It’s a place I’ll never tire of

Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museum

“I’m from Texas,” he said, “Do you know where that is?” 

His words broke the spell. Your Club Correspondent was gazing upwards, trying to imagine what it must have been like to paint while lying on one’s back.  She momentarily adverted her gaze from the Sistine Chapel ceiling and looked over her glasses at a rather eclectically attired young man. 

Her lips tightened to conceal a smile, as she resisted the temptation to tell him that she knew his home is located somewhere to the south of Canada!   Ignoring his question, she tilted her head upwards and said, “What do you think?” 

“It’s a view I’ll never tire of looking at,” he replied. “Bellissimo!”

To this day, your Club Correspondent likes to think that the young American wasn’t referring to Michelangelo’s endeavours!

This month, your Club Correspondent asks Club Members for a glimpse into their souvenir postcard world; to reveal a landscape they never tire of walking down.  

Promenade Des Anglais, Nice

West of its sneering Monegasque neighbours and east of the Cannes’ red-carpet paparazzi, lies Nice; where you’re most likely be greeted with – “Mwah, mwah! How are you, dahling?” 

In the time-honoured tradition of European royalty, Club Member, Chris D’Arcy, spent his youthful summers in Nice.  “After university I was lucky enough to have a good friend who lived in Nice,” says Chris, “And I would drive down for a few weeks.” 

Visiting Nice in 2012, Chris once again rendezvoused at the Promenade Des Anglais; the place he never tires of walking down; for a concert at the outdoor Theatre de Verdure by American rock band R.E.M.  All of which means, he can add his name to the long list of artists, authors and cultural figures, past and present, drawn to the French Riviera.

Rue Mouffetard, Paris

Ernest Hemingway wrote, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man then, wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” 

Hemingway’s first sojourn in Paris, in 1921, was in an apartment on the rue Cardinale Lemoine in Paris’ 5th arrondissement.  Almost nine decades later, in the Parisian autumn of 2009, David Lea walked in the footsteps of the famous author.  

David reflects that he never tired of walking down the cobbles of rue Mouffetard; with its street market at one end.  “Rue Mouffetard, is in one of Paris’ oldest and liveliest neighbourhoods,” says David. “Joy and I spent 10 weeks living in an apartment nearby.  The market was where we purchased our fresh food and went for meals. Only a short narrow street but redolent of so much, which makes Paris my favourite city.”  

Lake Pukaki, New Zealand

‘There he lay, a vast red-golden dragon, fast asleep.’  When Bilbo Baggins first stumbles upon Smaug, he hears his snoring – ‘like the noise of a large pot galloping in the fire, mixed with the rumble of a gigantic tom cat purring.’ 1

Most people believe Lake Pukaki in New Zealand’s South Island was chosen as the location for Esgaroth in the motion picture, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug because of the spectacular scenery.  But does this ring true? 

“We used to holiday there regularly when I was a child in an old tin hut on Whale Stream,” says Richard Jones, “I would never tire of the views of Mount Cook from the shores of Lake Pukaki.”

“The level of the lake has been raised in recent years for hydro power, and the old hut is well under water, but that view still brings back such fond memories.”

Your Club Correspondent wanted to ask Richard – did he ever hear a whumpf, whumpf noise; followed by a roar that sounds like someone’s pressed a coin operated pool table’s release button to send giant balls crashing into the table’s under tray?  A sound signalling the presence of Dragon-kind or just approaching snowpack collapse? 

J. R. R. Tolkien; author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.  

Mount Sturgeon, Grampians National Park

‘In a time long ago, the Great Ancestor Spirit, Bunjil, began to create the world we see around us, the mountains, the lakes, the forests and the rivers, the plains and the seas.  When he had created the beautiful sandstone ranges of Gariwerd, he often took the form of Werpil the Eagle so that he could view his work.’2

Gariwerd (the indigenous name for the Grampians National Park) is where Mount Sturgeon is located.   “It’s a place I never tire of walking”, says Kerrie Geard, “Mount Sturgeon, last mountain at the southern end of the Grampians.  It’s stunning when the clouds are low.  I’d love a cabin there.”

Each Spring above Mount Sturgeon, Werpil can now behold a view of emerald green and yellow gold fields, as far as his eye can see.  But, as Kerrie knows, Gariwerd also rewards the eagle-eyed with ochre treasures;  hidden under rock overhangs, lie over 200 Aboriginal rock art sites, making the Grampians the richest site for rock art in Victoria.  

Gariwerd Creation story: Djab Wurrung and Jardwadjali traditional people of Gariwerd. 

And so, your Club Correspondent concludes this insight into Members’ favourite walks; from Michelangelo’s frescos and a trifling in the Sistine Chapel; a stroll along the Promenade Des Anglais; a corner café on rue Mouffetard; a suspiciously Smaug-esque scene; and finally, full circle to Aboriginal rock art.

Want to learn more about Rotary? Please contact Megan: Tel: 0418 578 114

Megan’s our Beaumaris Rotary Membership Director. The title sounds a little formal but trust us, she’s the friendliest person you’ll ever meet!