Armed with lots of stories on CD's, travellin' tunes, sketchbooks, cameras and of course, the wonderful iphone (RIP Steve Jobs) we were off to Bundanoon! Home of our friends 50th feasting birthday celebration, glow worm caves, and camping in the POURING rain!! Lucky woke up just in time - check out the hairstyle!!
We strolled amongst the poppies, I made the boys squint into the sun for photos, we watched an old timer's organ playing great carnival tunes (and learnt how each song took weeks to punch out by hand), we rode the ferris wheel (making my stomach curl into a pretzel), explored the moroccan and native flower exhibitions, ate white fairy floss, laughed at the gnomes and fell in love with the swans. All in a couple of hours.
Sure enough, the whole esky had blown off the roof spilling the home made jam I was going to give as gifts, my funkiest retro porcelain bowl, the picnic blanket and all our leftovers from the party ALL OVER THE ROAD in a mess of glass, preserves, cheese and china.
Oh well, no use crying over spilt handmade flower petal marmalade....( debatable. )
After that little fiasco it was straight to Grandma and Pop's new home in Eastwood, near Bairnsdale. They were so welcoming and it was lovely to see their new place and to hear how happy they are. Pop was a baker by trade and whipped up all sorts of delicacies for us, the boys had a ball exploring the local skatepark and we thoroughly enjoyed the spa bath, comfy beds and hospitality.
After a fascinating 4 hours chatting to Phil the dairy farmer who had an exceptional beard and lots of knowledge about cows, I alighted at Flinders St station and immediately fell in love. Again. With Melbourne. Such a magnificent city. So stylish and well organised, so cool and somehow romantic. As I was walking along by myself feeling like an elated backpacker discovering the world for the first time, the city sent me some messages. Here they are: This was
I also shopped, lingered, walked, rode a bike, drank LOTS of coffee, ate cake, bagels, croque madame (the best brekkie I think I have EVER had - the NSHRY Albert Park), prosciutto over doughnuts, olives, pork belly pizza (At The Royal Saxon in Richmond), gumbo, mussels (at Claypots in St Kilda where Tim Rogers happened to be hanging out at the bar) and generally had a marvellous collection of moments.....
And sure enough they turned up in grand style, chugging into the small street with tales of lemon meringue pie and a chipped tooth (not related but sounds somewhat poetic no?). And after many hugs and smooches off we sped together in the blue beast towards the 'pinnacle' of our trip - King Tutankhamun.
The exhibition that centered on the young king and his treasures was fantastic - dramatic and well presented with the silken tones of Omar Shariff as your in ear commentary companion. We marvelled at the detail on his canopic jar (the tiny sarcophogus that housed his liver), the small coffin for his unborn child (you forget that pharoahs too endure tragedy), his toy boats and beautiful trumpet. And so much SOLID GOLD!! The politics which surrounded him were fascinating and macabre (he inherited a kingdom fraught with unease as his father had tried to change the whole 'god' system and the elderly advisor who ended up ascending the throne after Tut also seemed to have 'moved' Tut's body into an inferior tomb). But the young Pharoah (9 when he was crowned and 19 when he died) seemed to enjoy a happy, loving marriage and have his heart in the right place (second jar on the left he he he).
The famous Italian hub which is Lygon St was calling our names...we cruised up and down the bustling Friday buzz watching pizza dough being thrown around, salivating over rainbow displays of gelati, exploring space age self-washing completely automated in every way toilets and finally settling on 'La Gambra' (The Prawn?) for a 'Pasta Mista' (trio of pasta platter). Deeeeeeelish.
The next day it was up and at 'em, making our way to South Melbourne markets by foot and tram. Had a coffee at the Kombi Garage on the way, and at the markets, sampled lots of the mouth watering treats on offer. I think breakfast there took about 2 hours! Sarah and Lisa joined us, and then we were off to soak up the testosterone at the skatepark where Flex had a clinic with a cute young scooter punk. After this it was on a tram to 'The Empress' to see some local live music (Craig Lee Smith with 'Chicken Parmiagana' was a stand out) and drink some yummy White Rabbit Beer ( a honey ale brewed in Healesville). From there it was back on a tram to The Coburg where we joined in on an Old Time Jam session featuring banjos, violins, mandolins, guitars, Gav on his uke and Felix blowin' on the bottle! A golden evening of giggles, great music and gregarious company...
Then it was time to farewell Melbourne and hit the road once again...and that, my friends is where our story ends....for today anyway!