Dropping off the radar

Australia is brilliant. I’ve only been here a week but it feels like forever, I’ve not done a lot but it feels like tons, and I’m constantly overawed by how generous and helpful people are. I’ve been staying with grandparents in Blairgowrie, a small beach town at the bottom of Port Philip Bay. It’s been so nice to relax, be in the sun and defrost after spending so much time in minus-one-hundred temperatures. It’s weird sleeping in a room by myself, and even weirder to be walking around in shorts, but this country already feels like home.

Thanks to all of the brilliant family and friends I have over here, I’ve managed to squeeze in beach visits, a trip to the city and finally gotten back on a horse (although I’m still aching from that).

Melbourne is possibly the best city in the world, and that’s without exaggerating in the slightest. It’s a mixture of all the things I love about my favourite cities back home, but with something extra on top. Whether this is the abundance of independent cafes, the lack of Starbucks, the people, or the weather, I’m still unsure. We visited the day after White Night, and the city was slowly beginning to wake up: bottles were scattered over the floor, and people were alternating between wandering alongside the river, and dozing on the sections of grass.

We drove down to Quarantine and Point Nepean today, the headland that ships pass through to leave Port Philip Bay, and get out into the ocean. If the name doesn’t give it away too much, Quarantine is the area that ships landed in from Europe and the UK, and where people were forced to stay if their ship carried diseases. We explored the old military tunnels and hospitals, and I managed to bump, quite literally, into a wallaby (I’m not sure who was more shocked).

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The beaches are stunning: where I’m based, we have the ocean on one side, and the bay on the other, and the difference couldn’t be bigger. The water’s warm in the bay, but fierce and strong on the ocean-side, and while I’m being told to try body-boarding, I think there’s a very high chance of me drowning.

I’ve only encountered one big spider so far: he lives in my bathroom, and we’ve struck a deal that if he sits still on the windowsill, I won’t throw him outside.

Although it’s only been a week, it’s easy to see why so many people arrive and don’t leave – the prospect of having my horse in my backgarden is enough to tempt me into changing passports (joking mum).

 

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