Indeed, I am still in Alice Springs, not really according to my wishes, but more out of necessity. The problem was finding people who wanted to travel to Cairns at the same time that I did. As it turns out, there were a few people that wanted to go to Cairns, but they had not been to Uluru yet, so I am currently waiting for them to return. In the meantime I am slowly exploring Alice Springs and reading ‘The Return of the King’.
On Monday afternoon I wandered around the town centre and got up to Anzac Hill for a better view. Tuesday morning I had some minor repairs on my car done, and explored the Old Telegraph Station in depth. The people who lived there in the early years were true pioneers, getting supplies about once a year. On Tuesday I also checked in at Annie’s Place, a nice hostel. I have been camping pretty much every day for the last month, so I felt it was a good idea to sleep in a real bed again, but I also needed to do some laundry, and it is just freezing cold here at night (must be the desert climate). Additionally, they offer dinners for A$5 (= 3 euro) in the restaurant, even cheaper than McDonalds or KFC.
Wednesday I spent pretty much all day reading my book at Annie’s Place. Of course I had to compensate that with some physical activity the next day, so on Thursday I went with some local bushwalkers to Standley Chasm. From there we walked about 18km on the Larapinta Trail, a hiking trail accross the West MacDonnell Ranges. The scenery was absolutely beautiful, and I really enjoyed the hike. In the evening I had dinner in the hostel restaurant again with some other backpackers.
Today I had to organise that my license plates would be forwarded to Cairns, since I will not be able to pick them up here in Alice Springs. All in all it has been a lot of hassle getting new license plates, with long telephone calls to the Department of Planning and Infrastructure in Western Australia. But then again, I doubt if it had been any easier back home, probably not. In the afternoon I borrowed a bike from Ernie (one of the locals I hiked with yesterday), and biked all the way to Simpsons Gap. The roundtrip turned out to be more than 50km, and I was pretty exhausted at the end (also sunburned). Clearly I have not been biking in a long time. In the evening I went to see the carnival parade of the Alice Springs festival. It was more like a children’s parade than anything else, nothing like the carnival back home.