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January 27, 2016 / cmfletcher

Benedictines and Aussie animals

On our first day in the Sydney region we wanted to be sure to see the monks at the Benedictine Abbey in Arcadia and the Australian animals at the Featherdale Wildlife Park. Managed to do both, and see a bit of the surroundings of Sydney too.

The Abbey is out in the countryside, and the abbey church has two glass walls. The stained glass was brought from other churches and abbeys and gives a continuation of Catholic history in Australia. The cross window shows the first 3 Archbishops, and one Vicar General, of the four, 3 were English Benedictines. Father Bernard was on his way to check their bull for ID before he goes to the market and then attend a catechist meeting when we pulled up. A true Benedictine, he guided us through the Abbey with great hospitality.

We especially liked the stations of the cross and the paintings done by a local artist that hung on the back wall of the church.

The area around the Abbey is very rural with farm stands, so we picked up a selection of local fruits – fresh fruit is one of the things I miss when we are eating in hotels.

Then on to the wildlife park. There is a zoo in Sydney in the harbor area, but Featherdale  has only Australian animals, and they promised that you could interact with a koala. No contest which place we would visit. It was a happy place, the keepers and the animals and the visitors were all enjoying themselves.  That blue necked bird, the Cassowary is one of the birds the guides warned us about – it can knock a person down and rip open the chest with its talons.

We loved the emus, kangaroos and wallabies, and also the echidna, and enjoyed seeing a dingo. Many visitors had fed this kangaroo, he wasn’t interested in our offering.

We finished up with dinner at the Greek restaurant across from our hotel. I ordered the Greek Salad and Lamb. Peter was going to order, and the waitress said, no this is enough for you both. It was, and since it is high summer, the tomatoes in the salad were amazing. I learned a new way to cook lamb, which I will be sure to try when I get back.  A good day and no tourist guilt!

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