Australia Day has different meanings for different people. For indigenous Australians it has always been steeped in unpleasantness, but that’s not what I’m here to discuss. I’m here to tell you that Australia Day for me was never about the arrival or subsequent invasion of the British. For me, Australia Day has, at least from when I was a teenager, been about the Hottest 100.
Recently we were privileged to be invited to a wedding in the Midlands, England. In my mind this conjures up visions of vast expanses of land and rich estates – a kind of Pride and Prejudice meets Downton Abbey – small towns, cute country lanes, rolling hills, hearty food and wide varieties of dialects. My husband and I opted to add a few days of unplanned driving – the aim was to wander aimlessly, traverse the hills, take in whatever sights we happened across, and eat and drink till we burst. Goal achieved! As I mentioned from my last visit to England, my opinion of the country has changed somewhat from being a boring (normal food, English-speaking) destination, into a familiar one that reminds me nostalgically of home.
Visiting the London area in the past (eg. When I was living in Australia) was always a bit of a lowlight. Not bad, of course, just not as exciting as the rest of the trip.
It was a place that was easy, where I knew the language and had friends to stay with. It was a rest stop, a place to recuperate. Or it was simply the most practical or cheapest place to fly in and out of.
The annual St. Paul Mostwandernweg or ‘Cider Walk’ is held in the surrounding hills on May 1st, which is technically Austria’s Labour Day, and is therefore a public holiday. It is a pilgrimage of the alcoholic kind so it is definitely right up my alley (only in moderation, of course!).