Melbourne to Frankston and Back

Today was a bike riding day. Ever since Jim and I did our recent city tour bike ride,  I wanted to ride farther on the bike trail that we rode that follows the shore line of the bay. The weather guy on the evening news said that today was going to be the best day of the week, so off I went this morning. My destination was the town of Frankston, about 28 miles away. Frankston is the first town you come to when you drive to the Mornington Peninsula. On my trip to the Mornington Peninsula, I blew through Frankston on my way farther down the peninsula to Sorrento.

The first 15 miles were on wonderful bike trails, with beautiful bay views off to my right. The last 13 miles were on roads, some with bike lanes, others not. I was amazed at the number of riders out this morning and even on the busy road into Frankston, there were other riders around, and the car drivers drove like they were accustomed to sharing the road with bikers.

Frankston has a city pier that juts out into the bay and after riding out and back on that pier, I ate lunch at a restaurant right at the edge of the beach. Nice!

My return trip was uneventful, but I got pretty tired about 10 miles from home. This is by far the longest ride I’ve done since I rode RAGBRAI (the Iowa ride) last summer, so I stopped at a bench overlooking a lovely, deserted beach and the bay and ate an apple. I was revived to finish the ride!

Here are some scenes from today’s ride. I continue to feel so lucky to have this opportunity to live in Australia and see sights like these.

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Brave swimmers in the cool morning.

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Love these pine trees with the needles that grow up!

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Old pier pilings from days gone by.

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Pedestrian/bicycle bridge over a creek flowing in to the bay, Frankston, VIC.

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I forgot that when you order a lemonade in AU, you get Sprite!

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My resting bench before the final push home!

Jim has phone meetings for work at 10 PM tonight and 6 AM tomorrow with the Rochester people. I’m so tired I hope I sleep through both!

G’Day Mates!

Moving and Biking Day

This is a better formatted version of a blog post some of you may have received earlier. Sorry about the confusion, I am still learning how to use this program.

Today was the day we moved to a larger apartment, from the 5th floor to the 6th floor. This new apartment is wonderful and we will be much more comfortable here. If Jim wants to work from home some days, there is space for him to do that. We don’t have suitcases stored in the hall or duffle bags along the sliding glass doors anymore. Here are some photos from the new apartment:

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The living/dining room/kitchen area in our new place. To take this photo, I stood with my back against the glass doors to the balcony.

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A closer view of the kitchen~I may have to start cooking more regularly!

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View from the kitchen.

It was a beautiful morning in Melbourne and as I was moving stuff I kept thinking that it was a lovely day for a bike ride. So I quit working around noon, had a quick lunch, and then headed out on my bike. I rode an 8 mile stretch of the Yarra River/Capitol City Trail and then turned around and came home. Except for one road crossing to get to the trail, I never had to cross a road during that 8 mile stretch. The trail was in good condition, and in some places seemed to be fairly new. I went by some beautiful spots along the Yarra River, past a golf course and through several small parks. I even passed a brewery on the other side of the river, at least it smelled like a brewery!

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Yarra River

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White egret in the Yarra River

I was riding along through a rather urban area, when suddenly there was a field full of sheep! Then a field full of goats appeared, followed by a pasture with horses and cows! And all these fields were right up next to an elementary school! What was this about? I was riding through the Collingwood Children’s Farm! I wonder if the school children get to participate in any farming activities as part of their curriculum. What a great opportunity to do some hands-on farm chores! This farm also had a large garden area and a cafe that served up meals with very locally-sourced ingredients. Maybe I’ll have to make a return trip someday and stop for lunch!

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Not words I usually see on a bike trail!

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Sheep of the Day, at Collingwood Children’s Farm

I will leave you with a photo that I took from our balcony tonight as the sun set over Melbourne.

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Sunset over Melbourne. from our apartment balcony.

 

Touring the Countryside

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Jim perusing the merchandise at the Market.

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You could get lots of junk at this market, including the kitchen sink!

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Lake Daylesford, Daylesford, VIC

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Jim working the pump at one of the springs on Lake Daylesford.

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Wombat Flat, Lake Daylesford, with another spring water pump.

Today was a day with no definite agenda, but with some things we thought would be interesting. We left our hotel in Ballarat, heading for Daylesfords, where were read there was a large farmer’s market every Sunday morning. We arrived shortly after it opened and instead of farmers selling their fresh produce, it was more like a flea market! Not exactly what we were looking for, but interesting none the less. Jim actually found some very thin socks to wear with his biking shoes, which probably are a half size too small! We had hoped to get breakfast at this market, but that was not to be so we headed back to Main Street, Daylesford and walked around until we found a small cafe that seemed to be doing a good business and went in and got the last table. We enjoyed a good breakfast and then continued our walk around Daylesford. Apparently this is a very popular little town, a destination town of sorts, and as the morning wore on, the streets and sidewalks got very crowded. A very helpful woman at the local Information Center gave us good info about a couple of places we wanted to get to and pointed out a small lake on the edge of town which had a nice trail around it. So off we went to get some exercise. The lake was beautiful and actually had some deciduous trees that were wearing their fall colors! It was like being in Rochester. . . in September! This area of Victoria, AU is famous for their mineral springs and our trail passed 2 such springs. We tried the water in each, but are not big fans of sparkling water. 

After our hike, we decided to find a cidery (think brewery, but with apples) that Tucker expressed an interest in seeing when he and Alison are here. This place was a few kilometers (clicks) outside of Daylesford and the GPS, which we’ve named Sheila, got us there. We walked into a lovely brick building and were greeted by the owner who told us his story of becoming a cider maker. He was born in Somerset, England, a big area for apples in the UK. He moved to Australia, practiced law for 30 years and went into the cider business when he retired. He and his 1,000 trees, produce 4 different types of cider, which in the USA would be called hard cider. We tasted all 4 and bought a bottle of each variety so Tucker and Alison can have a taste when they get here at the end of May. The guy was very interesting and I think Tucker would enjoy talking with him. 

We decided to head back to Melbourne in the middle of the afternoon since we still had things to do to get ready for tomorrow’s move and to get to a grocery store before it closed. We took a back road to get to the interstate and looked for kangaroos, but didn’t see any.

Here’s another Australian difference: Nobody puts their napkin on their lap. I would put my napkin on my lap and pretty soon the waiter would bring another and put it on the table next to me. If they don’t see the napkin on the table, they assume you have dropped it and need another. Ahhh, the things we are learning!

This was a big footy (Australian Rules Football) weekend here and we have watched a bit on TV. We are becoming fans of the game and hope to get to a match sometime this winter. 

G’Day Mates!

A Day in Ballarat

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Historic buildings in Ballarat

Ballarat, VIC – We had a slow start this morning, since it was the first time in awhile that we didn’t need an alarm! We walked from our hotel into the central business district where we found a place for brekky (breakfast). From there we went to the Optus store to have some phone questions answered. We made a stop at the Visitor Information Center and got some maps. We walked around the downtown area where there were many historic buildings that were built during the gold rush years, when this was a very wealthy area.

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Gold Mine Tower, Sovereign Hill, VIC

 

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Panning for gold. No luck, so Jim better get back to work!

Our reason for coming to Ballarat was to tour Sovereign Hill, a re-creation of a town during the hay day of the gold rush era. I love these kinds of places (Genesee Country Museum, Williamsburg, etc.) and this one did not disappoint. We got tickets to take a tour of one of the old gold mines and that was interesting, especially as we rode a tram down to the mine and experienced the sensation of total darkness. This mine tour only went to a depth of 65 feet, but it was deep enough to give us a feel of the life of a miner. The miners in this particular mine were well paid but had short life expectancies because of the dangerous nature of the work. We toured the schools, churches, shops and even a bowling alley type place. It was a beautiful day to be outside which added to our enjoyment.

 

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Olympic Park on Lake Wendouree, Ballarat, VIC.

After 4 hours at Sovereign Hill we walked back to our hotel where we changed into our biking clothes and got the bikes out of the boot of the car. We followed a bike route that toured 2 of Ballarat’s largest parks. The first park, Victoria Park, was a large space with footy and soccer fields, BBQ pits, and lots of green space. The second park was Lake Wendouree, or as Jim calls it, Lake Windouree, as it was terribly windy as we biked around the lake! This lake’s claim to fame as it was the site for the rowing and canoeing events in the 1956 Olympics that Melbourne hosted. It was way too windy for any boats to be out today, but we may drive by the lake in the morning as we leave town. We got 12 miles in on this ride, but it felt like more as we battled the wind.

 

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Shearer’s Pizza!

For dinner tonight, we went to Forge Pizza, a fairly new place in town. We tried to eat there last night, but without a booking (reservation) we were turned away. So we booked a table for tonight and had a delicious meal. I ordered a pizza named the Shearer and it came with pulled lamb, spinach, locally made goat cheese, red onion, and pine nuts! It was one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had.

 

Tomorrow we head north to Daylesford for their Sunday morning Farmer’s Market. After that we will explore some more of the small towns before heading back to Melbourne. We have to get back in time to do some packing as we are moving to a new apartment on Monday morning.

 Thanks for the comments! We love reading them!

Holiday Weekend to Ballarat

Ballarat, Victoria: We are taking a holiday weekend in the town of Ballarat, just over an hour west of Melbourne. Ballarat was at the heart of the Australian gold rush in the 1850’s. Tomorrow we plan to visit Sovereign Hill, a living-history museum similar in nature to the Genesee Country Museum, near Rochester. We also hope to do some bike riding, but are concerned that the trails we’ve read about are more suited to mountain bikes, not road bikes, which is what we ride. We’ll check into that tomorrow and if we find that the trails are too rough for a road bike, we’ll probably put some miles in on some back roads.

 

When we planned this weekend excursion, we hoped to be able to take our bikes, but were unsure of how they would fit in the car. With very little trouble we were able to put down the back seats and remove the trunk (boot) cover and there was plenty of room for our bikes and a couple of suitcases. We are pleased to know that we can travel so easily with our bikes.

 

On our drive here today, we saw the signs saying “Kangaroos-Next 5 K”. I was driving so Jim was on the look out and sure enough, sharing a large field with some cows, were about 50 kangaroos!!! We got a great view of them! A bit further along the road we saw a “Koala” sign, but had no sightings! Our kangaroo sighting was helped by the fact that it was dusk as we were driving, prime spotting time.

 

All the arrangements for our move to a larger apartment have been finalized and it will happen on Monday. It shouldn’t take too long to for me to move our stuff, especially with the help of an elevator!

 

No pictures in this shorter blog entry because the Internet in our room at this Ballarat hotel is weak. We will have to take this computer to the outside walkway to get a connection to post this entry!

 

G’Day Mates!

ANZAC Day

Today is a very important day in Australia~it is ANZAC Day, the day when Aussies remember the service men and women who lost their lives in service to their country. ANZAC stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corp, who originally were active participants in the battle at Gallipoli in WW 1. 10’s of thousands of Aussies and New Zealanders lost their lives in WW 1.

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ANZAC Day Dawn Ceremony at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance

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Crowd entering the Shrine to lay their poppies in the sanctuary.

On ANZAC Day, the day starts at dawn with a memorial service. We got up at 5 AM, walked about 1.8 miles to Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance. Our first impression of this day was the huge number of people out walking towards the Shrine at that time. Sidewalks on both sides of the roads to the Shrine were full of people. As we got closer, more large busses than I could count were dropping off more people. The grassy area in front of the Shrine was filled with people of all ages, the news is reporting 45,000 in attendance. We stood quite a distance from the Shrine, but we could see a bit and hear the whole ceremony. For 45 minutes, this huge crowd was silent as the ceremony unfolded. No one was on their cell phone, there were no whispered conversations. Three different bands and 2 choirs provided beautiful music and several service people spoke. The poem, In Flanders Fields was read. It was an amazing and impressive ceremony, all as the sky turned pinky-orange as the sun came up. This solemn occassion was treated with the respect it deserved. After the ceremony ended, anyone who chose, could enter the Shrine and place a poppy in the sanctuary. A sea of poppy-holders filled the Shrine’s steps, the young and the old, families and singles. Again, a very impressive scene.

Jim and I will never forget the ceremony or being part of this crowd, which supposedly is the largest to ever attend the ANZAC Day ceremony here in Melbourne. We were honored to be there.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, most of Melbourne heads out for breakfast! We had to walk over 2 miles to find a restaurant that had room for us!

We returned to our apartment where Jim did some work and I did some knitting.

This afternoon we rode our bikes 32 miles around the greater Melbourne area. We started by riding towards the city along the Yarra River. We stopped to watch the ANZAC Day March (parade) and then rode on, slowly, through the trail along the river where Melbourners were out enjoying their day off. The restaurants along the river were overflowing. There was also a big ANZAC Day footy match (Australian Rules Football), played at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds, so we biked past many fans for the two teams. We later heard that there were 93,000 fans at the game~it felt like we had to ride through most of them!! Once away from the crowds were enjoyed the wonderful bike trails throughout the city. There were many unique-styled bridges over the Yarra River just for bikers and walkers! I think we will have to do a bike ride just zig-zagging across the Yarra using these wonderful bridges! We even came across a punt (small boat) that ferries bikers across the Yarra River to a bike trail on the other side!

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The white arches are part of a bike bridge across the Yarra River.

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The Punt, ferrying bikers across the Yarra River, $5 one-way, $7 round trip!

We ended up riding lots of miles right along the beaches of the Port Phillip Bay. Most of the time we were riding on a bike trail that was just for bikes, no walkers or runners! It was great! We stopped for a light lunch and to “raise a glass” at a restaurant a few miles from home.

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Pilings from a pier removed in 1989.

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A dedicated bike trail along the Port Phillip Bay

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Colorful beach sheds families use for storing their beach stuff.

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On the St. Kilda Pier with the Melbourne skyline in the background.

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“Raising a Glass” for ANZAC Day

Happy 90th Birthday to Jim’s Mom! Woo-Hoo, 90 years young!

We’re heading out for dinner soon. Not sure where we are going to eat because we don’t have a “booking” (reservation) anywhere!

Just a Day

Today was not a real exciting day, but a good one none-the-less. This morning Jim was up just before 4 AM so he could make 2 phone calls to the USA for work. So our day started early. We are feeling like we are over the jet lag, but this 4 AM stuff may set us back a day!

Today was a yoga day for me. There was a different teacher for this class and mostly different people taking the class. It was another good class and I will go again on Friday morning.

After Jim got home from work at 2 PM, we decided to go to the Melbourne Museum. We took the tram to the Melbourne Visitor’s Center where we were able to get a discount coupon to the museum and then we walked the rest of the way to the museum, in a gentle rain. The museum is featuring an exhibit entitled AFGHANISTAN: Hidden Treasures and it was impressive. It was a collection of gold pieces and other archeological finds from hundreds of years ago BC. These artifacts were secretly stored away by the curators of the National Museum of Kabul during the early years of uprising and war in that country. The curators risked their lives to preserve the ancient history of Afghanistan and that in itself is an amazing story. But when we saw the pieces that were on display, it truly became an act of heroism. I don’t have any photos from the exhibition because photography was prohibited, but if you are curious, click here Afghanistan Hidden Treasures and see the wonders that we got to see.

After the viewing all the gold treasures we had about 45 minutes to get a quick over view of the rest of the museum and we now know that we need to go back and give the museum the time it deserves.

Here are a couple of Melbourne things that are different from home. First of all, security is at a much lower level. The key fob for our car doesn’t have one of those red panic buttons on it. Our apartment door does not have a dead bolt and chain lock. Secondly, the mail is delivered by men and women who ride bicycles and mopeds. They seem to be exempt from any rules of the road! Oh, one more thing, when we come in contact with people in stores or restaurants for example, they do not ask, “How are you doing?” they ask, “How are you going?”

Tomorrow is ANZAC day, a day of remembrance for all who have lost their lives serving Australia and New Zealand. This is a day off for most people and the tradition around this national holiday is that you attend a dawn service of remembrance and later “raise a glass” in honor of all the fallen heros. We will leave here at 5 AM to walk to Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance and participate in that service. And later in the day, we will find a place to raise a glass with the locals.

We are moving to a new apartment! Through a couple of different channels, Jim’s bosses became aware that our apartment was pretty small so they have authorized an upgrade to a 2-bedroom apartment which includes a separate office area, for the days when Jim is working from home. Even though we really didn’t bring all that much, this additional space will be most welcome as we are storing things along the walls and using the small plastic table that was on the balcony as a dining table/desk because the even smaller table that is in the living/dining/kitchen area is pretty much useless. We are looking forward to making this move and being able to unpack the rest of our stuff. The new apartment is in the same building and I think we will move on either Sunday or Monday.

Here are some random photos from the last 24 hours:

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Huge tapestries in the Melbourne Museum

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Postal worker delivering the mail.

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Fancy tram-wrapping in downtown Melbourne

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Jim working at the desk/dining room table.

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Tonight’s dinner of pasta and salad and wine from the Rochford Winery.

G’Day!