One aspect of long-term travelling that we perhaps hadn’t anticipated, but which makes total sense when you consider it, is the fact that when you get to a place of comfort, you feel a magnetic pull just to stay there and nest up, and moving on becomes an even bigger chore than usual. Add to this the feeling that over the last 13 weeks we’ve been on the move a great deal, covering thousands of miles in South America (not to mention our Australian road-trip) and it soon became clear that our stay in Melbourne would involve a period of recharging.

Melbourne is a vibrant, artsy city; full of trendy cafes, independent shops and, in our experience, plenty of rain. Virtually every day this week the skies have opened, on the whole for long periods, so much so that we almost wondered if we’d been teleported back to Manchester. If we’re chasing the summer we certainly haven’t caught it yet. Fortunately for us, when we weren’t playing house, we were able to take advantage of some excellent tour guides.

Our hosts were an old friend of mine from many years ago in Sheffield. Rohan, originally from Canberra, is now a fully fledged Melbournian, living with his partner Sasha in a lovely house in the Ripponlea area of the city. Arriving as we did on a Friday, this gave us the opportunity to visit the funky, hipster-heavy area of Fitzroy. Here, after not managing to see a Kangaroo on our entire road trip, I at least managed to taste one, accompanied by many (expensive) Aussie beers. It was much like being back in London. At a pub that sells kangaroo.

Paul and Rohan

Saturday was set aside for a day with Helen’s extended Australian family. Unfortunately, despite the great effeots of our guides Sandra and Phil, the weather played its part. Rain hammered down almost non-stop and, in a country geared up for numerous great outdoor activities, this can only mean one thing: an extended and delicious pub lunch followed by an extended period in a pub in the city, followed by a meal out. In a break in the weather we managed a visit to a bird sanctuary where we were dived upon by numerous Cockatoos, much to the amusement of others who managed it more serenely. Obviously this was all a great hardship (!) and we somehow managed to have a lovely time despite the weather. Thanks to Jim, Joan and family for making the Pommies extremely welcome and for Sandra and Phil for bravery and warmth in the face of adverse weather conditions.

On Sunday it was back to Rohan and Sasha to show us the sights. After much deliberation about a trip down the Great Ocean Road, we decided that we’d done enough long-distance driving and instead we headed just south of the city to the picturesque coastline of Cape Schanck. Here we avoided the rain and walked some of the rugged coastline, finishing with fish and chips overlooking the sea. Humble fish and chips (or in the Australians’ cases, fish burgers) were never afforded such a great view.

After a trip home via a wine tasting session (not to be missed in this part of the world) we began our period of rest in earnest. Not , however, before more great Aussie food and wine at Movida in the city. This beautiful tapas bar was a wedding present meal courtesy of our hosts and was certainly some of the best food we’ve had since leaving the UK. Wagu beef with poached eggs, sweetbreads, oysters, it was all there. We felt so enriched afterwards that for the next few days, save for more great cafes, parks and walks with Rohan on Monday, and with more rain outside, venturing out lost out to a few days of rest and recharge before Asia beckoned.


One Comment to “Rain and Rest With Friends – Melbourne”

  • Jim was certainly in his element with the cockatoos….I’m not sure about Paul!