We had to wake by the alarm again, but this time to walk through to the other side of the city to collect a hire car for the day. Firstly though, we enjoyed our usual breakfast, and then went to take showers and found….. *excitement!!!* A new and much smaller showerhead – yaaayyy!!! But too much excitement isn’t good for a grandma and a grandpa so they’d been sure to leave the thing requiring 20 minutes excruciating ‘on a bit’, ‘off a bit’ to get the temperature to a humane enough level to be able to get under the flow *giggle*.
Then we packed up the few things we’d want for the day and set off on foot. I’d printed out a map of where to walk long before we left Perth so we followed the route with no trouble at all; though the actual car hire place was hard to find because it was a small – no, *tiny* – kiosk with grey rolladoors, that were pulled down, *and* it was snuggled next to the lifts in a building foyer so that it appeared from the outside to be a chemist and an office block. But we did it! And we waited. And waited. And in the end David rang the phone number on the hire documents just as the poor girl arrived back.
She gave us the paperwork and the keys and told us that the car was up the lift onto the 2nd floor and when we returned to put the keys down a chute that was next to their car cleaning bay. Fortunately, we didn’t have to bring the car down in the lift tee hee – I’m being silly. She basically gave us no information at all about using the toll roads and we presumed, as they had been in New South Wales, that there would be one lane to be able to pay as we got on them. But more of that later.
Up the lift we went and found our lovely new little car, and it was such a pretty colour!
Once David was happy with the controls of the little thing, off we went down the ramps of the car park and used the free token the girl had given us to get out of the carpark. As David was doing this, I got the GPS happening on my phone and typed in the name of the town we were about to head to – Marysville, out in the country and about 90 minutes’ drive away.
The GPS successfully navigated us further towards the outskirts of the city and onto a 4-lane highway with shops and businesses either side when I suddenly noticed the battery level on my phone. So exhausted last night, I had not plugged it in to charge!!! Of all the days that I needed this phone, today was the day. My heart sank. And there was no map book in the car either. Surely? By the least amount of common sense in anyone’s head, wouldn’t they supply a map book – or at least offer one? So I very, very hastily got a notebook and pen and wrote down the instructions to get us to Marysville and turned the phone off entirely to conserve every last amp of power for navigations for the homeward journey.
Soon enough we were headed for a motorway and took the on ramp but there was no lane to pay anyone. There were regular signs along the thing telling us that we had 48 hours to pay using a website or a phone number and I wrote them both down as we travelled. Obviously our number plate was being scanned by something, somewhere. Who knows how much we’d need to pay. But for now, the journey was a happy and uneventful one. We travelled for many, many miles along the motorway, which flowed smoothly and fast and eventually got off onto a more minor highway and enjoyed looking at the shops, businesses and homes as we passed along.
Again, we travelled for a long way and eventually the mountains began to get closer. These were definitely not mountains in the European sense of the word, but they were certainly higher than any of the small hills we have in Perth. And once we’d begun to climb the foothills there was a scenic lookout signposted so we decided to stretch our legs and have a look. I’m so pleased with did. In my opinion this was a very beautiful spot indeed!
This was named the Maroondah Resevoir and was so tranquil. We had the layby/look out all to ourselves and could hear the birds calling as well as the occasional cars on the road behind us. We didn’t stay too long though and were once more on our way, this time climbing and dipping along a narrow and winding road. At one point during this journey was the most amazingly beautiful scenery but my photos were not good because of speed, bumps in the road, and looking through a windscreen. It was much too narrow and winding to be safe to stop, but we decided we would use one of the laybys on the return journey. I’ll save mentioning it later by telling you now that the light was brighter during the return journey and it was not nearly as impressive. So, this is about the best shot I got.
The greenery of all those ferns and the stark height and plain grey of the tree trunks was just so amazing, and made us feel very tiny and insignificant. And that’s a good thing for humans to feel from time to time!
Eventually we came through this and onto flatter country and very soon found ourselves in Marysville. We knew that Bruno’s Sculpture Garden was walking distance from their one bus stop and found one sign, but could not then find the Garden, nor another sign. And I definitely needed some facilities, so we turned back to a patisserie/cafe that we’d seen and decided on some slightly early lunch. I didn’t even look at the menu but bolted straight through to a welcoming sign tee hee! The male of the species had enjoyed the lookout for more than just photography so he looked at the menu and chose a table.
There was a vast array of very lovely looking breads, pastries and meals in a whole bank of glass cabinets and we went up for a look. As we were discussing the huge written menu on the wall, the girl was just the other side of the counter waiting to serve us and we both started to narrow in on the quiche that looked very nice. I pointed out to David that it said on the wall that all meals were served with a fresh bread roll and salad and we decided that this sounded very nice indeed. David paid and we went and sat down, and the girl brought us out a piece of quiche each. No bread roll and no salad. She *must* have heard us discussing it! We’re not ones to complain so we just ate our quiche and then got a coffee each as well. The quiche was nice, but we felt that the service, or lack thereof, was disappointing.
It won’t hurt to mention here that Marysville, and the entire surrounding areas were completely flattened by a really bad bushfire 3 years ago. The photos that I’ve seen are a tale of horror and the main street was nothing but charred stumps where the buildings – cafes, tourist shops, homes, had been. The town had seen larger-than-life tragedy. In this patisserie, which was obviously fairly newly built, there was an atmosphere of emptiness somehow, but not being helpful to customers is not the best way to rebuild.
Anyway, our tanks emptied and refilled, as appropriate, David asked where the Garden was and I set out on foot while he brought the car. We’d been told 100 metres but by the time I’d walked more like 300 metres and David had stopped the car twice, we still couldn’t see the place so I got in. Another 100 metres down the road and there it was LOL
Bruno’s Sculpture Garden. I felt as if I’d made the pilgrimage to Mecca! I’d seen an email with photos of some of these sculptures longer than 3 years ago, and also since the fire, showing how many of the sculptures were damaged. So many of the sculptures had burned, or had burning trees fall on them and smash them. And there wasn’t so much as a blade of grass that had been left green, it was all blackened and charred. I can only begin to imagine how heart-breaking this must have been. Yet here we were, to see what had been rebuilt. This was *the* thing that I had most looked forward to seeing as a part of our holiday.
One of the many surprises was that to enter the garden we just walked across this little bridge. There was a box there to put your entry fee into. I had expected an entry booth, toilets, souvenir shop… Thank goodness we *had* stopped at the patisserie!
So from this point on, let me just tell you that I took 450 photos in the next nearly 2 hours. That David, and here’s the biggest shock, took 140 photos, and he didn’t even start to ask if I’d had enough yet until more than 1½ hours had passed by.
We stepped over that bridge into the most magical, beautiful, incredible world. And I’m getting blinky eyed as I type this. Unlike the patisserie, the feeling here just covered me in goosebumps. Even if I hadn’t known, I could feel that there had been a very great loss, yet love had been poured massively in and there was healing. It had a ‘sacred temple’ feel to it and I hope that all who go here will treat it as such.
One very cute sign at the entrance noted ‘Please feel free to pull any weeds as you look around the garden’ – or words to that effect. There was indeed Art, Humour, Beauty and Fantasy here, as the sign proclaimed. The vast majority of the sculptures were life-sized and incredibly detailed. And finally, before we get to the photos, I want to say that I absolutely adore the photos that I took here, but none of the artistic acclaim is mine, it is all Bruno’s!
And yes, the gardens were all growing back, lush and green and with some amazingly beautiful plants.
This one, I have since found out, is a life-sized portrayal of an oil painting named ‘The Lady of Shalott’.
This one was a whole person and a sign said to look out for 27 mice on it. You can see a lot just on the head.
I don’t think I’ve ever taken so many photos in such a short space of time in my whole life. I shoot in Manual mode on a DSLR camera, and I have never given my camera (almost 2 years old) such a workout! Going from a smaller aperture for the sculptures to a large one for the flowers, constantly back and forth, and watching for the changes from sun to shade around the garden. It was so exhilarating to feel that I’d finally got a decent grip on what to do with this photographic tool in my hands.
In the end we did manage to drag ourselves away, we still had much to achieve on this day, but first back to the patisserie for a drink and to use their facilities before the long journey back towards the city. We enjoyed a nice iced coffee each and watched the antics of the king parrots outside the window.
And then my camera ground to a halt. I’d filled the memory card!!! We had been downloading (as copies) our photos every night to the laptop, as well as then copying them on to my portable hard-drive so it was not an issue – I just looked through and deleted some pictures, but it was a strange feeling! I suspected that my smaller card was almost full as well as I’d used that on the earlier days of the holiday.
Anyway, before we left Marysville I rang a family friend, Anne, as we’d arranged to pop in and see her, her husband and mother on the way back to the city. I just let her know that we were now on our way and would be there in however long it took to get from Marysville to Glen Waverley. Hopefully that meant more to her than us LOL And we set off on our way. I turned my phone on, hoping it would have regenerated its battery a little, but not so lucky, so typed in our destination and hurriedly wrote down the instructions, before turning it off again.
The journey went smoothly, though it included another journey on a toll road, and they made me feel very uneasy because we were so ignorant of how we were supposed to deal with them. But we found our way without a hitch, parked in the nursing home parking lot, and went inside. There was nobody around so we waited. Still nobody, and you know what we wanted before we saw our friends so we started peeking around corners trying to find ‘the required room’. There were some residents watching TVs, but nobody in charge to ask anything of. However, we found a visitors loo and then came back to reception. This time there was a man on ‘our side’ speaking to an invisible person behind a screen and he asked the person to come and see to us. The person appeared, looked very uncomfortable, shuffled around a great deal with some papers and then said he couldn’t help us and disappeared again. How did he know he couldn’t help us? He hadn’t asked what we wanted!?!?!?! And we waited, and waited, and got rather fed up until he eventually came back and asked what we were there for. If it was to look at the home with intention of putting anyone in there we’d have been gone long since! But we told him who we wanted, and he corrected our ‘short form’ of her name, which came across as authority for authority’s sake, but then managed to find a nurse and asked her to help us find our friend.
The nurse was gorgeous! And escorted us personally, all the way to our friend’s room, and then we had a really lovely visit and chat that I’m sure none of you want to hear about. We did ask our friend’s son-in-law about the toll roads and he said he doesn’t know because he has a standing account with them. Damn! I’d hoped to find someone who could help us!
And… I suspect that this is plenty for one page so I will finish the many remaining events of this day on the next page.
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