MONDAY 3/29/2010 – GHAN TRAIN >> ALICE SPRINGS
At 6:30 am they called the Red Cards to breakfast. I decided to wash up using the sink rather than try to use the shower in the toilet/sink/shower room. Marcia came to our room about 7:50.
For breakfast, we had orange juice and tomato juice, Just Right cereal or Corn Flakes, fruit and yogurt compote, toast, butter, jam, pancakes, blueberries, bananas, cream.
Kim and Marcia went back to enjoy the comedy act – Lexie taking a shower. Unlike the windstorm, there was no laughter; it was uneventful.
We crossed the Finke River at 10:55 am.
We passed Ironman, a unique monument, built by railway workers to mark the site of the one-millionth concrete SLEEPER laid on the railway.
Shortly after, they called us for lunch. We ate ham and cheese, mandarin oranges, chocolate ice cream, and coconut dessert.
We pulled into Alice Springs at 12:30 pm.
Tailormade Tours escorted us from the baggage collection area (thankfully, our checked bags were there) to Aurora Alice Springs Hotel on Leichardt Terrace.
Alice Springs, where the sun shines almost every day, is the heart of Australia’s Red Center in the southern part of the Northern Territory. Alice Springs was named after the wife of the Director of Telegraphs in Adelaide. The town was settled in the 1800s, but grew after the arrival of the railway from Adelaide in 1929. The center of Alice Springs is only a few streets wide, bordered by the Todd River on one side and Stuart Highway on the other. Anzac Hill forms the northern boundary of Alice Springs.
Alice Springs had 440 mm of water this year, compared to 77 mm of water last year.
We toured the Adelaide House, the first hospital in Alice Springs, also known as Australian Inland Mission Hostel. Today, it is a local history museum. Alice Springs Telegraph Station operated for 60 years before it became a school for Aboriginal children in 1932. The Royal Flying Doctor Service has a major base at Alice Springs and is home to School of the Air – the largest classroom in the world. It strikes me that the current educational experience for U.S. children during this pandemic of 2020 is similar to School of the Air that used shortwave radios and correspondence courses to reach children in remote areas of the outback.
Todd Street is the main shopping area; it’s lined with Aboriginal art galleries and crafts. Alice Springs has more art galleries per capita than anywhere else on earth! I thought about buying a DIDGERDIDOO in Alice Springs and sending it back for T.J. (but I didn’t). I did, however, buy a kangaroo leather hat in Alice Springs – my JILLAROO hat. I love that hat! It has kept my head very warm and dry for the last ten years. Unfortunately, I’ve worn it in the rain and snow so much, the leather has shrunk.