Friday, June 28, 2013

The road trip that was going so well......

It was the start of the long weekend. Three friends and I decided to drive up to the country, through the gold fields region, take some back-roads and enjoy the gloriously beautiful sunny winter's day.
Triple D (Country D, City D and Italian D) and I, set off from Melbourne and guided by freeways, fast left the cityscape behind. Low lying clouds piqued our excitement as we marveled at the lush greenery that met the blue sky at the point where the rolling hills gently and constantly shifted the horizon.  Triple j's hottest 100 countdown of the past twenty years, played over the radio and we were shocked to realise that songs we loved and recalled like yesterday were 15 or more, years old.

We took an exit off the freeway and caught the end of the Wesley Hills/Red Hills monthly market. We browsed and supported the local economy. It was us four and my reliable car 'Stacey' ( Named by my sister Leanne, who since passed the car down to me!). We then headed through Castlemaine towards Muldon for a coffee. There is nothing as exhilarating as doing a 100KM along country roads that wind and turn, or is that just a boy thing? I wanted to stop a few times to photograph the landscapes that changed from lush farming, to green undulating hills and to bush scrub and then back again, but we had a mission and that was to go to Bendigo.

First though was Maldon and it was beautiful.

 The hard hitting headlines in the local paper:

Are you really asking $249 for this? I don't know why, but I was reminded of our recent hard rubbish collection.....

 Old gold rush buildings:

 Cute kittens in a  shop window:

Maldon had been full of beautiful buildings and a few cute kittens, but we left it all in good time and headed along country roads, snaking our way to Bendigo. A town that had many a beautiful building and was a bit like Melbourne. Country D explained that it's resemblance to Melbourne was because it was a 'university town'. I guess you do learn something new everyday!

We strolled through Bendigo's very English gardens, walked the streets, took photographs and found a Melbourne-Esq cafe to escape to... yes we wanted to get out of Melbourne for the day, but there is no place like home!

The gardens:

The afternoon sun dipping behind the main spire of the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Bendigo:

Soon came the time to leave. We loaded Stacey back up and hit the road. Radio up, full of cheer, exhausted and reminiscing about our just had, very lovey day, when all of a sudden Stacey's electrics go haywire, we pull over and then the car won't start back up! Thank goodness we have phone reception, so I call the RACV and Brian arrives to save us... well, more so to tell us that the car is buggered! I won't bore you all with car talk, only because I don't understand a thing myself... and all I knew was that we were 120-130kms out of Melbourne and the car couldn't be driven home. Stacey was to be towed to the nearest town and we were getting a cab to Castlemaine train station to then catch a train back to Melbourne (if there was one).

We did have a crazy cab driver, whom one of my friends said 'smelt fresh'?  Mind you this was after he almost wiped us out going the wrong way on the freeway and fish tailing whilst saying 'you didn't see this'  umm yeah we did, infact, we experinaced it and SHAT ourselves!

Finally we arrived at Castlemaine station and hoped there was still a train to Melbourne. Panic overtook me as we realised that the train station was closed, however the platform was open! At this point it was freezing cold and the temperature was around 4 degrees. Luckily there was a train and we only had to wait 30 mins for it (it was the second last train of the night and it was only 7pm). Thank goodness we didn't stay in Bendigo for dinner as I had suggested, because we may not have been able to catch a train back till the next day.

Anyway, all the while I was a bit stressed and worrying about how a lovely day out have been spoilt for my friends and how I couldn't financially afford this problem.. but Triple D were supportive and positive about it all and kept me sane, even with it taking us four hours to get back home!... thank goodness for good friends.. and might I say that these three are the best!

Yep, we are almost stranded in Castlemaine and we can laugh about it.
Here is the station sign, missing the 'C' for Castlemaine, but you all know that we were there!:

All photographs copyright matthew schiavello 2013