September 23, 2016

22 Sep cont & 23 September – Penang

21 Sep 2016

Red Garden

Had dinner at Red Garden, which is not far from the E&O. It is a group of eateries undercover with a cheesy singer that starts around 9pm. The music before was more enjoyable even though it was the 1950s and 60s. The entertainer’s music sounded all the same with the same beat. He did sing but it didn’t improve much.

The food was very good though. We both sampled a few dumplings then had chicken biryani. It was cheap. They obviously make their money on the beer which cost more than both meals!

22 Sep 2016

Breakfast outside at Sarkies this morning. I found bircher muesli and tried some of the pastries. Trying to pace myself through all the choices.

The maps for tourists are not very accurate and don’t have all streets marked. Peter mapped a route out for the day. We found the Blue Mansion, which is quite spectacular and not very far from E&O. They have very strict on times so we had to be there before 11am. The guide was very thorough and so enthusiastic about her subject. The original owner, Cheong Fatt Tze, had 7 wives and travelled extensively after coming to Penang as a 16-year-old and building his fortune. The mansion has a unique way to course water from the roof through the house into courtyard pools and out again to keep it cool. There is a sweet spot (chi/feng shui) in the middle of the house, which has special properties. Amazing things happen there apparently. The original blue colour is from indigo. Brochure says the tour lasts 3/4 hour but we were there much longer. Very impressive!

On to the cemeteries but first a stop at Olive for a drink and to cool down. The Protestant cemetery is where English settlers from the 1800s are buried. On the far side of the brick wall is the Roman Catholic cemetery. Many hanging vines and and ferns over gnarled old frangipani trees.

Walked a long way down Northam Road trying to find Fatty Loh’s for lunch. As I said before the maps are not very accurate  and certainly not to scale. We ended up trying Ban Heang on the way back to the hotel. I had laksa, Peter had popcorn chicken!

Caught up on my blogging (see above) and then went for a dip in the waterfront pool, which has just re-opened after some water damage from the sea. Very relaxing! Views out to sea and along the foreshore. Read my book and lazed around the pool for a while before Peter came down to join me.

Off to Sarkies for the buffet dinner. Way too much food but didn’t enjoy it as much as breakfast.

September 22, 2016

22 Sep 2016 Penang

Tried out the spectacular buffet breakfast at the E&O. Everything you could possibly imagine is included. Except perhaps bacon! Walked around the hotel then up Penang Rd. Peter bought a hat (another one) and I tried on a top but didn’t get it. Caught the CAT bus at Komptar. Got off and looked around Fort Cornwallis, strong coffee at the cafe in there, then along the foreshore to see the Buddy Bears that are touring as a symbol of peace. The one from Australia is done by Ken Done and has the Opera House on it! Back to the hotel for a rest. I’m catching up with my blogging. Trying to emulate the writers that have stayed at the E&O! Maybe I’ll get rich. Although I don’t think any writers get particularly rich with just writing.

September 22, 2016

21 Sep 2016 Melbourne to Penang

Very excited to be travelling to Penang to meet Peter, especially as I travelled Business Class. Malaysia Airlines accepted my bid to upgrade. Dinner in Footscray with Shaun, Craig and Gilda before being driven to the airport. No big queues. Second in line. Plenty of time to check out the business lounge. I could have had a free dinner in there! Grabbed some free water then off to the gate and straight through to my fully reclining seat on the plane. What luxury! I could definitely get used to it. Tucked up in the doona I slept nearly all the way. Up for breakfast of fruit, yoghurt, croissant and tomato omelette.

Found the local Malaysia Airlines business lounge in KL and had another small breakfast and watched the planes out the window until my flight to Penang.

Straight onto the plane again for the short flight. Shepherds pie with a Lindt chocolate for the meal. No customs to speak of in Penang but I had a hard time finding where to get a taxi. You need to buy a ticket inside the airport then go outside and find the taxi stand. My taxi driver was full of information for my stay. Very helpful on what to do and how to find the hotel when walking.

Took a stroll around the Eastern & Oriental Hotel, very swish, then walked up Penang Rd to Komptar to get my bearings. Plenty of shops, money change places, taxis. Footpath leaves  lot to be desired though. On the map the road is straight but it is definitely not! You need to keep crossing over to be able to keep going.

Caught the free CAT bus at Komptar just in time to avoid a drenching shower. No raincoat or umbrella. It was packed with locals but I did get a look around without getting wet. The driver chucked everyone off once it got to the bus stop at the jetty. Just waited for the next one to get closer to the hotel then walked the rest of the way.

Freshened up at the hotel then waited for Peter to arrive. Read a lot of my book. He didn’t get in until about 6.30pm. Showed him around a bit then had dinner at Sarkies at the hotel.

 

June 9, 2016

9 Jun 2016 Melbourne, Daylesford, Castlemaine to Maryborough

Thank goodness the rain stopped by this morning so Craig could put my bike in the car without getting drowned. I set off for Daylesford to catch up with Fiona and retrieve my glasses that I left at her place in April. We had a couple of coffees at Frangos and could have talked all day if I didn’t have to keep going and she needed to volunteer in the op shop. I continued my journey to what I thought should have been Castlemaine but actually I had booked RJs B&B in Maryborough! No wonder I couldn’t find the address in Castlemaine.  No harm done. I made it to Maryborough just in time to have a late lunch after checking in.

A walk around the town led me to a craft shop and a quick browse for a couple of bargains of course. On to Lake Victoria for a browse among the bird life. Only up the road from the B&B really. The path meanders around the lake passing the caravan park and a footy oval including a rotunda and grandstand. Pictured are the commemorative main gates of Princes Park.IMG_8954

October 27, 2015

22 to 27 October 2015 Byron to Melbourne

22 Oct 2015 Farmers’ market-lunch at Mokha-Kirtan singing
This morning we all met at the Farmers’ Market in Byron Bay to have a look around and get coffee! It is heaps bigger than any of the farmers’ markets in Melbourne with a wide variety of fruit and veg, juices, muesli and more. Back to Evans St for yoga them off to Mokha Cafe for lunch and catch up on emails, pay bills. I was there a good couple of hours and they never kicked me out! Craig contacted the family to let us know Ben is not doing very well and he didn’t think he would last the weekend. It is very sad. He is staying at Peel St with Gilda to look after him. No one else is at home.

Back to Evans St for yoga again and dinner. Special performance of Kirtan singing with Jo and Mal. Joe plays an Indian instrument and a harmonian and sings/chants. Mal plays the flute beautifully. Together they are an unusual pair. We just sat or lay back to enjoy it. They also did a performance at the Lotus Palace that some of us went to on Sunday. A late night conference on Facebook with the family decided we would see how Ben is on Friday and ask the vet for advice. We are all very sad he has gone downhill so fast.

23 Oct 2015 Massage-Treehouse restaurant
Yoga at 9.30am after a relaxing breakfast. Quick check to see how Ben is and Craig says he has improved a bit and is moving around a bit better today. The vet says that is really good so we will wait and see how he progresses. Lunch at Twisted Sista today. Had to be quick to come back for a massage at 1.15pm at Evans St. It is such a luxury to have a masseur on-site! Waiting for yoga at 4.30pm then we walk to dinner at the Treehouse along the beach. Probably take an hour.

The walk along the beach to the Treehouse was great. We walked towards the sunset with surfers skimming the waves on our right and the changing foreshore on the left. The sand was squeaky as well as clean and it was hard going until we got to the wet bit close to the water. The Treehouse in Belongil was a cool place with lots of people eating in the open air. Too bad our meals took ages. My salmon was good but other meals were not so great. The singer was good. Formerly on a talent show. Walking back in the dark was a challenge but we made it by about 11pm – late for most of us.

24 Oct 2015 Leaving Evans St
Very sad to be leaving the yoga retreat. It has been a fabulous experience, one I want to repeat next year! I rode to Ruth’s place while my bags hitched a ride with the others in a car. Unfortunately they went all the way to the airport because I never thought to get them out! No harm done. I rode to the Roadhouse cafe along Bangalow Rd away from Byron Bay. It is a quirky place with heaps of atmosphere and massive prices! Back to take my stuff to Jade’s place. She was still cleaning up so I went for a ride to through Arakwal National Park. It was a trial to get to the start near the side streets around where Ruth’s place is but I made it. There are side trips to Tallow Beach where you can hear the pounding surf and Tallow Creek. The track lead to Byron High School on Bangalow Rd so I rode back to the Roadhouse where Heather, Mike and Chris were about to have lunch so I joined them for fish tacos – much nicer than at the Treehouse last night.

Back for a shower then yoga with Ruth and Chris at the Byron Yoga Centre taken by Davina who Ruth says is divine! She certainly was challenging and I am a bit stiff still. Ruth invited me to dinner for pasta with pesto made by Peter. It was delicious with potato salad and tomato salad shared with Chris, Heather and Mike. Christine starts her road trip home tomorrow. Prepared for my trip to Murwillumbah tomorrow then off to bed.

25 Oct 2015 Byron to Murwillumbah
Up early to catch the Premier bus to Murwillumbah at the Information Centre in Byron Bay. Quick coffee and the bus was early! Only took 3/4 hour. Phil picked me up at the bus station, which used to be the train station. On to see Barb who is in Murwillumbah hospital after having a stroke 2 weeks ago. Thankfully she is on the mend and should be out by this Friday. Phil took me to their place in Dungay after having coffee and carrot cake at the Red Rattlers Gallery, which is not far away. Bought some early Christmas presents. After a sandwich Phil took me to see Olive who was a bit wary of me again. Oh well, I tried! Time for the bus back to Byron Bay then.

Dinner was at Bombay to Byron, Indian of course. Chicken tikka masala was very tasty. Time to see a local production of Cats at the Byron Community Centre. Left at interval though. It was not really my cup of tea.

26 Oct 2015 Breakfast with Tory-Lighthouse walk
Breakfast with Tory at Dip cafe on Lawson St. It was great to catch up with her. She was astounded at what has happened at Legacy. At the moment Tory is working two jobs – cleaning houses during the day and graphic design at night – to go overseas at the end of the year. So glad we found some time. She hasn’t changed a bit.

Walked to the lighthouse again and took the guided tour again. Learnt a few more interesting facts such as Tallow Beach is named after the cargo of a shipwreck there. Walked down through the bush to where the track ended at Lees Rd near Captain Cook Lookout – only it is overgrown and the view is not very clear! Had gnocchi for lunch at Byron Beach Cafe overlooking the beach. Bit expensive but good spot.

Dropped off my bike to Ruth’s. She was busy cleaning up and getting ready to see Mike and Heather who have moved closer to the lighthouse. Had a very welcome shower and started to make a cup of tea when Ruth called to say Mike and Heather were having dinner at the Balcony and did I want to go. Yes I did! They picked me up and Heather forcefully got a spot on the balcony where we had tapas once again. It really is a beautiful spot to eat or just sit. They showed me their apartment, which is 2-bedroom on Lighthouse Rd called Julians. Great spot with all mod cons you might need.

27 Oct 2015
Cleaned up my stuff and went for walk after breakfast to the entrance of Arakwal National Park. Same place we started the silent meditation walk. Ruth came over to say goodbye. She goes home tomorrow. Jade came down to wait for the bus. She really is very sweet. I have had a great time and is so sad but good to be going home.

October 22, 2015

13 to 21 October – Melbourne to Byron Bay

12 Oct 2015 Melbourne Airport
Stayed at Ibis Budget Hotel the night before my flight. It certainly was budget! No lift. Tiny shower/toilet. Basin didn’t fit in the bathroom. No tea/coffee in room. There was free wifi but I was too tired to use it. The bonus was a short walk the next morning to check in at Jetstar.

13 Oct 2015 Melbourne to Byron Bay
Up at 6.30am to get a plane at 8.35am. Checking in online and having the boarding pass sent to my phone was a timesaver. Enough time to have breakfast and catch up on my emails/Facebook after walking the long haul to Gate 30.
Caught an earlier bus to the accommodation, which was a bonus. Didn’t have to wait an hour for the one I booked. Only half an hour to Shelley Ave to meet Jade, my host for the first few days. She has a very steep driveway but the view is lovely. My room is lovely too and has a great view as well. The bathroom next door is handy.
Had a cup of tea with Jade and we chatted about our lives a little. Then I went for a walk, more like mountain climb! It is very hilly and the roads a very windy. Found Top Shop Cafe for lunch which was starting to fill up when I got there. It’s about halfway to the Byron Bay shops and beach from where I’m staying. Continued on to the shopping centre and found a nightie in the op shop for $2.50. Forgot to bring a summer one! Walked along the Byron Bay foreshore towards the lighthouse. Didn’t quite make it though. The thunder and lightning had me scurrying back to cover. Dinner was in ‘Earth and Sea’ Pizza and Pasta for vegetarian lasagne with salad. Very filling and tasty. Thought I would never get back to Shelley Ave. I was so tired by then. It was also getting dark and beginning to rain again. Made it by 7.30pm for a welcome shower and rest.

14 Oct 2015 Shelley Drive to Byron Bay Lighthouse
Slept well. Up by 8am and off to Top Shop for muesli, fruit and yoghurt. Straight along Massinger St to the coast and the walk to Byron Bay lighthouse. It was worth the walk. Waited for a guided tour by a volunteer. He was very knowledgeable and told us that the lighthouse is automatically run from Canberra now, along with every Australian lighthouse. They know when to replace a bulb or a machine needs maintenance. The lighthouse has recently been renovated including the paint stripped off internal walls and all internal fittings removed for repainting. There was a film crew doing a fashion shoot while I waited for the tour. The view from the top is spectacular. Even saw some dolphins playing in the surf. Made me want to go for a sea kayak so I booked on the way back into town for Friday morning. Had lunch at The Pass on the way down after passing the most easterly point in Australia. Saw some sea eagles soaring above the point and also a lizard, as well as the usual bush turkeys and ibis. Also booked a bus trip to Murwillumbah on Sun 25 October to see Phil and Barb and Olive at the Information Centre. Bought a top for the sea kayaking at Lifeline Op Shop.

Went back to Shelley Drive to freshen up and read a patchwork magazine I’d bought. Ruth popped in to say hello and invited me to dinner at the Railway Hotel. Peter (her husband) fixed up a bike and we all rode there. Another couple of their friends joined us there (Heather). I had a salmon salad and the others had fish and chips. A singer started at 7pm and we listened for a while. After a quick stop at the supermarket we headed home in the dark. A bit hairy but much quicker than walking.

Off to the farmers market and breakfast at Ruth’s place tomorrow.

15 Oct 2015 Byron Bay Farmers Market
Over to Ruth’s for breakfast. Had to wake them all up as they slept in. Helped myself to tea while they got ready. Muesli, yoghurt and milk, with sour dough toast for breakfast. Late start to the farmers market for a browse with a stop for coffee to peruse the scenery and colourful characters of Byron Bay. Left Ruth, Peter, Heather and Mike and rode off on my own to get a feel for the place on a bike. Found a path that went past Cumbebin Swamp Nature Reserve, saw a royal spoonbill , over Belongil Creek, past Byron Arts & Industry Estate (not impressed) and ended at Byron Regional Sports & Cultural Complex, which was a bit of a non-event. Back the same way into Byron Bay for lunch at Mokha, a look at the art display at the library and back to Shelley Drive to freshen up for yoga later in the afternoon.

Peter drove Ruth, Heather and I to yoga at Purna, a training school for yogis. It lasted 1 1/2 hours but didn’t see that long. It was the instructors first time and they took turns taking different sections of the class. They were very attentive and helpful but not very loud and I couldn’t hear some of the instructions. Back to Ruth’s place for pasta and salad from the farmer’s market. I brought a bottle of wine and chocolate for dessert.

16 Oct 2015 Go Sea kayaking
Hayley picked me up from Shelley Drive for my sea kayaking adventure from Byron bay beach. Some instructions on what to do/not to do and how to do it first. Getting in and out of the water was the hardest part. I got onto the kayak and then got dumped off. Paddled out towards Julian Rocks. Saw some dolphins frolicking. In the distance we saw whales flapping their dorsal fins. Then spotted a mother and baby not far away. We paddled a bit closer and waited a while. The baby came closer and mum slapped him with her dorsal fin to tell him off. They both swam past us within a few metres. It was an amazing experience. They are so large but so gentle and seemed to know we meant them no harm. On the way back in some dolphins swam beside us as an escort. Dominic and I were first to paddle back to the beach. We caught a wave and then got dumped by it. All part of the fun. We weren’t the worst at it watching everyone else get back in.

Got dropped off at Top Shop and had lunch before walking back to Shelley Drive the shorter, flat way. Read for a while and fell asleep. Dropped in to Ruth’s place for a cup of tea before riding to the Beach Hotel for a drink then dinner at Asia Joe’s for dinner with Ruth, Peter, Mike, Heather and Christine who has just joined them.

17 Oct 2015 Mullumbimby market to Evans St
Get up at 7am to pack and move lodgings today to give Jade a go at cleaning my room. Nola Wilson and Peter’s sister, Liz are moving in and I am moving to the yoga house at 17 Evans St, which is not far away but closer to Byron Bay shops. I have breakfast at Ruth’s place. More participants arrive and most of them go to Mullumbimby market to kill time as we can’t get into the yoga house before 2pm. It is quaint with a band playing 70s songs. I get a samosa and salad and sit for a while after looking around the stalls. Nothing catches my eye and the others don’t buy anything except lunch as well.

By the time we get back it is well after 2pm so grab our cases and check out the yoga house. I am on the 1st floor at the end of the hallway on a corner in a single room. The house is enormous with 5 bedrooms, two have shower and toilet. It overlooks the Byron Bay lighthouse and the view is very good except it looks like a fire has been through as the vegetation is black and only just starting to revegetate. First yoga is at 4.30pm for 1.5 hours. I go for a quick walk down a track outside the house for half an hour as I haven’t had much exercise today. By the time I get back dinner is underway. Dahl with rice and tomatoes with yoghurt. Delicious and filling. Dessert is a berry sorbet. After dinner we have candle gazing but the music stops and says ‘charge battery’ and everyone kills themselves laughing. That’s the end of that! People staying with Ruth and at Jade’s place leave and the four of us are by ourselves. It is very quiet. I find a book and take myself off to bed.

18 Oct 2015 Evans St to foreshore/Lotus Palace
Breakfast at Evans St was a mix of seeds, cranberry juice and lots of other good things made by Ruth. Yoga at 9.30am then off to get ‘my’ bike from Ruth’s place for a ride along the foreshore and lunch at Succulent (Spanish omelette). Get dinner provisions from Woolworths and start back to Shelley Drive for a massage but it’s cancelled because Claire is running late. Back to Evans St instead for a walk to Tallow Beach. I saw a wallaby! And a bush turkey on the way. The beach goes forever and the track is very windy. Back for a shower and yoga at 4.30pm. Off to the Lotus Palace at Purna for chanting and people watching. I am drawn back to the 1970s flower power and hippie culture. Been there done that! When we had enough Barb, Jo, Liz, Veronica and Barb and I went to the Railway Hotel for a drink and something to eat. It was very enlightening. Music was a big contrast to what we’d just come from but more enjoyable.

19 Oct 2015 Barbecue at Wategos Beach
Breakfast at Evans St then yoga and a ride to the shopping centre. Lunch at Fishheads on the foreshore was beef cheeks that were delicious. Pity the view was marred by the carpark. A cruise along Jonson St to check out the shops properly was on the agenda as I haven’t done it properly yet. Didn’t buy anything but I did have a massage done at Shelley Drive by Claire who was very good. Dozed off towards the end. Then I had to ride back to Evans St for a quick shower before yoga at 4.30pm. Dinner was a barbecue on Wategos Beach. Tofu and tempeh delights with salads and dips. Rode part of the way with Nola and Liz to the Pass then walked along the gorgeous foreshore. Pity we didn’t remember a torch for the walk back! It was a bit dark. Nola got our her banjolele for a sing-song for half an hour before bed. She really is a scream!

20 Oct 2015 Silent walking meditation
Early breakfast so we could go on a silent meditation walk along Tallow beach in Arakwal National Park. It was a very narrow, sandy track but no need to rush. We were spread out a fair way. Some of us saw a wallaby looking at us then he bounded away. The beach is so long; it seems to go on forever. We walked towards the lighthouse, which looked like it had a haze around it. I think it was seaspray. Back into the scrub and we came out at near The Pass. Had coffee and a piece of carrot cake that took forever to be toasted. It was tasty though. I showed Barb back to Evans St then changed for the beach and walked back towards Tallow Beach from the house. Nearly there when a small snake was in my way on the track. It wouldn’t move even though I stamped my feet and threw something near it, so I turned around and went back the way I had come. Rode to the main beach on the bike. Played in the water for a little while. The waves are enormously strong. It would be so easy to get swept out to sea. Sat on the sand reading for a bit and watching the scenery. Back for a shower and group dinner of soup and salad with kimchi (yuk). The entertainment for the night was singing bowls. They are made of quartz crystal and are played by rubbing or tapping them with a padded stick. There were about 8-10 of varying sizes. The deeper noises hurt my ears and I kept hearing a noise like a fire alarm, which was very off-putting. The others seemed to enjoy the singing bowls very much except Heather who has electrodes in her head and they gave her a headache. She has Parkinsons Disease. Will see if the singing bowls have a belated effect on my wellbeing!

21 Oct 2015
Rest day at Crystal Castle
Trisha, Christine, Veronica, Cath and I ventured out to Crystal Castle near Mullumbimby in Christine’s car. There are crystals everywhere in an extensive garden that includes many statues, a labyrinth, lotus pool, bamboo avenue, rainforest walk, crystal gallery and much more. Cath and Trisha have their fortune told and all the others listen to the singing bowls again. I wander around the buddha temple and rainforest and have a coffee milk shake and cake in the cafe then read next to the labyrinth until they finish. They come away all giggly like they have been smoking something suspect. It is really very odd. Then have no energy to walk back to the car. Must have been the double dose of the singing bowls. We make it back in time for me to join Mike, Heather, Jo and Claire to go to The Balcony for dinner and drinks. It really is a lovely venue. We share tapas and chat for a while actually on the balcony, which is quite wide and looks still original like the rest of the building.

September 21, 2015

20 Sep 2015 Barwon River Trail and Geelong Botanic Gardens

Down Pakington St in Newtown to Winter’s Cafe for great muesli with yoghurt and fruit. At the end of Pakington St is an entrance to the Barwon River trail. It is very steep but the ride around the river is flat with hardly any hills. The weather was foggy as I had breakfast but by the time I had finished there was brilliant sunshine. Perfect for bike riding. If you go as far as possible the round trip is about 20kms. Just before I got back to the start in Pakington St there is a cafe, Barwon Edge Boathouse, where I stopped for lunch. The place was packed with people, kids, bikes. No wonder on such a beautiful day.
Left the cafe and went back to the motel for a short stop to drop off my wind cheater. Really didn’t need it today. Then straight down Ryrie St to the Geelong Botanic Gardens. There are three sections to the gardens: the 21st Century at the entrance, which is Australian plants; then through the iron gateway to the heritage gardens started in the 1800s. Attractions include urns and fountains through the middle walkway, Geelong’s tiny first customs house towards the rear where the stork sculptures rest (brought to Geelong in 1880s). It is also where the National Trust-listed gingko biloba tree has been living since 1859. The begonia house is worth a look when the blooms are out. Near the kiosk is a fern garden and camellia walk plus plenty of lawn for lounging on a picnic blanket. Spent some time on a seat near the fernery watching a blackbird picking through the leaf mulch. It was very pleasant.
Back to the motel for a well-deserved shower and rest then off to dinner at Khan Curry Hut in Ryrie St, just a couple of blocks away. The fish masala was supposedly mild but not to me! It was good anyway.
Home tomorrow. Short but sweet break!
September 21, 2015

19 Sep 2015 Melbourne to Geelong

Caught the Vline train to Geelong this afternoon. Made a quick decision to get away this morning. Peter was going to a 50th birthday party and I didn’t really want to join him. Good chance to get my head away from work.

Booked into the Aberdeen Motor Inn after a quick trip in the train. Not far from Geelong station, which is why I picked it. It is very cheap but unfortunately that attracts the wrong crowd. Think I will be woken up late/early tonight when the derros get back.
Did my usual reconnaissance walk to see what is close by. Unfortunately most things, including the foreshore, are about 2kms away. Good that I will get a lot of walking/riding in though. Found the Information Centre on Brougham St just before it was closing. Got a great brochure on walking trails but by the time I got back to the motel it was gone! Oh well the Barwon River trail is not far away. Should be able to find it tomorrow.
Walked down to the Geelong foreshore along from the Western part to Eastern beach. It was a beautiful day and I took many photos. So many colourful bollards of local characters scattered along the trail. Cunningham Pier was where I started. Walked past the Geelong Yacht Club, Fishermen’s Pier, Le Parisien, Eastern Beach promenade with children’s pool. Much the same as when my family went there in school holidays. Spruced up a bit since then though.
Back to the motel for a short rest and a search for somewhere to have dinner. The Elephant and Castle looks not far away and I aim for that. Food is great but it is further than I thought. Beef bourginon and cheese cake were worth going out of my way for. Needed the extra walk to get rid of the dinner.
June 28, 2015

28 June 2015 Craft Alive and walk in Bendigo

Breakfast this morning was at Basement on View, which is underneath the Bendigo Art Gallery next to the Capital Theatre. I was the first one there at 9am when they opened. It is a lovely space with vintage crockery and bric-a-brac displayed.

Off to Craft Alive again to revisit the artisans I met on Friday. There was also a gymkhana on in the middle of the oval as well as the Bendigo market and Silvers Circus on all at the Prince of Wales Showgrounds in Nth Bendigo. The place was crawling with people, especially as the sun had come out.
Duncan the bootmaker looks like he comes from a different era but he can’t be more than 40-ish. I joined a kumihimo demonstration to see if I was missing any tricks. Easybeads sell some strong glue for attaching findings so i bought some! I watched Katies Patchwork make the quick block that I saw in Melbourne at a craft show. After wandering around a bit I went over to the market for a look around. There was an awful lot of secondhand goods over there. Lunch of a cup of soup and bread for $4 was the bargain of the day.
Back to Craft Alive and the world record attempt for the most people crocheting at once. It was a long drawn-out affair waiting for everything to be ready then actually crocheting continuously for 15 minutes. I did meet a lot of nice people though. One of them coached me in crocheting skills as I was a bit rusty. Unfortunately we were 12 short of a record, which was only about 400 people. All the squares are going to charities anyway.
Had enough craftiness for one weekend so I went for a stroll around Bendigo. There are some very imposing buildings, all built on money from gold I’m betting. Sacred Heart Cathedral is one imposing structure, also the Town Hall, former School of Mines and Mechanics Institute. Some I didn’t note what they were.
On the way back I took a walk through the fernery at Rosalind Gardens, which is a tribute to ‘All Good Mothers’ from 1953. There was quite a bit of dry stone walling, a small waterfall, a couple of bridges over pools of water. It was very peaceful except for the splashing water.
Now where will I go for dinner tonight?
June 28, 2015

27 June 2015 North and south on the Bendigo Creek Trail

I started today with breakfast at Finders Keepers in Mitchell St. There was a bunch of bike riders there already so I thought the food should be okay. My usual muesli with fruit and yoghurt was good. Off to get the bike and onto the Bendigo Creek Trail starting in Rosalind Park, not far from where I’m staying in View St. The trail passes the Golden Dragon Museum on the far side of the park then comes to Lake Weeroona not far along. White Hills cemetery is worth a look with over 1000 Chinese buried there from Gold Rush times. I crossed over the creek to get to the Bendigo Botanic Gardens, which is small but most plants are labelled and they also have a bird aviary, unfortunately closed on the weekends. I did see there were some multi-coloured birds in there though. The path ends in Epsom where there is a shopping centre but the cafe leaves much to be desired!
After lunch I returned into Bendigo and continued on the trail south. It is not very clear through the middle of the city but I did find the path along Oscars Walk next to the Bendigo Bank. It passes Central Deborah Mine and the Talking Tram Depot. Rotary Gateway Park is picturesque with a lake and plenty of bird life, also a BMX track. It ends at Crusoe Reservoir in Kangaroo Flat and the opportunity to continue around the massive body of water. I had had enough by then and headed back into Bendigo. By the time I got back I’d cycled around 40kms!
Dinner was at the Shamrock Hotel with a delicious piece of swordfish and choc mint ripple cake for dessert. Very indulgent.