally to shroud the distance in light grey for perspective. Then just a hint of heads of land jutting out halfway across the horizon with a suggestion of ultramarine in the grey. So simple, and sometimes, like with Cockling at Goolwa, the scene emerged before my eyes. In the world of artists, I believe the term “magic brush” or “magic hand” has been used. Um, trade secret, so don’t go spreading it around.

So, there you have it, in less than an hour, surf, sand, sky and tones in all the right places.

*[Photo 8: Boogie-board Surfing at Goolwa beach © L.M. Kling 2002]

Now for the people, the twisting, turning people, their feet in the boggy sand. How do I paint them? I had a break and drank a cup of tea. I remember not all the children hunted for cockles. Some kids body-surfed in the shallows, some played cricket and one little boy with a wish to be hunted, or to be warm, buried all his body except his head in the sand. I found him and he broke out of his sand-grave, the sand zombie.

*[Photo 9: Sand-zombie © L.M. Kling 2002]

‘Don’t go tracking your sandy footprints into the shack,’ I said.

He washed himself off in the surf, then sat wrapped in a towel and shivering in the sun while watching the cockle hunt.

All the while the “cocklers” cockled for cockle shells. Soon the boy joined the hunt for cockles.

Then when the paint was dry, I plotted the people in with pencil and then painted them in with a finer brush.

‘I like that painting,’ a fellow member of the art group said. ‘Don’t do another thing to it. Don’t even frame it. I’ll buy it as it is. How much do you want for it?’

Paint barely dry, I took the work home, signed it and then the next week at our Christmas lunch, I delivered Cockling at Goolwa to them. The buyer showed the work to others at their table and all admired it.

[Photo 10: Watching the cocklers © L.M. Kling 2002]
 

What made another person connect with Cockling at Goolwa? For this person, their son and family spent many summer holidays at Goolwa, doing just that, cockling. Time out, out of time, unwinding, relaxing, happy times, happy memories, captured on canvas…in less than two hours. And I must admit, the story is slightly less than one thousand words.

But, perhaps as you look at the copy of Cockling at Goolwa, you may have a story of your own about the painting. Maybe a painting’s story is not just one person’s story, but stories from many people, one thousand words, or more…

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2019; updated 2022

*Feature Painting: Cockling at Goolwa in Pastel © L.M. Kling 2022

***

Longing for more travel adventures?

Dreaming of exploring Australia?

Read the T-Team’s Aussie adventures, click on the link below:

Trekking the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981