Day 148-150 – Melbourne – ‘Stumps’
Dec 18, 2009
|Every stereotype has some degree of truth to it. In the case of Melbourne weather, the three days we were in town seem to be great example. Look at these three days;–
Day 1 - 40+ degrees and clear,
Day 2 – Cold and raining all day
Day 3 – Clear sunny and 23 degrees
If you can figure it out you are doing better than me. Even the locals were confused
After another wake up call from the birds of Echuca we packed up and drove into Melbourne. We took the freeway right into Melbourne. To be honest we actually found the van park that meant staying as close to a main freeway as we could so we didn’t have to pull the van through Melbourne traffic. Melbourne is just a little bit bigger than Adelaide.
Knowing we were heading into a ‘real’ city we tried to call ahead to find a site for the night. Surprisingly a number of van parks we called described themselves as ‘residential parks’ who did not take us interlopers. Finally we found one between near Essendon airport and the DFO. Everyone was happy but in 40 degree heat, the pool would have been the best option.
Day two in Melbourne started with the boys playing on the playground in the park. Al was again assaulted by an over friendly 7 year old girl who just did not know how to shut up. I took the first Salvo and then ran and left Al and Ev behind. I’m so brave!!!!
Once we got the dog squad and riot police involved and the tear gas cleared we managed to extract Al from grasp of the talking machine and drove into Lancefield. You may remember in October when we were in Melbourne for the wedding we dropped in on our friends, Jo and Carlos and Evs friends, Darcy and Gabi, on their farm.
On the drive out it was lucky that Ev was in a seatbelt because otherwise he would have jumped out of the car and run ahead of it if he could have. Needless to say he was excited to go and play with Gaby and Darcy again. Once we arrived the kids went out to play with and feed the 4 horses, 2 cows, 3 dogs. Ev had a ride on Billy the horse before lunch. J-Lo, the horse with the big bum, was in another paddock. Don’t you love the name. With such a clever naming convention you can probably guess why the calf was referred to as ‘BBQ’.
Living on a farm, Jo and Carlos self are aiming to be as self sufficient as possible of at least buy local whenever possible. I honestly respect that, and considering the global warming I have created with my thousands of litres of fuel burnt in the last few months I could learn a few things. As a benefit of this philosophy, pork roast was from a friend of theirs down the road and it was ……Magnificent
Continuing the local theme we followed lunch with a visit to a couple of local wineries. Driving up to the first winery we were greeted with a “closed” sign….but we with one phone call the wine maker appeared. Obviously they know him. This was a good and a bad thing. Firstly we had the winemakers undivided attention however because he was serving friends the tastings were approximately half a glass each…..OK so that is actually good and a good thing.
The three big kids played while Aaron looked on. They had found some snails so they had set up snail races. Not sure how riveting that was but it kept them all amused for long enough.
Overnight we parked the van in the front yard at Jo and Carlos’s place. Definitely one of the friendliest caravan parks we had stayed in. Amazing how an extension cord makes a caravan park.
The next morning we woke up and fed hay to the cows and horses again in the morning before getting on the road. Had to stop so I could take a phone interview. Parked next to Tulla marine so boys culd watch the planes land and hopefully keep them amused while I was in the van. Parked too close and every few minutes I could not hear the intervier. Must have gone Ok as I got offered the job over the phone – I start on Jan 4th. How cool is that!! Employed before I even get home.
Very chuffed with myself we headed into Melbourne. Again using the ‘how can we avoid traffic’ approach, we had three choices for caravan parks – We chose one in East doncaster, the one that involved the least city driving and hoped it was close to Marika’s palce….Fortunately it was.’
Once we set up it was off to indulge. Queen Vic Markets. We grabbed as much fresh fruit, meat, cheese and produce as we could fit into the very limited fridge in the van. Ev hated the shop keepers calling out their bargains but we loved them, as we usually lined up for a bargain, $1 for a kilo of Banana’s. $1 for a huge punnet of Strawberries…you get the general impression
As hard as this is for a sydneysider to admit, Melbourne on a sunny day is a great town. Driving in to town - all the restaurants, café’s, interesting shops and people….for once not irritated by crowds. Really great vibe to it. Shame I can’t deal with the cold in winter. When its warm its, ..........livable.
For Dinner our friends Marika and Chris joined us for a BBQ at the van park. Now Chris is from Adelaide but he saw the light and moved out so we can forgive him and even like him. Great evening just chatting under the annex while the boys (eventually) slept inside the van.
Knowing the visit to Melbourne was likely to be the last major event we enjoyed what was effectively our last real night on the trip. Great to spend it with old friends