Melbourne, VIC

Melbourne, VIC

Thursday, 31. October 2013

Surprises around every corner!

But first, we did our glass homework and visited the Sabbia Gallery in Paddington, Sydney where Lisa Cahill is currently exhibiting her work. It’s a beautiful exhibition using one shade of colour and displaying all her different production techniques. Our farewell gift from Sydney was our visas for India and a surprise find of an alleyway full of bird cages, including tweeting birds. And so it’s time to leave the city behind and make our way to the motorway, which is easier said than done.

The surprise was how hitchhiking works in Australia. After many different cars and difficulties with directions, we made it as far as the capital, Canberra. Out of the blue Matthew Curtis and Harriet Schwarzenrock offered us a place to stay for one night. We will return to their place in a week’s time. We were glad to have somewhere to stay for the night as we didn’t feel too great about our plan to camp after one driver had warned us about the bush fires. With a little more caution than usual, we made our way towards Melbourne the next morning. Always on the watch for suitable service stations, which are rare, we finally found our much longed for truck stop. One truck driver was so startled by our approach that he sprayed petrol all over the place. Unfortunately he was heading north but as he was determined to help us, he showed us on the map where exactly he was driving too.

Finally he had the idea to organise a lift for us over the radio with another trucker – which he did. It was agreed that he would take us to the second exit, where he would put us in another truck to Melbourne. So there we were, standing on the hard shoulder of the motorway in this giant truck, waiting for the next lift. Franca’s comment was ‘we’ve been sold!’ After the retrieval of the previously lost map, our driver got back on the radio as our lift hadn’t shown up. Another driver knew that our lift was actually waiting at the next exit, which didn’t matter too much as quite a few trucks were driving in that direction. After two minutes we hitched a ride with another trucker, who dropped us off at a truck stop where we met another driver who was already in the loop about our journey. He was surprised that we had already got so far and took us on to Melbourne, happy for someone to chat to. 

We were happy that he could drop us off the right side of Melbourne, only 15 km from our previously organised place for the night, which is considered ‘local’ for Melbourne. Unfortunately the buses had stopped running but we found a lonely shopping trolley which we loaded with our rucksacks and pushed a few kilometres to the next tram station. We parted with it, but not before we had phoned the ‘helpline’ for lonely shopping trolleys! We got on the train with no tickets but as this day was already not going well, and we had seen ticket controllers, we decided to get out a few stops later. This meant we still had eight kilometres to go and estimated this would be an hour’s walk. We were walking in the dark when we saw a taxi and on the spur of the moment, Franca approached the taxi’s customer as he was coming out of his house.

Luckily he took pity on two girls with rucksacks and invited us to join him for the ride. He was on his way to Brunswick Street and as we wanted Brunswick Quarter, we thought that was all great. However, when we checked the GPS on Franca’s smart phone, we were shocked to see that we were going off course. And so the young gentleman explained the confusion, that Brunswick Street is not in Brunswick, but in neighbouring Fitzroy which is anyway quite nice. We got out at the most convenient place for us, from where we finally, and with relief, walked the last three kilometres. We arrived at Judith’s, who Franca knew from school and who was delighted to offer us a place to stay for a few nights.

After a brief rest from this last hitchhiking episode, we roamed the various areas of Melbourne and visited Philip Stokes glass studio. He has a lovely little studio with his flat above, in a nice area of the city.