Friday, May 28, 2010

Burra (tuts my...)

What a GREAT town!

Before I get to that though, The Goyder gets another thumbs up. Today was overcast, but perfect. The clouds kept me cool and provided interesting shapes to look at along the way. However the clouds weren't the only interesting things to look at on today's ride... as standing proudly on the edge of The Goyder, was my first ever Boot-A-Full tree! Fantastic.

(above: The Boot-A-Full tree)

(above: history of the word Beautiful, and an introduction to leprechaun culture)

(above: some Boot-A-Full branches)

As the sign read, the word 'beautiful' actually derives from the leprechaun word 'boot-a-full' which humans have obviously grossly misused. I felt greatly privileged to have my first Boot-A-Full tree experience, yet at the same time felt somewhat guilty for not having anything to offer. The shoes on my feet were the only ones I had, and whilst giving your last is the truest form of generosity, I was convinced it would mean the end of my cycle journey. So, regretfully, I moved on without contributing and leaving my mark, but was pleased at the thought that somewhere out in the bush is a tribe of semantec nerds, improving the world, one 'beautiful' tree at a time.

I had hardly moved on from said tree, when the opportunity to give struck again. This time, in the form of an underwear tree! "But of course."

(above: said underwear tree)

I stood 'briefly' (haha) in front of it, before deciding it was my time to give... It wasn't until my pants were half way down that I realised there was to be no giving today. Sneaky commando strikes again! Just as the commando realisation struck me, a horrified group of girls drove past. haha only kidding... I don't think they were horrified.

So on to Burra!

I made pretty good time from Morgan, and my only gripe (apart from not wearing any underwear) was the misleading signs that told me I would be in Burra in 5km, only to be greeted at a turn off 5km later with a sign saying 'Burra 4km'. "What?"

Mysterious Burra was hidden from me by the 4km of hills I had to ride up and around, but as I reached the crest, Burra opened up to me and I like it immediately. Not the least because as I came down the other side of the hill and entered Burra, I was speeding! That's right, 56km/hr in a 50 zone!

I made my way to the Tourist Information Centre, and liked the vibe of the town, given off, mainly I think, by the old architecture and the surrounding hills. Alan from the Tourist Office proved to be SUPER helpful for the entire duration of my stay, and I would love to tell everyone to go to Burra, and obviously, go to the very helpful and interesting tourist office ( Alan organised for me to stay in an old miners cottage, donated by Genita and Paxton's Square Cottages (

(above: My cottage as seen from the internal courtyard)

I was over the moon to be staying in such a great place, that was not only big, clean and comfortable, but was also the place the miners stayed in when the Burra mine was the richest copper mine in the world!

(above: the richest copper mine in the world... from 1850 to 1870)

(above: searching for copper)

A massive thank you to Genita for sponsoring me a night at the cottages, and equally to Alan and the Tourist Office, who generously donated me a second night at the same place.

Alan also organised for me to speak at the local school, so the next day, I rambled and raved to 250 children (kindy to year 12) about my trip, which was followed by question time. I'm not sure how much they got out of it, but I had a few parents come up to me in the pubs and on the street the next day saying their kids liked it. The Burra Community School also donated $50 to the cause, raised by the children themselves.

My school talk was followed by an interview and photo shoot with Michelle Osborn, publisher of the local newspaper. Of course, this was organised by none other than Alan. Michelle was very encouraging and a great person to meet. I've also organised to have the few local newspapers that I've been in, to be sent home to Sydney, so hopefully I can eventually post some of the material.

Ok. With the formalities aside, I actually got to spend a good amount of time hanging around Burra. There was a tour route I could take to see the various museums, the old jail and mine lookout etc, but I chose to do my own tour... that's right... a FOOD tour of Burra! I ate a meal in all 3 pubs. I also had a great breaky in a local cafe called "Cook-o-Burra". Plus I had coffee in an antique store/bookshop/coffee shop, which used to be a brothel in the mining days. I even managed to visit the local IGA to set up a fireside snack in my cottage of camembert cheese, pink lady apple, crackers, macadamia nuts, carrot and walnut cake, and some dates. Yes, I think you could say I liked Burra A LOT!

(above: country style breaky at "Cook-o-Burra")

(above: my cosy brothel seat)

(above: getting the fire going in my cottage)

(above: lake side in Burra)

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