Monday, June 24, 2013

three states of mind

it's hard to believe that it's little over one week ago that i left home again on another trip, east this time. i'm having to look out of the window in the mornings to remember where i am!

i'm renewing my acquaintance with the long roads and deserts of South Australia, which i visited almost 20 years ago. not much has changed on the Nullarbor, but i enjoyed the stark landscape of the "treeless plain". the shifting sands at Eucla are still trying to obliterate all signs of the early British pioneers and the relentless pounding of the sea shapes the sheer cliffs in the Bight.

Eucla jetty

Eucla telegraph ruins

cliffs at the Bight

it was a bit of a relief to arrive at the other end of the plain and see huge stretches of farmland again. i don't know how farmers do it, but i admire their optimism in planting crops every year in the face of the tough climate. i'd never heard of the "Australian Farmer" sculpture carved from granite by an amazing artist and his son, but i'm glad to have seen this imposing homage to the humble farmer placed in a little old town called Wudina, right near the wheat silos seen in every town in the region.

the Australian Farmer

driving north-east we went through the lush orchards and vineyards of the riverlands surrounding the Murray River. this amazing river sustains a large agricultural community in otherwise semi-arid land, with beautiful English style towns in close proximity to each other. i'm coming back one day to do a relaxed food/wine/drive tour needing at least a month to soak it all up. i'd also love to hire one of the many houseboats available and just "mess about on the river" as Ratty from the Wind in the Willows would. (any takers on that trip?)

Waikerie riverboats

crossing the border into Victoria we made our way through picturesque hillsides dotted with sheep and tumbledown farmhouses. the trees became taller and closer together, and i could imagine bush-rangers hiding in the gullies. more pretty towns and i was drooling over the century old cottages and huge trees with their autumn foliage. i was really happy to stop in Bendigo to have a closer look, and because i had a cunning plan for this town.

beautiful German architecture

three different states in this big country with so many ways to live and work. talk about broadening the mind, this is the way to do it!