Saturday, December 08, 2007

DAY 64: Day off in Robe

DAY 63: Day off in Robe
Sat 6th December 2007
Sunny, warm, breezy

All quiet and tranquill last night, no disturbances, although there will be quite a few more here tonight. Got to know some of the longer term guests over breakfast (“I only came for a night and stayed a month”).
I nipped into town on the bike for a few errands and to use the library internet, but limited to half an hour there wasn’t time to upload pics. Couldn’t resist a coffee and croissants with apricot jam at the bakery (well known there already).
I later strolled into town via the coastal path. Azure ocean, white beaches, craggy and erodedf red cliffs, cormorants (or shags?), warm sunshine - another happy day in paradise! The colourful Variable Groundsel (senecio lautus) is everywhere - it was in flower in WA so maybe it’s later here, anyway no 2 clumps seem to be the same colour, no wonder it’s called ‘variable’. The flowers are very photogenic!
I followed the path onto and across a couple of practically deserted beaches, having shed sandals in true beach bum fashion. These Shimano sandals are great - very stiff for cycling and with cleats for clipping into the pedals, but the stiffness makes for less than 100% comfort in walking, plus I have 2 mozzie bites just where one of the straps is, so it’s nice to get them off. To be frank I also like the feel of the sand and the ground under my bare feet - something very primeval and comfortable about it - hope I avoid any broken glass!
The coastal path peters out by the harbour / marina, which is a shame, as there is another headland beyond that would benefit from extension. However there is a chippy at the harbour and the smell was too tempting, and I succumbed to todays $8 special - 3 pieces of Butterfish and chips, with chili sauce. A lot cheaper than last nights offering, but very enjoyable anyhow. I’ll say it again, if you like food and burn lots of calories it can only support happiness! There was even enough to chuck a few chips to the gulls - always aroung when there’s food about. I wonder if they ever hunt for their own food at all any more (shouldn’t encourage them I suppose).
I had 3 replies from potential hosts and made a note of possibly dates they offered, good outcome.
I was unable to upload the text of my blog this afternoon on the YHA machines - they are newish PC’s with Windows Vista but did not have Micrmodoft Word loaded, which is unusual.

here's a pic of me learning to march along the beach.

There followed a frustrating hour or so trying to find an altertnative way but no go. At least one of the residents made a thorough nuicance of himself making very loud and babyish noises, which was as real drag after such a peaceful time, and he was politely told to shut it. I went to the flicks again tonight but didn’t enjoy the film and left half-way through (Death at a Funeral).

Note - no dogs allowed on beach!!

DAY 63: Kingston SE to Robe

Fri 5th December 2007
50 km @ 14.6 km/hr
Sunny with brisk SSW wind, 23 deg C
Distance to date 4280 km (2675 miles)

Around 2200 last night there was another thunderstorm, though not as bad as the one at Tumby Bay. Not much rain this time but very strong winds for a short while. The MSR tent doesn’t seemed challenged at all though. The rest of the night was very windy too but I managed to sleep reasonably well.
Leisurely start to the day and round at the library soon after 9 for free internet, and I was there until 11! I had to upload pics to the blog 3 times after Blogger shut me out twice for some reason, and it took around 15 minutes for 5 images. Did some searching for hosts ahead of me and happy to see there are quite a few between here and Brisbane. Tried 3 names to start with.
After that session I needed some food, and then I hit the road with a stiff breeze on the right shoulder i.e. 11 to 14 km/hr depending whether there was tree cover at the side of the road or not. The wasn’t much to look at except stunted cereals, but I was able to greet some cattle occasionally, to which they gaped and then bolted in fright at the weird sight.
Half-way to Robe the road became more interesting - a change or crop in that vines had returned, but also more little hills and bends to add interest. There was also a large forest plantation which made a change. With the increase in tree cover there was a corresponding increase in my speed, and the wind also seemed to back more in my favour.
The approach to Robe is quite attractive with lakes and trees - and the town was quite pretty too. First thing I saw was the YHA in a nice old house by the lake, to which I would return after checking out the town. I duly did this and noted where everything important was - library, bakery, beach etc. Lovely beach with the ubiquitous Norfolk Pines lining the promenade. The sea was a perfect pale blue that I hadn’t seen since the west coast of the Eyre Peninsular. I also noted a cinema - woohoo! - And the Elizabeth I film is on tonight so I’m off to the flicks. I will enjoy an extra day or so here, even though I am aware there are some lovely places to come in the next few weeks. But I am well ahead of schedule so can afford to linger. Yesterday’s 153km ‘earned’ me 2 ‘extra’ days rest for a start.
After a very large Devonshire tea I checked in at the YHA - $60 for a single was too expensive, so I elected for $24 dorm, which at the mo I have to myself anyway. This town is famous for its crayfish so I shall treat myself to this tonight before the film. The hostel is very nice - huge light and airy rooms, free tea and coffee etc., very comfortable after the basics of camping. Even a big bath - this feels so indulgent knowing about water shortages (“SA is the driest state in the driest country in the world”) - but hey - it’s only my second in 2 months!. I also appreciate the use of the fridge e.g. to keep my wine cool!
2200 and just walked back the 1km from town by the lake with Orion standing out to the north ahead of me, on a pleasant balmy evening. I pushed the boat out regarding the meal, and rather than the usual skimping, $71 was burnt! Fantastic meal though and beautifully prepared and presented. Main course was half a lobster (I chose chilled rather than chargrilled or Mornay) with perfect fresh salad, and 3 dressings (thousand island, pesto and ginger) and scrumptious big chips. I haven’t had lobster for a long time and I was surprised just how much meat there was. It was delicious, and was amply washed down with a local premium lager and glass of local Riesling, and followed by chocolate cheesecake - mmmmmmmmm! Nice to challenge the bank once in a while, and anyway I underspent again last month.
After the meal I was just in time for the 1930 start of the film one block away, but along with 10 others I waited until 1940 and the doors were still locked. Had the projectionist been taken ill we wondered? Someone had the sense to knock on the door and lo and behold a red-faced man came running - he’d forgotten to unlock it. “I wondered why no-one turned up” he said; “I could hear people talking outside too”. Doh - we all have them!
There are about 8 others (younger folk) staying here at present, but all were engrossed in the tele or each other so I left them to it. I have the dorm to myself so should sleep undisturbed.