Week Thirteen . (Sunday 29 September until Sunday 06 October)
Our journey into Melbourne takes us closer to sea level, as the Great Ocean Road winds its way towards Geelong. On the way we stop at Lorne to have coffee at the (i suspect world famous) Arab bar (established in 1956) and have one of my top ten coffee experiences. We both agree, the coffee was indeed very good. And BTW, that was our last $6 dollars! Feeling more awake, we decide to visit an automatic money dispensing machine and hope that the universe provides us with more money.... After sifting thru all our bank accounts and various credit cards, we stumble across a spare $170 that has yet to be accepted as our monthly credit card repayment. Wow, unprocessed funds. We grab the cash and run, before the banking system decides on retaining the money for their own devious purposes. Jumping for joy, and flush for a couple of days, we head to Melbourne with excitment of being able to eat fine food and drink more addictive coffee and enjoy cafe and bar culture.
After Lorne, we visit one of Australias famous surfing beaches, Bells Beach and check out the hot surfing talent of six pro surfers doing their monkey hop jumps to gain momentum and razor sharp cutbacks and tube shimmering barrels in cold icy 1.5 metre swells. At last, fo fo gets to see some impressive works-person-ship on the water.
Wind chilled, we drive down the Motorway towards Melbourne at the break-neck speed of 80kms / hr. The road workers had spent the night laying about 1200 witch's hats in order to justify all the road work speed limit signs they feel have to be erected. We arrive in Fitzroy, Brunswick st (my old haunt) in inner Melbourne and stay with my old flatmate Betty in her fantastic warehouse on the third floor of a really old building.
The next few days are spent walking around Melbournes little alleys, exploring the numerous cafes, tram jumping, museum visiting, eating fine gourmet food, watching movies, clothes lusting and soaking up the lively atmosphere that only Melbourne can provide.
After Melbourne, we finally prepared ourselves for the inevitable; the last stretch of road home to Sydney. We said our goodbyes and headed East and then North, via the Princes HWY once again, up thru Traralgon spending the night on the side of the road near a large powerstation surrounded by pine forests (and occupied by Wombats). Next day we travelled North onto the Omeo HWY for our last unknown adventure before familiar territory. The Omeo HWY was one of our spectacular journeys, (one of at least twenty i have to say). The road was barely 2 metres wide, the climb was steep and winding, there were corners on top of corners. To finish off our all weather experiences, a huge electrical storm boomed over ahead, spitting sleet and hail at XQU. The skys became so dramatic. Ahead we could see heaven, and behind us back down the road we could see the dark intense mood that we had escaped. We spent the night admist more electrical storms, tucked away in a little camping spot, by a little river. Just before the sun went down, the sky was a beautiful display of white clouds and rays of sunlight. The trees around us glowed. That night as we played our one thousandth game of 500, I looked at Fo Fo and asked if she was alright. "Are we safe?" asked Fo Fo. As it turns out, Fo Fo had not experienced this much lightning or rumbling in one sitting before. Storms in Ireland are not so noisy.
View the images below as columns.