Sorrento and The Great Ocean Road

We are just back from a weekend in Sorrento and touring part of the Great Ocean Road.  We took our friends Srijana and Lokraj (our host family in Nepal in 2007) away for the weekend.  When we were arranging the weekend via emails and announced our plan to them this was their reply:  “wow it will be great time for us thanks a lot for that.IN my whole life we  haven’t been such a long holiday .We are so happy thanks”. I shed tears when I read this.  That was definitely a great inspiration to have a great weekend away.

We headed down to Sorrento Friday night to stay at Andrew’s parents holiday home.  On the way down there were lots of questions about holiday homes and does everyone have one?  Then as we reached the seaside towns they wanted to know which houses were all the time homes and which were for a holiday!  It’s hard to explain our blessed Australian life sometimes.  Why would some houses sit empty at times, it really doesn’t make sense.  This was the longest holiday for them as they have only ever traveled to visit family to celebrate festivals in Nepal.  No such luxury as a break from life in the form of a holiday.

Early Saturday morning we drove onto the Sorrento -Queenscliff ferry for a 30 minute ride across Port Philip Bay.  This was the first time that Lokraj and Srijana had been on the sea.  From Queenscliff we drove towards the Great Ocean Road.

Map from Go Birding Tours

Our first stop on the winding road was Bells Beach to show Srijana and Lokraj surfing!  They thought that it was very strange that people would sit in the cold water and wait for waves to come past.  Back in the carpark we looked at a friendly surfer’s wetsuit to reassure Srijana that they were wearing something to keep them warm.

From here it was a windy drive along the coastline for some breathtaking views.  Nothing like travelling with “tourists” to make you look at the beauty of the Australian Coastline with fresh eyes.

We visited the Twelve Apostles, 8 limestone stacks created as the sea gradually eroded the soft limestone cliffs between Port Campbell and Princetown. I have seen many photos of these but they were still very impressive in person.  It was quite windy and cold but we had a good time exploring on the boardwalks.  Andrew had a fantastic time taking photos of course and you’ll see in Flickr there are quite a few with people in them!

Eva in the sling was quite the entertainment with some Asian tourists even taking a photo of her!  Eva certainly was the warmest and most comfortable of us all.

We headed back on the inland highway to avoid the windy road and Eva had a great sleep which was perfect.  Poor thing it really isn’t much fun being in the car all day even when there are people either side of you for entertainment.  I think that she ate her weight in snacks throughout the day although I did vacuum a fair amount of food out of her car seat upon our return.  We loved the iPod as it gave us a great variety of Children’s songs to choose from.  Srijana was able to sing along with some of them which was great fun.

Saturday evening was spent with Pizza and Tim Tams in front of the TV to show them some AFL.  Unfortunately we did have to watch Port lose to the Western Bulldogs.  They couldn’t believe that the game was being played in Darwin where it was 26°C at night!  Srijana was asking me for new recipes to try which I thought was hilarious seeing as she is a wonderful cook compared to me.

Sunday was relaxing with a walk along the Ocean Beach at Sorrento to begin with.  I had a great time with the camera, Andrew wore Eva and they looked adorable and Lokraj wrote names in the sand and got his shoes wet with a surprise wave!  Srijana and Lokraj felt the sea water for the first time.  They would like to come back in Summer to swim at the beach!  We had to explain tides to them, oh the joy of remembering science.

After this we did the Millionaires Walk on the cliff top over looking Sorrento passing some very divine homes with gorgeous sea views.  The weather turned very chilly and it started to rain so we headed back to the house to tidy up and drive back to Melbourne.

Srijana and Lokraj were just so delighted with weekend.  So pleased to spend time with us and see some new sights.  We planned some more weekend getaways around Victoria on our long drives.  Their reading and comprehension of English is very impressive after 2.5 years living in Melbourne.  They did enjoy the opportunity to ask lots of questions with lots of interesting discussions about the Australian lifestyle.  They are in the process of applying for a further temporary residency visa but with the rules continuing to change and the upcoming election they are not sure quite what their future holds.  They are happy with what they have achieved in the past 2.5 years so wont mind if they go home sooner than planned.  At least they will have the chance to see their daughter Shreetika (6 years) if they go home.

Thus it was a very enjoyable weekend to see them enjoy themselves to much but I still wasn’t able to relax very well.  The preparing and packing for just a weekend away when there is a small person to consider is quite significant.  So much to organise.  Also I was forever thinking about when Eva would sleep and eat which of course she didn’t want to do much of anyway!   I find parenting in another house somewhat challenging.  At our home Eva is free to roam and explore although this is becoming more challenging as she is quicker and more adventurous all the time.  In another house I am constantly wondering what cupboards and drawers she has opened and emptied and especially hoping that the stair gate withstands her constant pushing!

Regardless of these concerns on my behalf we had a great weekend and really enjoyed sharing a little piece of Australia with our Nepali family.