Naracoorte to Woodend 18th April
The way from Naracoorte to Woodend is scenic. There are some mountain ranges and hills, which I enjoyed. Unfortunately I could not make photos. We stopped in Horsham, had coffee respectively Harry a soft drink. Tanya also bought a donut for him as well as a big muffin, she shared with me.
Finally at the Southern Cross Station in Melbourne, we had a meal, mine I paid myself, though I also could choose just the one I want. I had a chicken burger meal for 12,25 AUD. When I ordered I read 10,80 AUD, but that must have been a meal with a small portion of French fries and a small soft drink. I ordered with a medium portion of French fries and a bottle of still water. Afterwards I thought, that it was stupid to order water. I still had some in my water bottle I always carry with me. When I tried to give Tanya a 20 $-note, she did not take it. She told me, that she anyway had been driving to Melbourne and that I have been great company – she has been, too. We talked with each other most of the time. Tanya also asked for me about the train to Woodend and the ticket. I could have done it by my own, but she did not give me the possibility. Anyway, the train was not going, though I had to go by bus, but it was for free.
I found the bus station easily and also got a seat on the next bus. I sent my next host a message, that I had to go by bus and that I do not know how long the bus ride will take. Irene, my upcoming host, found out, that her husband as well was on this bus, which made it much easier to come from the town of Woodend to their farm. The farm-car stood at the P&R, waiting for to take us to the farm.
Woodend 18th to 28th April
In Woodend I also met Peters children Remy and Launchy. Both are staying with their father every second week, the weeks in between they are with their mother, who lives not very far away, though the teenagers has no problems with the school. Furthermore Irene’s old dog Lizzy and Peter’s old cat Purnie was living there, when I was a helper. Unfortunately Purnie became very sick and died a few weeks later. Irene has chooks and quails, though eggs are very common in their diet. I have got an own nice room and soon an electric blanket in my bed. The weather in the state Victoria, so also in Woodend, is much colder as it is in South Australia or New South Wales. During the nights it usually was around 5°C even the daytime temperature mostly was around 20°C.
I helped mostly in the house with cooking, ironing, washing and cleaning. Once I made biscuits together with Remy. Another time I made biscuits by my own. A Saturday Peter, Irene and me painted the walls of a room as well as we took care about the fallen leaves. I raked the leaves and Peter burnt them after Irene had taken a wheelbarrow load for the chooks and quails. Other days I was watering the flower beds, because it was still very dry. Only one day it was raining a little.
Irene took me to Woodend when she had things to do there, though I could explore that little town. Unfortunately I had forgotten my camera as well as my tablet and could not take any photographs. The town is a typical Australian country town, but with only a few old buildings left. Here you find facts about Woodend. When Irene had to go to Melbourne, I was going with her. Therefore I could get my first impressions of the town before I spent a couple of days there by my own. More about Melbourne you will find below. Another day Peter drove me to the Hanging Rock and picked me up there again. Unfortunately it was a public holiday, when I was there and very crowded. Anyway I made my own video! Hanging Rock by Dorothee On my last day at Peter’s and Irene’s home I walked to Woodend to buy some ingredients for another Swedish dinner. This time the “Macaroni Box”. On my way to the town I took lots of photographs, though it took time to walk the 5 km. I found a nice bridge and learned that a bowling club is a place, where people play boule and not 10-pin-bowling. On my way back I did not need so long time.
One evening Irene invited her whole family as well as me for dinner at the local restaurant at the Victoria hotel. It was a delicious and big meal. The place was cosy, but a little chilly. There was a fireplace in the restaurant, but the owner did not light it. Peter and Irene like red wine and cheese, especially Camembert and Brie. Peter also bought a Swedish cheese, called “Saint Porto”. First when I had tasted it, I found out, that it was “Port Salut”.
At Peter and Irene I have got a good insight into Australian family live and I was very happy about this kind host, too. The ten days with them passed very fast and I felt, that I had to leave friends behind again.
Melbourne 28th to 30th April
I had tried to find a couch in Melbourne, but was unlucky, though I had booked a bed in the YHA hostel “Melbourne Metro” as well as I had booked a membership online some days before, when I had booked a night at a YHA hostel in Canberra. I was using the commuter train and my “myki card” from Woodend to Melbourne. Irene had taken me to Woodend by car.
In Melbourne the “City Circle” of the public transport one can use free of charge, but I did not really know which tram was going to the hostel. Furthermore, when I had been the first time in Melbourne I had got the experience, that the trams are not easy to climb, especially not with heavy suitcases. I was anyway early for the hostel and decided to walk. There was a little park on the map I first concentrated on to find. Afterwards I crossed it and continued to the Howard Street, but was confused, when I found a street with that name not fitting the map. Though I asked someone for the hostel. Fortunately she knew it and gave me the directions. When I finally reached the hostel I was sweat and had to carry up my backpack for stairs. Finally inside I was surprised about the standard. The hostel looked new and the most surprisingly was the elevator! I had never before seen a hostel with an elevator.
On my room – I had booked a bed in a dorm again – I met a young girl from Austria with the uncommon name Ena. She was so impressed about my way to travel, though she asked me to have a cup of coffee together, but I would have to wait for her, because she has not had a shower. I could not wait for her, I was very hungry. We gave each other our phone numbers, but she never called as agreed.
I walked to the first stop of the “Free Tram Zone” and found, it was at the famous Victoria Market
where I found lots of cheap and less cheap restaurants. I chose the first one and ordered a meal for 7 AUD, strolled then among the stalls of the market, but they were already closing down. In an Aboriginal shop I bought a t-shirt with Aboriginal art. Actually I was looking for the parliament building, but my next stop was already at the “State Library”, where I started with the Keith Murdoch Gallery.
I remember especially the work of Lionel Lauch, the indigenous art, heritage and culture ambassador as well as the Trinity Grammar Junior School with their drawings of butterflies, birds and bugs as a sign of freedom, Jason Solo and the Carey Baptist Grammar School. Altogether were promoting guide dogs. You can read more at #igddrecollections, which also is the hash tag on twitter. I stayed at the library until the historical exhibition, which I watched then, closed at 5pm. A little tired I was going twice by tram line 35 around the city. It became dark and I was going back to the hostel.
The following day it was raining off and on, but most of that time only dizzying. Anyway there is no bad weather, only wrong clothes. I used the right clothing and walked to the city, where I first visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
On my way to the cathedral I passed another old church, St. Peter’s, as well as the Fire-brigade Museum and on my way back, looking for the Parliament building, I stopped at the German “Dreifaltigkeitskirche”, because their announcement for a lantern procession for “St. Martin’s Day” in May – the fest of this saint is originally held in November. The priest became aware of me, greeted me and we were talking about the procession. He told me, that the church tries to care about the German culture, too, but a lantern night does not make sense in November. For the kids, the date was moved. He also named Thanksgiving day, but that it was a little easier because he could talk about the seed. Lastly he asked me if I will be in Melbourne for the date of the lantern night. I answered him, that I will not, because I am travelling and that I anyway am Swedish. He asked me, if I had visited the Swedish church already, which has a very beautiful house outside Melbourne, but not very far away.
Before I reached the Parliament building I passed the National Trust as well as the Old Treasury Building. Close to the Parliament Building is a very small park with a statue, which caught my interest. A school class was already there and the teacher gave instructions for the orienteering. After all I found the building, but it was very difficult to take a good photograph of it, because it’s size and the lack of space in front of it.
Afterwards I continued to Federation Square. There I first visited the Film museum, which was very interesting, even I know a lot of the history, because it was similar like at home. The shows were a little different and the movie “Hanging Rock” was represented, of course. So where the “Crocodile Dundee”. Even a few dresses from movies and TV were part of the exhibition.
I took good time for looking around and again and again finding a new corner with other information. By the way, the entrance was free. I walked a little further to the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) to see the exhibition “200 Years of Fashion”, that means for the time since the first settlers arrived. From the beginning there were only a few dresses – mostly wedding dresses. From about 1920 there were more dresses and a lot from the last 50 years. Most of the dresses were beautiful, a lot very special, but it was one more time a reminder of the tight ties between Europe and Australia. This was a special exhibition with an entrance fee of 15 AUD. Unfortunately the exhibition about Aboriginal Art, which I was looking for, had to give the space to this one.
Outside again I took photographs of more interesting buildings, e.g. St. Paul’s church and the Forum – a theatre. I also went to Hosier Street with its street art and to the Bourke Mall via Russell Street, which is a shopping street like the “Neuer Wall” in Hamburg. That means boutiques instead for shops, but actually the street is not as nice as the one in Hamburg. After I have had a pizza slice, I took the tram (no 35 and no 57) back to the hostel, but I had to walk for around 10 minutes to get there from the closest stop.
Even the next day I started with an art gallery. I had to cross a bridge, walked a short distance throughout a park and entered the other building of the NGV in the hope, that I could find an exhibition about Aboriginal art. Unfortunately in this building one could only find international art. Once there I anyway stayed and took a look. Also this gallery had free entrance.
The Eureka Tower with its viewing platform is not far away from the gallery, though that was my next goal. Close to the tower, I found a promotion for chips. I also got two free bags (different flavours). Furthermore the band Black Harry’s played during the promotion. I sat down close to the band and ate one of the bags with chips instead for lunch. The taste was someone I did not like especially much, but the other one I liked more. Finally I visited the Eureka tower and paid 15,50 AUD (as a senior) for it. This tower has 88 (eighty-eight) stories and a very fast elevator. I did not get the feeling to go high up. There is an option to go onto the edge for an extra fee, but I saved that money. The platform itself is rotating slowly, though I walked around more than ones and took several photos. See also Eureka Skydeck
Walking in the sunshine I was soon back in the city, bought some necessary items like toothpaste, watched a bride and her groom get photographed and took the bus to Toorak to the Swedish Church and shop. In Sweden this day is called “Valborgsmässoafton” and means, evening before the day named “Valborg”. It is common in Sweden to have a bonfire in the evening and the chorus of the church is singing spring tunes. I was interested in, which songs will be sung this evening because here “down under” autumn has started. It was still daylight, when I arrived there and checked the assortment of the shop. It was not big, but they offered Swedish granulated sugar, which we call “pärlsocker” and use for our cinnamon buns as well as some of our biscuits. I bought a box and ordered a cup of coffee as well as a cinnamon bun. Unfortunately the coffee was not really warm and my buns are nicer to look at. I took a seat outside and hopped to get some company, but all people around were very busy to prepare the evening. If I understood it right, there should be sold different things like coffee, buns and grilled sausages. On one hand side I was not used to this and on the other hand side, nobody cared about me at all, though I went back to the hostel without the experience of a Swedish celebrated evening at the wrong time of the year.
Melbourne to Canberra 30th April / 1st May
I was in good time at the bus station, waiting for the Greyhound bus to Canberra. The bus arrived some minutes before departure time. Anyway we left in time, exactly at 10pm. There was no special seating required and I was lucky to get a seat in the first raw. Actually it did not matter, because we would arrive 6am, though the bus would be on the road during nighttime only. The ride was without any incident and we arrived as planed, but when I got my bags, the little red one for the medicine was wet. I claimed at the driver and he answered, yes it is, I don’t know why. Mine is wet, too.
About my adventures in Canberra you can read here.