Monday, 9 July 2012

The Great Ocean Road

It seems as if the last week has not been an epicurean adventure but the opposite involving cheaper comfort food which although has been tasty, is a bit of a shame in a way.

My journey down the Great Ocean Road commenced in the Melbourne CBD and after a quick jaunt over the Westgate Bridge, I was on my way. Passing Avalon Airport, The Werribee Zoo, Geelong and Torquay brought back some great memories and made me happy to be living in Victoria finally.

The sun was shining and it was a cool 12c for most of the journey down the Great Ocean Road. I brief stop was made in Lorne for a chicken pie and coffee before continuing to Apollo Bay for a proper lunch if you call it that.

After spending a few minutes in the Apollo Bay Hotel, I knew that the food was going to lead to disappointment so we left and found a pub down the road that had a steak and pizza special. One can never be too disappointed with steak and pizza from a pub. It was also a calm venue unlike the Apollo Bay Hotel as there were not children running around.

One of the highlights of the drive on the Great Ocean Road was seeing whales in two different areas along the coast. They were close to the shore and seemingly have migrated from the Antarctic waters for the winter. I thought about my mate Adrian who is currently in Japan and whether or not he would sample the local whale on offer.

Having ventured down the Great Ocean Road a few times in my life, I was not too motivated to stop at the usual tourist traps and avoided the turn-off for the Twelve Apostles. Just driving the road on such a beautiful day was relaxing enough.

I found solace in a pub in Port Campbell. The AFL was on and the Carlton was cold. I was pondering if Port Campbell would be a good destination just to chill out for a few days in the future.

The journey by road came to an end at sunset when we arrived in Warrnambool and checked into the Quality Deep Blue Resort (formally known as the Sebel Deep Blue) which has always been my accommodation of choice when visiting the area.

Although I have consumed a few meals in the hotel in the past, I did not want to languish too long there so we wandered into town. A new arts complex has been built and the exterior reminded me of what Federation Square in Melbourne looks like. Besides "The Flood" with Helen Merrin commencing soon, Shannon Noll will be there in concert at some point. Across the road at the Whaler's Inn, they were advertising Timomatic as being the "talent" that would be visiting in the future. With the winter festival on that is themed for children, it is all happening in Warrnambool.

We found a table inside the local Taco Bill's next to the window so the local wildlife can be observed. We ordered a couple of margaritas in a 1.4L glass which caused a bit of a stir in the restaurant since they were just so huge and also was a tourist draw for those who walked past. I imagined small children telling their horrified mothers that they wanted a drink like what we had with the mother musing that after her boyfriend/husband/live-in drinks that much they resort to violence. What is truly horrifying though is learning that the 1.4L drink only has two shots of tequila in it. Many beers were had after this concoction was finished and before I knew it, the clock had turned past 11:00 PM and we had to wander back to the Deep Blue in nearly freezing conditions.

I couldn't get to sleep because the cricket was on and as usual we were getting our arse handed to us by the English. Brett Lee and Shane Watson complained about being injured most likely to divert attention from the fact that they provided a poor performance. What really angered me and prevented me from enjoying my slumber was seeing Micheal Clarke stand around in the field laughing whilst boundary after boundary was being scored. Later the cameraman cut to Mitchell Johnson who was tasked to carry drinks during this ODI, laughing and carrying on in the stands. Not only was the performance disgraceful, the team is just shocking.

With Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Carlton Blues and South Sydney Rabbitohs all winning their respective games this weekend, it made for a poor weekend for me and the sports that I follow so I was grateful to get out of Melbourne where I was only encouraged to watch the cricket and enjoy a relaxing weekend.