On my visit to Western Australia, I stayed at the monastery of New Norcia and this blog shares with you insight into what that looks like. I'm not using this particular blog to comment on the controversial issues about New Norcia.
The first concerning thing I noticed was the following notice! Argh! I didn't see a thing, but was advised not to wear ‘open toe footwear' (i.e., sandals or flip-flops).
I had been upgraded from a single without air conditioning (in this heat!) to a twin room which had AC – so I was pleased about that. However, there was something that didn't feel quite right about the room. I can't quite put my finger on it.
You can't argue that there is plenty of space for storage. Guests are invited to re-make the bed as they leave for the next guest. I didn't mind doing this, but it does make you wonder if the previous guest was as picky as you might be about how to make a bed!!
As it's a monastery, there's little wonder that there are icons pretty much everywhere. This one was on the sliding bathroom door, which I did feel an unusual choice.
A chair is offered for reading. Unfortunately, the light was very dim and insufficient for anything but a large print book 🙂
The window looked out on to a footpath (which looked right in!) and beyond into a courtyard which had some nice trees in it but was not laid out to any advantage. Although some seats were out here, there was little to attract one to sit out in the area.
The bathroom was very basic but clean.
Is it the adobe walls that are off-putting? Or the green bedcovers? I'm not sure but I didn't feel at all at ease in the room.
There are some shared areas for those staying the guesthouse, namely a dining room, kitchen (for preparing your own breakfast or a cuppa during the day) and a lounge.
One table was sufficient for most of the time I was there, to seat all of the guests visiting.
I'm sure someone must have gifted these to the monastery some time long in the past.
Bread, butter and milk were kept in the fridge and supplies like spreads and biscuits in bowls and tupperware on the kitchen counters.
I did try vegemite for the first time. It's incredibly salty!
Some dry biscuits to keep you alive should all else fail.
Select your own teapot to get things going in the morning.
Guests were to wash, dry and replace any plates or bowls they use (which is easy and fine).
If you were considering staying here, the quarters are spartan. I'd investigate the local hotel (also owned by the monastery but designed for tourists moreso than monastery guests or retreatants). Or try Geraldton or another town in the area. New Norcia is not a natural place for a holiday break, although I'm glad I experienced it as a kind of warning bell.