Life is incredibly busy some days, juggling work, home and writing commitments. The year flies by in a whirl of activity, and before you know it, another Christmas is coming up fast. So, when was the last time you stopped to smell the roses? The last time you made a conscious choice to take the scenic route.
I love Australian history, and we’re just back from a weekend exploring Warwick and surrounds. First we visited Pringle Cottage Historical Museum, a collection of historic buildings filled with a fascinating snapshot of life in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s. We poked around for hours.
Then we boarded the steam train for a leasurely trip from Warwick to Wallangarra. Now I remember this trip by car as a child. It seemed to take forever, as the old highway went through every village on the way. Nowadays, the new road bypasses these historic towns, and travel time is around 80 minutes. A boring 80 minutes with nothing to see.
The train takes the scenic route – over bridges built of sandstone 100 years ago, past dams built to provide water for the steam, through tunnels built by hand, and across some of the most picturesque country the Southern Downs has to offer. A magical day, made better by the support of the local community. Farmers stopped to wave, people in cars pulled over to take photos, truck drivers blew their horn. All of them touched by a little piece of local history, running again because somebody had a dream.
We met people who’d worked on the railway fifty years ago and wanted to see the restored train first-hand. And passionate volunteers, who restore carriages in their spare time. Passenger attendants, train drivers and fire-fighters, all of whom give their time to keep the train running. The hustle and bustle of the city was temporarily forgotten as we enjoyed their hospitality. And then there were the train-spotters. People who drove the route with us to get photos – there were at least five different cars who shadowed us all the way.
The train was great, the scenery was fabulous, but for me the best part of the day was sharing it with like-minded people who wanted to take the scenic route.