Sky Sports News reporter
Ashes 2013/14: Ayers Rock trip gives England chance to leave it all behind
Tim Abraham blogs on England's chill-out time at Ayers Rock and his painful run-in with two strays.
Last Updated: 04/12/13 11:44am
In these days of more condensed tours, with back-to-back Test matches, my own experience with England over three previous Ashes trips has been at the main cricket centres, where the Test matches are played, and also taking in Hobart and Canberra.
But this is something completely different, and a throwback to the touring days of old when trips were much longer and England teams went "up country".
Sky Sports News travelled with the players to Ayres Rock, or Uluru, which was real chill out time after the hectic and controversial Test defeat in Brisbane, and this was a chance to get away from it all, and take in Aboriginal culture.
They danced, were taught how to throw spears and boomerangs, and we made Graeme Swann look quite the expert through our editing, showing his throw, cutting to another shot, then back to him catching another boomerang which was just ever so gently thrown to him out of shot.
He was genuinely knowledgeable during the night of stunning star-gazing. Stuart Broad gave a good interview with the spectacular back drop of the Rock, and spoke well about having to come back from the Test defeat, Jonathan Trott's sad departure, and the sledging which has already become a major issue and talking point.
In these days when players and many sports people are often criticised for closeting themselves in hotel rooms, playing video games and not getting out and about, this was a trip to refresh and re-charge the batteries, it was England embracing the culture and history of this country.
Alice Springs is a quiet town, and it's very hot, I would put it right up there as one of the hottest places I have ever been covering a cricket tour. Sri Lanka is more humid, and there were parts of Bangladesh that were the same, but this is a very fierce dry heat, pushing towards 40 degrees
We heard a few scaremongering stories about having to watch out for snakes and spiders now we were in the outback, and I have had my own altercation with the wildlife, but these were two wild dogs.
Whilst out on my early morning run two strays gave me a nasty look as I ran past. I was hoping they would have moved on by the time I turned back, but they were still there, waiting, and sure enough they came after me, one bit my ankle, the other leapt up to sink his teeth into my back side. News spread causing much amusement amongst media colleagues and the team.
It was all over in a flash with no serious damage, but the England team Doctor very kindly checked me out, clarifying there is no threat of rabies in these parts.
It's not put me off Alice Springs, though - it's a great place to be.