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A town named after Alice

04 Apr

Alice Springs at dusk, Northern Territories, Australia

This entire trip started differently. First, we never planned to go to Australia. It just happened because one of us had to work some days in Sydney. Because Australia was not on the radar, I never read about traveling there in spite that I read about of lot of other places I never ended up going. So when it became clear toward the end of March that it would happen, I started frantically to dig in books and sites to plan something on the knees. Besides, because the work schedule in Sydney was very fluid, I had to adapt and move destinations around to fit the best the 2 weeks available for hopping around the continent. Because of the nature of a large and sparsely populated continent I started, for the first time ever, to book in advance hotels, cars and flights. I never do this in advance. I usually do this on the spot on location, each day of the travel and I finally understood through what the people who like to have things planned in life go through. It’s terrifying… Let it flow and it will come smoothly.

Tip: While trying to book various flights we noticed that you could fly on 80K miles from US to Australia on all airlines with tickets bought one day in advance. It does not look that many people go that route.

Major Mitchell cockatoo drinking water

We packed sleeping bags near business suits, a suitcase near backpacks, and we boarded in the middle of, hopefully, the last snowstorm, at JFK the long haul flight with an intended 10 hours stop in LA. After a change of flight in Sydney to Alice Springs, we finally landed in the middle of Australia after about 41 hours.

Wallaby

Alice was the wife of the first superintendent of the telegraph, Charles Todd, and ended up somehow resting her name on the waterhole and eventually to the future town in the middle of nowhere. The town is right in the center of Australia and its existence sprouted from the fact that in 1872 was on the line of newly developed telegraph. The telegraph construction is a local legend, assigned to Charles Todd who was given 18 months to build the line from Darwin in the north to Port Augusta on the southern cost passing through Alice Springs, on terrain that was never explored. I seriously doubt that Verizon could do it even nowadays…
I guess that Todd was as surprised as us to notice how different are the animals and birds here. While walking the 3 km from town to the telegraph post we were surrounded by parrot like birds of different colors, wallabies sitting for photos and dingos, all surrounded like us by lots of annoying flies.

Royal Flying Doctprs Service old control room

Another remarkable feat is the fact that the Australians initiated in 1911 an aviation service to offer medical care for the people living in the outback. It is the famous Royal Flying Doctor Service that operates nowadays a large fleet of planes on a territory larger that the entire Europe. I guess when the doctor came they did not ask for what insurance somebody may have… It’s striking to realize that 100 years after the Aussies offered flying medical services for all these stranded people of the continent the US Congress tries in full force to limit the medical coverage for people.

The sunset is a special show for the town, the glowing sky inviting everybody on top of Anzac Hill. We joined the ceremony and later dragged ourselves to the hotel to hit the bed after 51 hours on the go….

The sunset show on top of Anzac Hill, Alice Springs

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Posted by on April 4, 2018 in Australia, Blog

 

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