Melbourne was a lovely day. Mum’s old schoolfriend, Hannah, and her daughter, Jenny, met us at the port. They’re lovely. And I met up with a friend I made on the internet about three or four years ago, Fiona. She was lovely too! We all piled into Jenny’s people carrier (she has four kids so…) and they drove us around town showing us the sights and the architecture (old and new). Then we drove into the Dandenong Hills, via Pin Oak Court (yes, Neighbours’ Ramsey Street!). We had a lovely lunch, served to us, oddly, by a lovely bloke from Shropshire. Then we boarded the Puffing Billy, a small gauge single line steam train that took us from Belgrave to Lakeside, where Jenny met up with us in the people carrier. I love steam trains. I have no idea why, but they just make my heart stop. They’re so beautiful, they smell so good and they make such wonderful noises. When it was waiting at the station and picking up steam pressure, prior to departure, our engine was making noises just like Ivor the Engine and when we got to a steep incline, you could hear him saying “I know I can, I know I can, I know I can”. Stupidly enjoyable and amazing views across the countryside above the city. Surprisingly green, this part of Australia. I’ve always imagined Oz to be more Alice Springs/ Uluru/ bush-like, but this bit is actually very green indeed.
Adelaide was brilliant. Despite the 40 minute drive into the city (and, ergo, back again) and the fact that it was a Sunday, so the Central Market and several other shops were closed, the architecture was interesting (again with the art deco and some really interesting modern stuff literally next to beautiful old Victorian and Edwardian frilly bits), the people were lovely, the clothes were expensive but available in my size (so it would have been rude not to buy them, after they’d gone to all that trouble…) and the weather was lovely. We were predicted 71 (19/20ish) and 60% chance of rain. It actually was over 80 (28/29) and sunny and the rain didn’t come down until after 4, when we were already on our way back to the ship. There is a circular bus route in the centre of town which is every half hour, every day and completely FREE. (If you’re in Adelaide, you’re looking for the 99C route.) We took a ride on it, which allowed us to see more of the city without our legs falling off. We were all particularly intrigued by a series of thirty foot inflatable astronauts climbing over several of the buildings and standing in the parks. Advertising for the Adelaide Fringe Festival, apparently, but very entertaining to find when you turn a corner! The little girl astronauts had pink skirts on their spacesuits! Very cute.
Ships have two main kinds of movement: pitch and roll. If you’re standing in the middle, facing forward, pitch is front to back up and down. Like boats do in cartoons, or the little car does on the Bupa advert. Up the hill and down the other side. Like the start of a rollercoaster, for want of a better analogy. Rolling is side to side. The left side goes up as the right side goes down and then down as the right side goes up. My cabin only creaks when we’re doing both at once, pitching AND rolling, which doesn’t happen very often because the captain usually turns into the wind/waves to reduce movement. Anyway, now we have two sea days as we traverse the Australian Bight towards Albany. Bit bumpy today. It’s funny. I don’t THINK this ship is made of wood. It seems to be all metal and stuff. Yet when the ship moves in certain ways, it creaks just like a wooden ship. If you’ve ever seen Hornblower or Amistad other seafaring films or shows, you’ll know the sound. Maybe it’s the wooden wardrobes?!