Sunday, January 18, 2009

Australia II - The Great Ocean Road Tour

Great Ocean Road

A day trip on the Great Ocean Road was my Melbourne splurge. I feel lousy, but reason I would still feel so regardless of whether or not I was sitting in a bus seeing interesting scenery. The touring company is and the tour guide is Ryan, a high school teacher earning a few extra bucks by spending the summer holiday leading tours. The other 20 tourees hailed from England, San Francisco, China, Italy and probably other parts of the world and were mostly younger -- 20’s and 30’s I would guess.

I don’t consider myself the touring kind of traveler and indeed cannot recall ever signing up for something like this, so I didn’t really know what to expect. Ryan is a riot and I enjoy several long chats with him. He is a just exactly the handsome, strapping young Aussie kinda guy you would expect to find teaching Outdoor Studies, which include surfing, hiking camping, environmental impact and sustainability, as I understand it. (How cool is that? How did the Aussies get so far ahead of us in educating their kids in real-life skills as opposed to stuff that is merely supposed to help them make money someday?)

HIghlights: the didgeridoo player at the aborigine culture center (gotta practice that circular breathing thing which the speaker swears helped her brother with his asthma problem); the twisty windy road itself, which sometimes reminded me of Italy’s Amalfi Coast or California round about Big Sur; spending 20 minutes building a sweet little sandcastle during our lunch stop in Apollo Bay and leaving it for the crowd of cell-phone photographers enjoying a day on the beach.

What I would have liked to do, but couldn’t because I was on a tour: Enjoyed a picnic lunch with my ukulele (and - as long as we are dreaming - an interesting man) on one of the deserted beaches you could see from the road.


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