Welcome to 2012 and the start of the Australian travel adventure. I have left Leeton, the Fruitshack, and Mick's Bakehouse behind. To start off my trip my friend from England, Emma, and I have travelled down the Hume highway in her little 1987 Plymouth. We stopped in Albury for a few days and saw Hume Lake and the Murray River. Another fellow Fruitshacker, Andy, accompanied us for 3 days in Albury. He intended to travel to Melbourne with us for the New Years festivities, but when we told him he would have to help us pay for the camp site we had booked he decided to part company with us and hitchhike to Sydney instead. He said he would try to join us in a week for the Great Ocean Road part of our trip.
So Emma and I continued into Melbourne to find out tourist park where we intended to pitch our tent for 36 dollars a night ($18 a peice!). Emma gets a little stressed driving in the city so we pulled over a few times to look at the map and ask directions. I suggested that next time we might want to look at
the road map before commencing the drive. We finally found our camp site and got settled for the night. I personally hate driving, especially in a country such as Australia that drives on the opposite side of the road than I am used to. They have weird round abouts here that I have trouble navigating even when there aren't any other cars around. Under normal circumstances I wouldn't consider driving into the city when it is so much easier to take the bus. But Emma already had a car and she offered to take me with her. It is a lot cheaper to camp and split the costs between two people, and I am sure you know that I enjoy saving money where ever I can, but I do not recommend driving in an unfamiliar country if there are better alternatives.
The next day was New Year's Eve, so we made a visit to the tourist information office and saw the National Gallery of Victoria's Australian art museum. Then we settled down to enjoy the fireworks and preceding entertainment in Federation Square. About 11 oclock it occured to that the buses might now be running all night, so I
asked Emma if she would mind leaving a bit early to get the last bus. She said she was sure that the buses would be running late on New Year's Eve and she didn't want to miss the countdown and fireworks. After the firworks (which were pretty underwhellming from the percpective of someone who has seen 4th of July fireworks in Illinois) we discovered that we had missed the bus. We discussed what to do, get a taxi, wait in a resteraunt until the busses started running again? We ran into another group of ladies that were having the same problem. They offered to show us which train would go to our neighborhood and then one of the ladies offered to give us a ride back to our campsite when she discovered that it was very close to where she lived. She didn't mention that we would be walking for about an hour from the train station to her home, and not arriving back to the camp site until 4 am but still this is better than waiting up all night at the local 24 hour McDonalds. I am not sure what the moral of this story is, other than
if you want to see good fireworks for New Year go to Sydney instead of Melbourne.
The next few days we enjoyed in Melbourne were very nice. Melbourne is a beautiful city. It is full of art and parks and pretty views wherever you are. The suburb, Warrendyte, we stayed in is near the Yarra Valley and it's all rolling hills and fancy houses. There are ton of Museums visit and shops to see. I enjoy going to the shops to look at all the interesting clothes and things there are to buy. I don't like or need to buy them, I just enjoy looking at them. How would I carry them anyway? I would have to throw something else away. I tried not to take Emma with me, though because she loves to spend money too much.
The next things on the list are Phillip Island and the Great Ocean Road! I will be suprised if we can manage to navigate it without problems.
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