It Started As A Prison – SYDNEY ( 1 of 3 Series) By Wolf Leichsenring

This is a strange introduction to our travel report in which we want to tell about freedom, beauty and attractiveness. But do not worry, everything will be cleared up. We’ll talk about the background of this gloomy chapter heading later.

First, only the pleasant sides of this metropolis, in which our Australia round trip begins. 4.6 million people live in Australia’s largest city, which is also the capital of the southeastern state of New South Wales (NSW). The millions of tourists from all directions in the world are not even counted. The metropolitan area (Sydney Metropolitan Area) covers an area of ​​12.138 square kilometers. It extends from the Hawkesbury River in the north to beyond Botany Bay in the south and from the Blue Mountains in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east.

No matter in which direction the eye is looking, the view always lingers on a skyscraper skyline. However, there is rarely a feeling of endless, never-ending street canyons. Why? The city and adjacent neighborhoods are interspersed with large and small parks, of which the Royal Botanic Garden is the largest. Historic emerges in Centennial Park, British in Hyde Park. The Sydney namesake resembles the Londoner in its layout. However, the “Speakers Corner” was transplanted to the edge of the Botanical Garden, opposite the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The liveliness of the speakers, their convincing efforts as well as their gesticulating and emotional participation in “their” theme have London format. Not even the step ladder is missing as a lectern.

In front of the art gallery, we come across an old acquaintance from our trip to Scotland (2014), namely the Scottish-romantic verse smith Robert Burns (1759-1796). We will certainly meet him more often here in Australia, e.g. in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra or Melbourne. With his wonderful poems this “poet of the delicate” has delighted not only his homeland but the whole world. For why else should one commemorate his statues in Canada, the USA and New Zealand? The Aussies go one step further. As in Scotland, a so-called “Burns Supper” takes place on January 25th each year.

Excursus: Burns Supper

The so-called Burns Supper (also known as Burns Night), which of course is not celebrated exclusively here in Sydney, but wherever the great Scottish romantic is revered, runs every year on the poet’s birthday, January 25th, after a fixed date Rite off.

Burns’ works, which, among other things, celebrate the beauty of Scotland are as beloved as ever and of course they are an integral part of Burns Night. But not only poems and songs play a role in this evening, but also the process and the menu significant.

To prepare for the celebration, there is plenty of bagpipe music. A first Burns poem will be presented, preferably his “Selkirk Grace”, mostly in the then Scottish original language:

Some hae meat and canna eat,

And some wad eat that want it,

But we hae meat and we can eat,

Sae let the Lord be thankit.

The menu usually starts with a soup. After that, it becomes tangier, as the main dish is the Scottish national dish, the Haggis served. Haggis is a kind of sausage that consists of a sheep’s stomach, heart, liver and lungs, plus plenty of onions, kidney fat from the sheep and a serving of oatmeal.

The ceremony will be accompanied by the poem “Address to a Haggis”. In any case, the speaker should keep his knife ready, as the skin of the haggis is cut open on the key word “His knife see rustic labor dight”, so that the innards spread over the whole plate. It is recommended to scrape the hot haggis before the procedure, otherwise it may happen that his inside not only lands on the plate but also on the clothes of other participants. In some Burns Suppers the injection molding is even part of the ceremony, so to speak as a fun factor.

Before the feasting begins, the toast “The Haggis” is called out. Finally, the Scottish national dish begins, garnished with turnips and potatoes (neeps and tatties). Of course, a dessert may not be missing, usually a “Trifle”.

The feast is interrupted again and again by the recitation of Burns poems. Especially after the feast, many words and vocals follow. To be continued……

Wolf Leichsenring – Travel Journalist