Friday, 9 March 2012

Retracing my Steps

Leaving Perth was a little sad but I know I‘ll be back there soon so I was looking forward to travelling east and meeting up again with some of the friends I’ve made in the last year. It’s odd that I travelled through 5 different states in America in one month yet in my last five weeks in Australia I felt I didn’t have enough time to travel north or through Queensland. Of course I plan on coming back and seeing those areas so I am sure it would’ve been different if this was my last five weeks in Australia ever. As I am coming back I was happy to take the chance to revisit some places and catch up with my friends. Therefore the plan on leaving Perth was to fly to Adelaide for a few days, bus it to Melbourne for a long weekend then bus it to Sydney with a side trip to Jindy.

In Adelaide I had arranged to have dinner with one of my Jindy house mates and his partner and to catch up with one of my friends from the Nullarbor tour I took late last year. Sadly my Jindy friend and his girlfriend had to cancel on me but I was able to get a quick drink with my Nullarbor friend and hear a lot of her news. During my stay in the city I planned to spend my one full day in Glenelg as I had heard it was a lovely place to visit and had a beach. Sadly the beach wasn’t much use as that was the day of my visit it rained. Being Scottish I wasn’t about to let a little bit of rain sop me and at lunch time I caught the tram and determinedly made my way to the seaside town. Despite the rain I could tell it was apleasant town and I stopped at a little cafe that serves the most delicious hot chocolate and a fairly decent omelette. If I pass through Adelaide again then I will be sure to return there on a sunnier day so I can test out the beach as well as indulging in more of that fabulous hot chocolate. Thankfully the day I left dawned bright and sunny so I took the opportunity to revisit the art gallery. On my previous visit only half the galleries were open due to a recently finished exhibition, this time though all the galleries were open and I enjoyed spending a few hours pretending I understood art before heading to my favourite snoozing ground in front of the museum. It’s a good place to people watch and surprisingly peaceful, I wasn’t the only person catching a quick nap in the sun that afternoon by any means. It turns out it was also a good place to see some of a red arrow display which was taking place east of the city. Not long afgter the display ended it was time for me to go find dinner and collect my bags before searching out he bus staion where I could catch my overnight bus to Melbourne.

In Melbourne I stayed with the family friend who visited me in Sydney not long after I first arrived in Australia. When we first met up she was here for a few months with her work but since then she and her husband have actually moved here. Though they were still in the settling in phase, including waiting on their furniture to clear customs, they kindly offered to put me up for a long weekend.  It was a chilled visit which included a few walks to the beach with their extra cute and very excitable dog. We did make it to the markets which I missed on my last visit and I caught up with my Aussie friend (who lent me her couch on my last visit) for a few drinks – She’s Aussie and I’m Scottish I’m sure you can work out our definition of a few!

On what was supposed to be my last day my friends husband drove me down part of the great ocean road and it was as beautiful as I imagined. I definitely want to drive it myself on my next visit. Though we didn't make it to the twelve apostles we did see kangaroos on Angelsea golf course where we stopped for a cuppa and Split Point lighthouse which was used in the kids tv program 'Round the Twist'. During this trip I got a call from the bus company informing me that road closures due to flooding meant I couldn’t travel to Canberra the following day. After some thought and consultation with my friends in Jindy and Melbourne I decided to rearrange my buses to travel up to Sydney on the Thursday bypassing them completely. I am sad that I missed the chance to see my friends before heading back to the UK but it did give me the opportunity to finally fill out my tax forms, start preparing to claim back my super funds and write my final postcards. I also took the additional time to cook chilli con carne for my friends as a thank you for their hospitality. You’d think by now I’d have that recipe sorted but every time I cook it there is something differently wrong with it. Still it turned out ok in the end and it was a meal that someone else didn’t have to cook though I did manage to skip out on the washing up. Of course my thank you meal was put to shame by the lovely meal on my actual final night at a local restaurant. The area my friends have settled in has many restaurants and cafes and they are everything I have come to expect from Melbourne. The fact that the beach is a ten minute walk away and a half hour train ride will get you to the CBD means I have no problems understanding why they have settled there or offering to dog sit for them the next time I am in Melbourne!

At stupid o’clock on Thursday morning and I was on my way again. I was concerned about my bus journey due to my tickets being changed without a fresh ticket being reissued but I worried needlessly. My bus arrived in Melbourne and left promptly with me on board on my way to Sydney once more. I did have to disembark at Canberra and then re-embark the very same bus but I got the same seat back and I didn’t have to share it at any point in the journey which is always nice. I can safely say I have only nice things to say about Greyhound Australia and their lovely staff who made sure I got to Sydney on time despite the flooding in Southern NSW and Northern Victoria.

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