My cousin and her partner went above and beyond to make us welcome. As well as accommodating us they took us around Victoria, showing us the sights and being wonderful tour guides. We met up with my aunt for meals, coffees and plenty of ‘catching up’.
We visited areas that had been devastated by catastrophic fires some years before- and further fires have ravaged huge swathes of Australia since we were there. We visited ‘Hanging Rock’, famous for its true tale of missing girls which was made into a feature film in 1975.
One odd anomaly about our travels in Australia until then was that we’d seen almost no kangaroos- animals I’d expected to have seen almost daily. But here, at last, we were treated to sightings of dozens of the creatures, lounging about casually or standing brazenly to gaze around them.
Our hosts live on the outskirts of Melbourne, so following my cousin’s instructions regarding transport we set off unaccompanied to explore the city. Melbourne has a character of its own, quite different from Sydney, Adelaide or Cairns- other metropoli we’d looked at. It felt more like a modern, cosmopolitan European city. It bustled with life and commerce, its streets busy with shoppers, traders and the occasional busker. We stopped to listen to a couple performing their songs on the pavement- he playing an unusual, stringed instrument and she the singer. While we were taken enough with it to buy one of their CDs, I have to admit to not really having listened to it since we returned. Like those unusual bottles of spirits you become passionate about in a foreign land, it was destined to languish in the back of a cupboard until the next de-cluttering session.
Melbourne has its own iconic, tall skyscraper- the Eureka Tower.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eureka_Tower
We had fun in the lift up to the top of the tower, then enjoyed some time looking at the views over Melbourne and beyond. When the time came for us to return to the suburbs, and to my cousin’s house, we got into a bit of a pickle. We’d forgotten our instructions and needed to let her know when we’d be back, but had no clue as to her email. This trip pre-dated smartphones, of course. But one thing I was sure of- if I could find and internet cafe I’d have my aunt’s email address saved and I’d be able to ask her for my cousin’s address. Phew! How things have changed in the entervening years since 2011! Anybody would think it was all a long time ago!
In the event it was all fine, and we got back ok. There was precious little time left. My kindly cousin took us to the airport to drop off our van, in advance of our flight. We had a last supper together at the airport before saying our final goodbyes and I felt emotional at leaving my cousin and her partner- strangers at first, shy at meeting, then we’d bonded over memories and family knowledge shared.
Grace is also known as the novelist, Jane Deans. Her new novel, The Conways at Earthsend is now out and available from Amazon, Waterstones, Goodreads, W H Smith, Pegasus Publishing and many more sites. Visit my website: janedeans.com or my author page on Facebook: (1) Jane Deans, Novellist, Short Fiction and Blog | Facebook