I collected my baggage from the baggage carousel in Melbourne and promptly broke the carry handle on my almost new suitcase pulling off that stupid whirling thing! I am rather cross about this! The luggage is like brand new this year! I bought it off Graysonline for a song but yeah...it now has a broken carry thingy. And it's too late to get a return on it! Oh well....live and learn. I may be able to fix it with gaffer tape. One can fix almost anything with gaffer tape.
I declared my shoes! Australia has very strict quarantine rules and being a long-time farm girl from years ago I am highly conscious of the dangers of soil-born diseases and spores in the soils on shoes that have travelled to yonder shores. I don't care if it does seem a little bit over the top - I like declaring if I have been wandering around fields near sheep and horses in foreign countries and I get my shoes checked to ensure that what I bring home will remain safe and clean for my own country.
I declared the Lebkuchen I bought back from Nürnberg too :)
Everything was cleared.
I managed to make it in time to get the 2pm shuttlebus to Ballarat. I dozed on the shuttle bus, it taking some 90 minutes to reach Ararat train station. Then I found I had a four hour wait before the train left the station to Ballarat and my subsequent bus back to my home. What an annoyance!
I am so tired by now, I can barely think. I have not really slept soundly for the past 40 hours. My brain is this numb mush of thoughts so brief they are forgotten like cotton threads on the wind.
I decide to store my luggage in a locker at the station and I go for a meander (literally a meander in the style of someone who may have had too much to drink), toward the main street in Ballarat. I walk as far as a favourity pizza restaurant of our family, that we frequent when here and I have a small pizza and a coke. I really don't actually feel like eating much though. I feel stuffed, uncomfortable, weirdly out of zone with myself. But, like some automaton who must eat at 5pm each day, I eat and feel strangely guilty about it like I went behind someones back.
I go back to the train station and try to rest on the hard planked seating until my train arrives. It is late! There was a suicide on the line down in Melbourne somewhere causing chaos with the schedules in stations across the state. I send up a silent prayer for the family and friends of the person who so chose to die this way.
I board the train. It is a short trip to my next stop, only 45 minutes or so. I note the difference between this train and the ICE I travelled on only two days ago. This one is neat, tidy, clean and comfortable too. The only thing it lacks is ....Panache! The ICE is more than a train, its like the luxury liner of the railway, it makes my basic aussie train look pedestrian and "common".
I've always loved train travel, as a kid going to boarding school and then in my late 20's on regular hospital visits to Melbourne for eye treatment, I have always enjoyed the strange solitary nature of my train travels. I find trains a kind of meditative experience where my mind is free to expand its horizons even while my body is encapsulated by speed within steel. Train trips soothe me.
I arrive to collect the bus for the last leg of my journey. Buses are not so comfortable as trains. They are cramped, bumpy, and they are noisier I think too. I don't like bus travel as much as train travel!
Back in my home town, I wait just a little longer and get a taxi home. I walk in my back door at 11pm Australian time. I have been more or less awake for over 48 hours. My dear son hugs me at the door and I peer over his shoulder into the kitchen to see the sink piled high with dishes!
Mum is home.
Since being home, I've done dishes, bookwork, washing by the truckload (10 loads on Tuesday and Wednesday of my arriving home no less), errands, grocery shopping, phonecalls, visits with telco companies, friends, relatives; I've baked, cooked, cleaned and blogged.
Mum is going back to Germany! hahahaha