Christmas in July

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July 17th 2009
Published: December 13th 2017
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Geo: -33.714, 150.312

Decided to try Yulefest which is a cute idea as its winter here. So did a bit of research and accomodation in Katoomba is a stupid price - so yule rip off then but still want to go- but the other towns are too small and we wanted to have a few scoops so don't want to be driving at night. As it turned out I was 6 weeks pregnant by then so no scoops for me but I don't have a licence so no driving either!

So where there's will there's a way, had an ingenious idea of - wait for it - stay somewhere cheaper like a motel. (C wanted to stay at Gearin's but its a hostel so I draw the line there!!)

So 17/18th July 09 would come in at around $302 per room for 2 nights at Three Sisters Motel (gets good review on trip advisor -gets num 2).I rang the 3 sisters to check availability and they did me a deal better than the internet - a std $260 or a king $285 for the 2nights. I took the King. It was grand but a motel is a motel - although they did throw in a breakfast as good as any hotel which I didn't cop on was thrown on the 1st day, d'oh. We arrived latish on the Friday night (as we had work to 6pm) well late for Oz and they rang while we were en route to say they were closing reception but that the key was under the mat at our room door - loved the relaxedness of them. There'd be no danger of getting late night vege food in Katoomba so we had our trusty esky for dinner options but we did call into the mad Gearin's pub so my driver could have night cap & warm ourselves at the fire - who knew a roaring fire would be such a novelty.

Saturday was gorgeous and sunny but cooler than Sydney - wintery sunny ummmm - so we had boots and scaves and hat and glvoes on, yay! Not Europe cold but cool nuf although I didn't really need my coat as well when tromping around the mountains. As we had been to the area before and had seen a good bit of it we decided to do something new and do something very touristy and got the 'Scenic Skyway' glass floor cable car across the valley (good views) which takes you to a tourist hub where theres cafes etc. so we had coffee & muffins there & then we got the 'Scenic World' train with a raiders of lost ark (complete with the music) type 52degree incline drop on 1880s train which is good craic but was not exactly cheap (so word to the wise get combined ticket for the 2 at the start if its an option - it wasn't where we started from (or else I am stupid) so the 2nd queue a bit annoying) and it dropped us off on valley floor from where we did a 3km forest walk past the 'turpentine' tree (why so called?) to the 900 steps that took us back up to Echo point on top of the 3 sisters. So that burnt a few calories!

In the afternoon we hit Katoomba for the bookshops (good 2nd hand bookshop up there - new books very dear as have gst on them unlike home), the record shop & late lunch in a cafe where everything took ages (run by stoner's possibly) and then after a fast siesta we headed for the 6pm start I had booked in the Mountain Heritage Hotel for xmas dinner that night - where it all started apparently when some Irish people suggested to the owner that a Christmas type dinner to go along with its roaring fires would be just the ticket. (Was $135 for dinner but with room for 1 night would be $410 minimum). Offerings see below & had something vege for us hurray.

Yulefest Dinner Package (Saturday nights)<ul><li style="margin-left: 15px; ">Pre-Dinner drink from 6.00 pm in Lounge - CHECK</li><li style="margin-left: 15px; ">Christmas Theming in Jamison Views Restaurant - CHECK</li><li style="margin-left: 15px; ">6 Course Yulefest Dinner -CHECK BUT NOTHING TO WRITE HOME ABOUT - TINY PORTIONS - NO VEG - AND APPARENTLY THE MEAT WAS WOEFUL</li><li style="margin-left: 15px; ">Yulefest Cabaret Show -CHECK BUT NAFF</li><li style="margin-left: 15px; ">Alan Johnson on Piano - REMINDED ME OF THE 'SHOOT ME NOW' IN THE SIMPSONS WHERE IT WAS NEW YEARS EVE 365 DAYS A YEAR</li><li style="margin-left: 15px; ">Special Photo of the night - NOT TRUE</li><li style="margin-left: 15px; ">Special visit from Santa with presents for all - SOME SHITTY CHEAP SWEETS</li><li style="margin-left: 15px; ">After Dinner glass of Port, Mince Pies & Christmas Delights - CHECK</li></ul> Menu we had was<ul><li>STARTER Vegetarian Option - Roast pumpkin, garlic and sage aranchini balls with a saffron and dill aiol</li><li>ENTREE Hearty Pumpkin, wattle seed and wild honey soup, finished with crème friache, basil pistou, a crusty parmesan grissini </li><li>MAINS: Vegetarian Option - Spinach & ricotta dumplings on a garden vegetable and lentil tagine with a preserved lemon gremolata</li><li>DESSERTS: Traditional Christmas pudding drizzled with brandy anglaise, fresh cherries and dollop of double cream OR Mini Pavlova with fresh cream, passion fruit coulis and a winter fruit compote </li></ul>We were seated with 2 other couples, the men were around 40, the women were early 20's, all very nice, one a British couple who just moved over, a cabinet maker (in fact it was his 40th) & a jeweller - very exotic to me actually. And the other a wide boy Londoner recruitment agent who'd been here 10 yrs (no surprise there as all recruitment agents here seem to be barrow boys) and a QLD girlfriend who worked for Qantas. So we had good laugh with them esp. as the cabaret was brutal!

The Brits were staying near us in the 5* so we dropped them home, the other 2 were staying in the more Britty (in our opinion) Leura and expected the cab to be only $10 so we said our farewells around midnight. The English couple texted the next day to say the poor guy whose 40th it was had been violently ill all night!

So suffice to say the Xmas in July part of the weekend was an experience - but not one I'd particularly want to repeat 😊

Next day we did in fact check out Leura as Josaphane's (that's how it is pretentiously spelt) chocolate shop had been recommended to me & was good, stocked up on drinking choc too. And we had nice lunch there in a cafe (definitely not run by stoner's!) while we lingered over the Sunday papers - had been thinking about getting clotted cream tea and scones there which apparently a thing to do (see it is Britty) but apparently it was the wrong time of day (very Aussie).

There's a nice woods at the end the town so we tromped around there and viewed the Jamieson valley from a different angle & took some Frenchies photos for them before heading back to Sydney. Decided to go the scenic way on the 'Bells Line of road' but the road was closed due to an accident which they couldn't bothered to put on the flashing signs they have to update motorists until we were 45 mins into the journey and had to turn back to the Great Western Highway which no surprise was bumper to bumper so instead of 90min journey back it took about 4hrs! Nice. Next time will get the train.

Still like the Bluey's though.


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