Sunday, May 2, 2010

Spa Country Getaway

Last weekend, Tom, our Kiwi-expat friend, Laura, the newish-and-yet-to-be-named-Barcelona-red-Prius and I went up to Hepburn Springs and Daylesford, about 90 minutes north of here. You may recall we visited the same area last January.

Of course, we got in on the full floaty-pool spa package and ate at the Perfect Drop again. We were excited because it was "no menus" just free associate your food dreams, allergies and phobias to the proprietor, let them know how much you want to spend and they deliver a series of mind-blowing beverages and tapas, like cheesy fritters and sauce-dripping meatballs. We played Mama Mia (a pizza making card game), nestled up in giant leather chairs by the fire all afternoon. I was in charge of log stoking, which made me feel a great sense of both responsibility and purpose that friends and family are starting to question as being missing in my life.

Daylesford town center was shut down in the morning for the memorial events. Everyone was gathered around the cenotaph for speeches, military band music and so on for an hour or two. Australians take this stuff seriously- This year over 40,000 people showed up to the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance... at sunrise!

Since it was Anzac Biscuit Weekend, we were fortunate to find a room at all...Tom got the very last one (for all three of us to share) in a small town a half hour east, called Trentham. "Hotel" often means, simply, "bar, or pub", here. Sometimes it's a place of lodging. This one, was, oh happy day, both. However, they were quite strict about where you could go with your alcahol and liqour (sic).

We blew up an air mattress and settled into our new home. The room was about 15% bigger than the bed itself. Someone would have to get on the bed if you wanted to make space to open the door. A little red wine in a teacup was good to get the night started.

It was a little intimidating to venture out to the bar / restaurant area, where many of the locals had been drinking since their Anzac Day Pancake Breakfast that morning. Below in the upper left is Bazza; after he sat with us, the bartender's wife told us to look at the picture on the wall above us. Sure enough, it was Bazza on a motorbike, driving through a giant fireball. Turns out he was a daredevil stuntman (that specific event was a fundraiser for the local fire brigade).

Laura is very social and was quickly welcomed back-stage to tend bar. Part way through the night, the drinks became free because the cash register got stuck. I tried to resist the urge to pinch (that means pillage, plunder, pilfer, you get the idea) a place mat.

We all felt very welcomed by the community and bartender/owner insisted on shots all around, wherein we were introduced to something called Grayva, a Scotch Whiskey Liquor.

The next day, we reckoned we understood a little bit of how Wake In Fright's John Grant felt, Outback in the town of Yabba after his warm welcome by the locals. This is one of the original Ozploitation movies from the 70's. It captures (and stereotypes?) what goes down in rural Australian bars.

Trailer for those of you not receiving this by email, here's the video trailer:

We got the car packed up and made our way to some hiking and wilderness areas. This year, we actually saw a waterfall! The drought has pretty much dried up all the smaller waterways around Victoria. And how could we not be thrilled to see a life sized resin elephant strapped to a trailer on the way home? It was an unprecedented weekend.

1 comment:

  1. Here's a video of the bar scene from wake in fright