Australia, Long-Distance Walking, Urban Walking
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Beneath Volcanic Skies

We spent two hours circling above Melbourne airport yesterday, waiting for the fog to clear. Today I discovered I was lucky to get here at all, with the ash cloud from a Chilean volcano disrupting the flights of thousands into and out of the city. I spent the day revisiting the locales important to me when I visited Melbourne on eight trips with my band in the Grunge Era, and later, when I lived there for six months near the coffee-and-heroin strip of St Kilda.

On my tram ride there, the ticket machine was broken and I rode for free. A foggy gloom lingered above Ackland Street and the felafel I ate for lunch in the local botanic garden was disappointing. I had several sad and medicated days there in the depressive aftermath of a destructive relationship, way back in the late-90s, and it was weird, very weird, being back. My favourite tree in the garden, an old cork pine, made it worthwhile, though, and the gloom lifted as the sun busted through. Lots of tourists and locals on the sand at the edge of Port Phillip Bay, and on the tram ride back to Flinders Street, the machine, again, was broken. I rode for free.

Let’s not talk about the hostel. Let’s just hope we will sleep better tonight at Elliot Ridge campsite. The train journey to Geelong went smoothly and the bus to Apollo Bay was great, though my stomach was glad to arrive — very curvy road indeed. I ate the best custard tart of my life just before leaving town, and am typing this on the roadside at the village of Marengo where I will shortly exit the famed road and take to the sand.

Only 10pm to do today, and the sun is out — it’s actually gorgeous, possibly warmer than Brisbane. Waves crash to my left and green hills roll away to the right. I am a tad concerned about these wild animals, but have tightened the strap on my pith helmet and cocked my shotgun in readiness.

It is splendid indeed to be young, free and good-looking.

~ And that’s all the Goat wrote

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