It was SO SO cold there! Amazing that we didn't see Emperor Penguins wandering about, sing-calling for mates, laying eggs in a huddle. We dashed into a shop at some point and bought scarves and gloves. Another moment, I thought my feet might have actually frozen off, and were being used somewhere for an ice sculpture.
It was beautiful, too. Not in the typical Blue Mountains beautiful way, which looks like this:
"We're together. Here under the dripping sky, wandering through the swirling mist, off on a sweet adventure that belongs just to we four. We who love each other and never like to be apart. We who are our own four-penguin huddle, singing songs only we truly understand."
There was a gorgeous circus shop to juggle balls and clubs and toss diabolos in (and where we spent much birthday money! The shop was the reason for the trip, and the stuff in it was my boy's main birthday present),
and a cosy hostel to bunk down in (it was so warm and lovely in there. With a fire and soft couches, a big old kitchen, free wi-fi, and incredibly affordable rates. We loved it),
|The Blurry Jugglers…|
all practicing in the hostel hallway. Gorgeous.
and a fantastic restaurant to eat a yummy dinner in (with wonderful service, and a lot of silly jokes and love happening inside),
and a hattery to hatter about in (so much fun!),
and a book store we always go to whenever we're in the mountains (it's just yummy in there, and you can sit for hours, perusing),
and—in a fantabulous moment of Serendipity
(we just popped into a little shopping arcade to get out of the rain, and there it was)—
a wonderful vegan cafe to spend hours in (literally, we spent hours. Came for lunch, then went to the book store and came back for vegan, gluten-free desert!).
|I think this was the only time the whole weekend|
my husband wasn't cracking jokes, keeping us laughing,
making us smile the way he does. He was focused on
his Mad Future Vegan Cooking Skilz, I think.
Rubyfruit is so delightful. A totally vegan cafe, with a big gluten-free menu—Bliss. We met the women who created it last year, when we went to the Cruelty-Free Festival in Sydney. That's when we discovered their cupcakes. They are heaven. Then we found their cheesecakes at a pizzeria in Newtown (Basil Pizza—where you can get vegan-gluten-free pizza—pure gold) and did little happy dances then too.
Now, all we have to do is get into the car and drive for oh, two hours, to yum their food up, any time we want. The food is truly delicious. The energy of the place is so warm, and filled with smiling kindness. You feel good just sitting there, and then you get to eat food that makes you Shut-your-eyes-Happy. Could anything be better than that?
Knowing this wonderful cafe is there, is another reason I love the Blue Mountains. I've always loved it up there. I've grown up going there, and remember bushwalking with my parents, falling in love with the pure silken darkness of Jenolan Caves, going up with uni friends, growing up going and going, and now…coming almost every year with my little Penguin Clan.
All my husband and I wanted this year, with everything that has been happening, was for our boy to have a good birthday. To have a day/days he could look back on and remember with real joy.
As my husband was paying for our second meal at Rubyfruit, the kids and I leant against a balcony railing in the little shopping arcade, peering down at the people below. My son turned to me, with his big clear eyes, and kind heart, and said, "Mum. Thank you. Thank you for this weekend. I think this is the best birthday I've ever had."