11 December 2005

Alice Springs

In 1996 I was in Australia for the first time. At that point my whole image of Australia was a bit warped. I knew they had Kangaroos, a crocodile hunter, a Crocodile Dundee and they were referred to as: "Down Under", blatantly ignoring that this expression should cover a great part of the African continent as well as the South American continent.

I went to the library (my second home back then) to find some more information. I found only three books and this was in a large and very well stocked library.
This is very typical of Australia, everybody knows it's there but outside of Australia it can be difficult to find information about it.
One book was written by a Dane who had driven around most of Australia in the early 70'es in a VW van. It wasn't a bad book but 20+ years is a long time and I assumed (rightly) that Australia would have changed since.
Another book was a history book of Australia and was such a dry read that I suspected that it might have been left in a outback desert baking in the sun for years.
Third book was quite old as well but was a very good and funny read. It's written by Robyn Davidson and is called: "Tracks". It her story about how she moved to Alice Springs, learned how to ride and care for camels and then went alone on a trek from Alice Springs to the Western Australia coast with a bunch of camels.
The Alice Springs she describes is very different today, but it still gives a good description a the isolated town in the middle of Australia. Anybody who likes travel books should give this one a try.

It was very appropriate because I would spend four weeks in Alice Springs and travel around from there later. I did a lot of bushwalking around the area, it's very exhilarating to be so far from any civilisation and the desert is just plain pretty.
When we are finished here in Europe we might try to go to Alice Springs and live there for a while.

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