A bit of family history

I have Norwegian heritage and lots of cousins in the United States. The website that follows is the story of my grandfathers older brother Hilmar Rasmussen. This was compiled by his great granddaughter Erika Rasmussen.

A day at the Bali Zoo

The Bali zoo is large but doesn’t really have tons of animals. The Bali Zoo is open daily and can be easily reached by taxi or Grab( local rideshare service). Wasn’t super expensive. We’re able to buy the tickets online. The tickets are the same price as at the gate. It might make a difference on a day when the zoo is very full. They did have warnings about not overcrowding the zoo, regarding social distancing. There is a bus service within the Bali Zoo thats free and frequent making it easier to get around.

We did see some species that we hadn’t seen before. Notably some very interesting birds. It was also the first time we’d seen a zebra just loping about in the so-called Savannah section where they also had about four or five ostriches roaming about. The male lions who were doing what lions do best which is sunning themselves. There were  a couple of tigers, one of which was white. Quite an interesting looking animal .

At the entrance of the zoo there are lots of deer who are tame enough to pat. There is also an elephant enclosure with a large pond. On the day the zoo was offering rides on the elephants. Can’t be sure if the elephants are willing participants.

They had a show where some birds flew around and some other creatures came out, a bearcat which we’d never seen before and the amazing looking Wreathed Hornbill. A surprise at the Bali Zoo was an Australian Major Mitchell Cockatoo.

We also encountered some prairie dogs and the everpresent meerkats. A couple had paid to feed the meerkats and it looked amusing. Feeding animals is available at additional cost when visiting the Bali Zoo.

On the day that we went it wasn’t particularly busy which was good for us and we wandered about at leisure. We saw some orangutans who won’t do much except pointing at people and sleeping. There were lots of lemurs there which were in an enclosure where we could wander about and they were curious about tourists. No doubt looking for what they could pinch.

All on all it was a nice visit. Wasn’t super expensive. We’re able to buy the tickets online. Bit of a to-do really. The tickets are the same price but the gate. It might make a difference when the zoo is very full. They did have warnings about not overcrowding the zoo, covered, social distancing, etc.

Food was a bit expensive at the Bali zoo but they have signs up everywhere saying that they are trying to do rehab work and saving animals so I suppose they need to make money somehow. I was surprised at how big it was considering most things in Bali seem rather cramped, so that was a good thing. Anyway, there’s some photos attached showing  some of the animals that we saw at the zoo, which of course we’ve already posted on Facebook. I tend to do this at a slower pace on my blog.All on all it was a nice visit.

The case of the dogs in the night.

The case of the dogs in the night. Last night while waiting for takeaway I was sitting at a local warang. I then heard lots of dogs barking. The next minute an elderly man came riding by. His little dog in the carrying basket of the of the bicycle. In hot pursuit we’re about four or five dogs. They were barking and chasing the man on the bike.

The man on the bike was cursing the dogs and trying to kick them. I don’t think the dogs were actually biting him. They were just well chasing the bike with a dog on board. His language became more and more rude and he was certainly cursing the dogs.

He disappeared down the lane and the dogs were still pursuing him. About 2 or 3 minutes later he came back with a huge stick in his hand still riding his bike. Threatening to get the dogs and teach them a lesson. The dogs were of course way in front of him and he had no hope of catching them. I shouted out then was all a bit extreme but he said he was going to give the dogs a lesson.

I didn’t see the man again, but I could hear the dogs barking about. None of them were yelping or crying so I suspect he didn’t catch them. I actually saw a couple of the dogs a bit later coming down another lane and looking wearily around but the man was gone and the incident was over.

The man was white, not a local balinese and he was very very angry at the dogs who were barking at his dog. I think this is the most aggressive incident I’ve seen in our nearly 2 weeks here in Bali.

Mediaeval Fair

On the 7th of May this year we attended the Gumeracha mediaeval festival. It was an interesting affair with lots of displays. The fair is organised by conglomeration of local clubs that have an interest in mediaeval things. Some of the stalls were people who undertake various forms of handicrafts and blacksmithing and not necessarily associated with the organising group.

Notably there was a Viking style village set up with tents. Each tent had a display of some form of handicraft and sometimes just domestic activities. All the stall  holders were very friendly and keen to talk about what they were doing. We were also impressed by the knowledge of the participants at these stalls. The displays ranged  from weaving basket making through to cooking.

Also present were people who were undertaking various forms of handicrafts. Whittling was quite prominent as were various forms of woodworking. This included spoon making, barrel making and a number of people demonstrating how to carve wooden swords in the style of the Vikings, etc. A number of stalls were also demonstrating iron work and blacksmithing. I almost forgot to mention leather work . There were lots of things for sale. And of course food. Lots of food. 

There were several groups present who were there for combat. They were dressed in regalia for fighting. They represented various groups including Roman legionnaires, Byzantine fighters and of course Viking fighters so it’s all sort of middle ages. We did witness a fight between two groups using weapons of the era, there were no casualties.

It certainly was a friendly  and enjoyable morning. Also present were people representing the current conflict in the Ukraine so there was a fundraising store for that as well which was well supported .

One More Stop Before Home

On our final day we had one more stop before heading home. We pulled up in Crystal Brook after overnighting in Fitzgerald Bay. The stop was for lunch and then afternoon tea. We found a nice bakery which is usually the case in country towns

Crystal Brook is a regional service town with a population of about 1500. The main street is wide and there are lots of old shops. Some are curio shops and we found and OP shops. We bought some plants and then headed off to afternoon tea.

My wife found an amazing place called Vault 35 in Crystal Brook. It a dessert only cafe and has amazing products. It is located in an old bank building hence the name. The old bank vault inside the building is a gift shop. The couple who run it are absolutely charming . We over ordered and I’m sure my blood sugars went through the roof. Then on to home.

Main Street Crystal Brook

Fitzgerald Bay Campsite Number 2

Following on from my last post we camped overnight in Fitzgerald Bay campsite number 2. This is a free campsite near Point Lowly just North of Whyalla on the East coast of Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. We set up camp relying on the little onboard power that we had because our deep cycle battery was dying.

There is very little at Fitzgerald bay other than a few comping spots. There was a flushing toilet which of course is a luxury when you dont have an ensuite bathroom in your caravan. We never saw anyone else despite the presence of two other caravans an a campervan.

The following morning after breakfast we and a quick look around we headed off . We stopped briefly at Point Lowly to look at the lighthouse. Point Lowly has a few holiday shacks/houses and a lighthouse. Port Lowly is well know as a breeding ground for giant cuttlefish .There is also a large natural gas port there which we won’t mention.

Venus Bay to Fitzgerald Bay

The last leg of our trip took is from Venus Bay across to the east coast of Eyre Peninsula via Cleve. We eventually ended up at Fitzgerald Bay just north of Whyalla at a free camping site.

Cleve has lovely wide streets and and a local radio station was blaring out from speakers on the streetlights. It was a very blustery day and we were nearly blown down the street. We managed to find an OP shop which is what you do in small towns

There is a fabulous sculpture of a draughthorse in the main street. It made entirely of engine parts, chains and assorted metal. It’s very imposing and some nice detail like a metal lizard.

Continuing our journey east we stopped in Arno Bay. A quick visit largely dictated by the stormy and blustery weather. We couldn’t even find a café open! We headed north along the east coast of the Eyre Peninsula from Arno bay towards Fitzgerald bay. A quick stop in Cowell to buy some oysters. Cash only but no complaints $30 for three dozen. Another town with not much open.

Scooting past Whyalla we headed to our campsite at Fitzgerald Bay. It’s a free campsite and it was dark when we got there. So dinner and to bed and ready for the trip home.

Streaky Bay

Heading away from Venus Bay we travelled to Streaky Bay . This is another nice little town on the Eyre Peninsula. We arrived latish for lunch finding some shops already closed. We had fish and chips in a a café attached to a caravan park. Not the best fish and chips but certainly not the worst we have had on our travels. The worst fish and chips we have had were in Tasmania in a small town with the lovely name of Primrose Sands.

There is a fabulous clifftop drive in just out of Streaky Bay with lots of great lookouts. The coastline is quite spectacular. All the good spots are well signposted and have information boards.

Whistling rock was particularly interesting. There is a large cavern under the cliffs where the waves crash in. The top of the cavern is a quite porous limestone. The crashing waves push air up through the holes creating a distinctive whistling sound.

There are a succession of lookouts where you get a great view of the limestone coast. Every bit as impressive the great ocean road. The coast line is slowly being eroded by the crashing waves. There is an array of great walkways and raised platforms. Theses afford plenty of opportunities for great photos.

Venus Bay Caravan Park

Venus Bay is small town with lots of holiday shacks. The caravan park is located on absolute beach front. The spaces are wide and the park is flat. So backing in is relatively easy. The van park has a nice shop which also serves the township and is a takeaway shop. There is no pub in town but there is a bus that runs between Venus bay and Port Kenny where there is a pub.

There is a sandbank just off the beach where lots of Pelicans, Pacific gulls and the more common Seagulls or Silver Gulls hangout . They are probably watching the jetty where the local fishing boats have moorings.

It’s a really nice spot to stop.

Organ Pipes Gawler Ranges

This is another interesting geological formation in the Gawler Ranges and a bit more remote than Wave Rock. Access is mostly by dirt roads but they are no too treacherous. Our Kia Sportage managed this quite easily.

The roads are quite well signposted so as long as you an eye out you wont get lost. Mobile phone reception is a bit variable so relying on Google Maps or similar maybe a little tricky. It always good to have a physical map when travelling in remote areas.

Once you get to the carpark which isn’t huge there is a walk to the organ pipes. The carpark has a nice little gazebo and an toilet. The walk will take about 20 minutes and is for the most part easy. There are a few rocks to walk over or around toward the end. If you are a little unsteady a walking stick or pole would be well advised.

The walk is definitely worth it. The rock formations are really spectacular. I imagine if it was raining the would be a nice waterfall.

I was warned to be careful as there is some slime on the rocks. Despite this I managed to slip and fall quite heavily. Lucky not to break my arm, only denting my pride.

We did see some local kangaroos on the way back. We managed the organ pipes and wave rock from Wudinna in about half a day.