Published: March 13th 2007March 5th 2007
The look on Gina’s face could have stopped a two-ton rhino at full sprint.
Minutes after checking into our accommodation in Robe, its position above a smoky pub unmentioned on the website, we realized that in true 1800s English lodge fashion that the bathroom was shared amongst guests and pub crawlers. I joked that Gina was in for the dorm experience she never had - unamused, she was eventually sporting about the situation.
We had spent our day meandering North from the Great Ocean Road towards Adelaide, stopping to frequent several wineries in the Coonawarra region. While the Australian wine industry has made inroads onto American tables within the past fifteen years, it isn’t until you experience the vastness of grape growing in the country to realize how wine is engrained in Australian culture. After tasting at several cellar doors
(tasting room), Gina and I stopped at Hollick Winery’s café for a tasty lunch of lamb confit on cous cous. Completely satiated by the combination of wine and food in our bellies, we began the trek towards Robe.
Departing Coonawarra, we were exposed to the enormity of nothingness that dominates Australia’s landscape. Having been spoiled by the
ocean vistas along the Great Ocean Road, we were awestruck by the dried shrub and decimated Earth that seemed endless as our kilometers ticked away. The only indication of an approaching coastline was a lone sand dune that slowly grew on the horizon after an hour.
Lugging our bags past the afternoon regulars swapping stories in the smoke-filled pub, Gina and I quickly realized that the Caledonian Inn was old. Cresting the summit of the staircase, we noticed a steep pitch in the floor and several doors out-of-plumb - including ours which sported a 1 inch gap at the top and looked to be an original from 1882. Barring the lack of commode, the room was pleasant and immediately comforting.
We set out for dinner a few minutes before 6 P.M. and to our disappointment found a majority of restaurants served the typical ex-British colony fare: fish and chips, other various fried items and pies (essentially, flaky dough wrapped around anything). All hope was lost until we found a promising, albeit expensive, menu directly across from our hotel. Finding the door open, though restaurant empty, Gina and I walked inside. A blonde behind the counter gave us an
inquisitive look, “May I help you?”
“Yes, we’d like to have dinner.”
“I’m sorry, we’re not open for dinner until 6 P.M.,” she respond.
Simultaneously, we looked at our wristwatches and exchanged stink-eye. Noticing our bewilderment, the woman behind the counter asked if we had come over the border today. “I guess,” I confessed.
“Oh, then you probably don’t know that we’re a half hour behind Victoria.”
Retreating to the street, we found the absurdity of a half hour time difference too much to weather and ventured on until finding a welcoming Chinese restaurant. Like any good entrepreneur, they were more concerned about our money than some invisible line in the space-time continuum.
There are more photos below