I have a confession to make . . . I like tours. I love following someone around who knows heaps more than me about wherever we happen to be giving me information. I think the boys like tours too. They hover constantly at the front right under the tour leaders nose and love asking questions (and answering them when asked). And so it was that we headed off to make the 1:30pm tour of New Norcia from Julian’s cousin’s house in Sorrento.
New Norcia is Australia’s only monastic town. Founded by the Benedictine monks in the mid 1800’s it has served over the years as a monastery as well as a boarding school and “orphanage” (their inverted comma’s not mine). Now days it seems to me to be more a collection of disjointed buildings than a township. Mind you, the buildings are very impressive scattered over a 700m circle of land, but very out-of-place in the typical Australian rural vista. The Great Northern Hwy running right through the middle of things also does little to enhance the atmosphere.
We made the tour with 20 mins to spare. I was very impressed with the boys behaviour as they patiently waited through the first hour and a half which was rather tedious as far as tours go. The last 30 mins was interesting with amazing chapels within buildings with artwork more in keeping with Europe than then middle of nowhere. This was topped by a piano recital by Dom Robert (one of the monks) of a piece composed by Salvado, the original founder of New Norcia.
James spent most of the tour taking photos – a newly acquired interest of his. He took photos of art work, buildings, lights, ceilings, museum displays and plants. In low light levels he was not adverse to lying on the ground to steady his hand resulting in many interesting angles. We waiting to see if this new interest in photography continues. Can anyone tell which photos he took in this blog??
With the tour done and dusted we headed down to set up our free camp on the designated area on the edge of the sports ground. I convinced Julian to head up to the pub for dinner for a yummy meal in very uninspiring surroundings. Disappointingly the boys seemed to have outgrown “kids-meals” with both of them gobbling up adult meals without much fuss. It seems our meals out will now be much more expensive!
After a quiet night and more photography the next morning we backtracked down the highway towards the coast again.