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Showing posts from 2022

Batemans Bay

A long weekend and B just wants to get out of the house. Having gone off on my own little adventures lately I can hardly refuse, but the accommodation is mostly either crappy motels or way too expensive. The only one we find is a three-star hotel at Batemans Bay.  We drive down. I'm more interested in listening to ABC Classic FM's Classic 100 countdown of film, television and game soundtracks. I can't figure out how to set the car's GPS while we are on the move. Eventually I setup a second phone to use Android Auto. Can't use mine, I'm using an app to listen to the countdown. At Ulladulla, we stop for some fish and chips and a seafood basket for lunch. Then onwards! It isn't far to Batemans Bay. The hotel is really a motel, but furnished really nicely, which suits us perfectly. We take a stroll along the river and towards the town, past the sculptures. The outgoing river water fights with the incoming waves from the strong winds off the coast. The shops alon

Return: Daylight XPT to Sydney

I'm on my way home. If this train is one time then it is less than one and a half hours until I get off this daylight XPT service from Melbourne to Sydney.  Only it's not daylight any longer. There is nothing to see out the window but blackness.  I should have flown, had tickets to fly. The sky seemed calm, a day between the fierce fronts past and future. Contrails show the way.  But it was a late night, a too early morning, and the train was already at the station, no further effort required. Also it is a chance to relax. I snooze, listen to the soundtracks to the Star Wars prequels, watch Solo on my phone.  Unlike the journey down I do not attempt to connect to the Internet bar a brief check now and then.  All the while the countryside rolls past. The outskirts of Melbourne, the country towns and cities, rolling fields and clouds drifting past beneath a silver sky of ice crystals.  This time I do not force myself to absorb all the details. Now and then I notice. A historic to

Daylight XPT to Melbourne

I have caught the train between Sydney and Melbourne many times before, even back to the Southern Aurora as a seven year old, but never have I ridden the day service between Australia's largest cities. Today I changed that. My celebrations of composer John Williams' 90th birthday continue with another concert by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Only the Sydney Symphony appears to be without a dedicated John Williams concert this year and that means that I have to travel. I already drove to Melbourne for one concert in February , missing out on Adelaide's, and up to Brisbane . I also drove to Adelaide and Melbourne on the school holidays. That's enough driving. So here I am in the train. I'm not used to getting out of bed before 7 AM now. Neither have I had to pack light for a while. With a car you can just toss everything in the boot, but I want to travel only with cabin baggage. For the train it is only supposed to be 5 kilograms in weight, but I know they won'

Not so Smart

After spending the night on the apartment couch, while B and Alex had the queen bed, it is time to leave Canberra and begin our journey home. So as not to entirely waste a visit to the city, we first make a stop at the National Gallery of Australia.  Alex wanted to revisit the War Memorial, but due to a spectacularly senseless reconstruction it is even more restricted than before. Unfortunately, at the brutalist concrete gallery there are no tickets to the Jeffrey Smart exhibition until too late in the afternoon. At this point Alex let's us know that he is currently studying Smart's art at school, which just frustrates us further. Nonetheless, we decide to have a wander at the rest of the free exhibitions at the gallery. I love a good art gallery. There are few places more relaxing and yet stimulating as a gallery. The selection is very different to our last visit and I feel like I have changed too. The staid old classic styles no longer hold my interest as much as

A wet drive to Canberra

We sadly say farewell to our room at the Pan Pacific and its wonderful view and drag our luggage to the car. I miss the entrance to the freeway on my first attempt, but after chucking a "u-ey" the escape from Melbourne proceeds relatively smoothly. It's raining fairly heavily once we are on the highway and the conditions require a lot of focus. At one point we see a Volkswagen SUV with police and other services in attendance. It has smashed into something on the median. Earlier, a car towing a caravan could be seen billowing smoke with the fire brigade helping a long delays for commuters heading south. I am not game to pull over into a service centre to grab breakfast, not in that rain, then need to deal with the same traffic again. Fortunately the rain abates as we approach Albury and the New South Wales border. We park near Myer in Albury and discover that Miss Amelie's deserves the awards for their pies when we take lunch there. Plus one last jelly slic

Sarawak laksa and bak kut teh

Travel is a series of quests for us. They give it structure and purpose even if the quests themselves are no more than a MacGuffin. The theme running through our Melbourne trip has been Malaysian food and, on our final day, I wanted to ensure we tried some more interesting dishes. For me it was Sarawak laksa. Then B asked about bak kut teh. Google seemed to know what we were thinking for it quickly autocompleted "best bak kut teh in Melbourne" and provided an answer: Bak Kut Teh King in Box Hill. Box Hill has the advantage of being accessible via public transport. We are sick of walking and a rail ride into the suburbs is just what we need. We catch a tram from the casino up the Stop 58: Box Hill Interchange. It's quite an interesting ride, out of the CBD past a fire station I suddenly recalled visiting on a school excursion, though multicultural Richmond and into wealthy old Kew. The ride takes an hour.  Box Hill is a very Asian area with lots of