Monday, December 24, 2007

DAY 80: Day 1 off in Melbourne

Mon 24th December 2007
no cycling!
Cloudy, cool, light showers AM again; sunny in afternoon

Had an amazingly long sleep of 10 hours at John and Marjorie's last night. I have a lovely comfy bed and the area is very peaceful, even though there is a tram depot just behind the house.
John took me up th road to where one can buy a ticket for the tram, but they had sold out, so he gave me detailed instructions how to use the ticket machine on the tram. This worked OK and it cost me $6.30 for a ticket to use all day, anywhere.
It took about 40 minutes into the city and once there I walked the 4 blocks up to the Old Melbourn Gaol, which I wanted to see particularly in context with Ned Kelly, having read that he was hanged here for murder of a policeman or three. This is a fascinating place; apart from the Kelly connection there are many insights into life in the prison during the many years it was used. You could really spend a long time if you looked a everything; as it was I spent a good 3 hours in there. An additional attraction is the mock session demonstrating the 'processing' of a person charged with an offence, whereby about 20 punters had to go through being booked, searched, put in the remand cell etc. by a very aggressive police 'sergeant' who frightened some of the younger people to death. All good fun.
After this I headed over to the Botanic Gardens and had a pleasant wander during an increasingly sunny afternoon, taking lots of pics as usual.
I headed back to J & M's about 6 after a very enjoyable day.

DAY 79: Stony Point to Melbourne

Sun 23rd December 2007
77 km @ 13.0 km/hr
Cloudy, cool, light showers AM
Distance to date 5181 km (3238 miles)

Had a great sleep after last 2 nights of disturbance and had a long lie in, finally got away at 10. It had been raining on and off all night and the skies still looked pretty dark.

Passed this train after it left Stony Point. Had breakfast at the deli 2km up the road - just pastie and coffee - and continued on to Frankston via tree-lined roads with a bit of a westerly breeze on my left. The traffic was moderate and there was mostly no shoulder, but there were no lorries around therefore little stress.
I happily spotted a Subway in Frankston and couldn’t resist the meatballs and swiss cheese (again) and lattee, but the place was shared with a Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlour so I had a couple of scoops of choc chip and honeycomb also. I had been informed that there was a coastal cycle track starting here and running all the way to the city, but this is not the case; however the wide road seemed quite safe and there were plenty of other cyclists out on their Sunday run, mostly speeding past me without a word, but with the odd greeting. I had been thinking fopr a few days of getting rid of my old helmet, since itno longer seems to fit very well - I can easily push it off my head so what use would it be in a crash? - And as there were plenty of bikeshops around here i popped into one to check on prices. There was a decent Netti sonig for $100 so I decided to buy it and dump the old one. Goodbye old friend! Actually i hardly ever wore a helmet in the UK, but now I am quite used to it (it’s mandatory to wear one in Oz) I might continue to wear it on my return. It certainly feels a lot better fit.
Around 15km from the city a proper cycle track begins and I mostly rode on this from here on in, however most of the racing cyclists continued to use the road, probably since the cycle track is a bit awkward at times - at road junctions for example. The day was brightening up somewhat and there were plenty of people on the many beaches to my left. Soon the city skyscrapers came into view and I knew I wasn’t far away from John and Marjorie’s. John met me and showed me the way back.
Marjorie was at work but John made dinner and had bought a nice bottle of bubbly to wash it down with! I got detailed instructions about how to get into the city via the nearby tram system, and I checked out on the internet some of the things I plan to do tomorrow.