Everyone we have talked to in Australia has had a snake story. Our Lonely Planet Australia Guide Book says of Australia that snakes are “abundant”. Last Wednesday night when we were walking round the Vermazen property near Eden, New South Wales I was commenting on the fact that we hadn’t seen any snakes during the three weeks we had been in Australia.
That changed on Thursday. Duke and I drove from Eden, New South Wales to Lakes Entrance, Victoria. Along the way we stopped to hike in the coastal forest on The Cape Conran Nature Trail. I was walking down the trail in front of Duke enjoying the scenery when something moved. I almost stepped on a very large brown almost black snake. I yelped, jumped, said several loud words and did a very fast U-turn. Apparently the snake was scared too because he quickly headed off the trail into the underbrush.
I forgot to mention in my last post that as we were pulling into our B&B in Eden we had another flat tire! This time we had a nail in our left rear tire. We stayed in Eden two nights and got the tire fixed the next morning. We are getting quite good at calling roadside assistance and then getting the spare fixed.
As we have been driving through Victoria we have seen lots of signs reminding people about the dangers of falling asleep while driving. I liked this sign because I have always beena big proponent of the power nap.
In Lakes Entrance we stayed in a B&B. We went into the town and walked up and down the Esplanade deciding where to eat. We decided on the local sports club.
Meals are very expensive here in Australia. We have decided that although the breakfasts in B&Bs have been wonderful. We don’t need that much food or the additional $60 or so they add to the price of a nights lodging.
From Lakes Entrance we drove along the south coast of Victoria and then north to Drouin where some more of the Australian Vermazens live. The Australian Vermazens immigrated to Australia in 1955. We stayed with Gerard and his wife and went out to dinner with them and Gerrard’s sister Elizabeth and her husband.
Saturday morning we got to visit with the the immigrant Vermazen, Hendrik who is 86. He is a fascinating man with a magnificent memory. He well remembered Duke’s Dad who visited them in the 1980s.
From Drouin we drove into Melbourne. We found a hotel and went for a walk in the rain. We visited the Immigration Museum where we saw Hendrick Vermazen’s name on the wall of remembrance.
Then we walked up to the Victoria parliament buildings and back through China Town. We had a wonderful Chinese dinner in China town.
It is easy to see why people like Melbourne. It is full of interesting little alleys and lots of intriguing restaurants and shopping. On the way back to our hotel we stopped to have a beer and listen to a jazz group playing outside one of the restaurants. By the time we got back to the hotel we were quite damp in spite of our rain coats.
This morning (Sunday) we went for a walk along the Yarra river in Melbourne.
I had a croisssant and a small bottle of water from a shop and they cost me $8. Then we checked out of our hotel and drove out of Melbourne to explore the Great Ocean Road south west of Melbourne.
Most of the coast roads we have driven along on our trip have only been within sight of the ocean if we are in a town. The Great Ocean Road is right along the coast and it is stunning. We stopped for the night in a small town called Apollo Bay. I think the rain is keeping some of the tourists away. We were able to enjoy the town which seems very quiet. We walked along the main street to pick a restaurant for dinner. We ended up eating at La Bimba. We had a whole Dory fish with wonderful seasoning stuffed with couscous. Oh my! It was delicious. It was one of our top 5 meals of the trip.