In the true spirit of adventure, we took a long distance XPT from Sydney to Melbourne (Little Miss O's fare was $1 one way....I kid you not!). It was actually not bad at all. Plenty of legroom. Wide seats. We were next to the buffet car which had tolerable meals (a smoked salmon wrap and Twisties are tolerable to me. I was very hungry!). Knowing public transport gets chilly, we brought our own little blankies and pillows to snuggle up in - Little Miss O got very comfy and had a decent sleep. In the morning, I watched the sun rising and the sky changing dark, indigo, green, gold, pink... At Melbourne, we stopped for a toastie and some coffee (hot chocolate for my small friend) and some excellent people watching at Southern Cross station and then on to Bendigo on the VLine - which cost just over $10 for the both of us.
In Bendigo, we dropped off our bags at the Schaller Studios,
grabbed a map and set off to discover cafes, op shops and beautiful architecture. I think we visited all the op shops in town - but two were particularly stand out because they were proper old school type ones - messy, maybe a bit musty, in old halls or church annexes and with 50c price tags. I felt like it was over 25 years ago, and I was rummaging and refreshing my entire wardrobe for a fiver. Ahhhh... They were the Uniting Care on McCrae Street and the View Hill Bargain Shop.... Definitely worth a rummage. We scored some fabrics and vintage souvenir scarves.
My faves! Probably best not to go with a four year old. Little Miss O does behave for hot chocolate, though.
We wandered through Chancery Lane
and then lunched at the gorgeous El Beso on View St - loved their eclectic wall art
and the pumpkin and goats' cheese tart -
pumpkin and goats' cheese being my food kink at the moment. Also formed a new addiction - Daylesford and Hepburn Mineral Springs sparkling lemon water. YUM. Loved the way it was served.
Back at the Schaller hotel, Little Miss O got to have a special treat of cartoons (she NEVER gets to watch them at home) while I fiddled around with the fancy EVO soap, made coffee in the coffee machine and read Frankie - which was in the room. YAY.
We popped up the road to the Cambrian Hotel for a super friendly drink (Mountain Goat summer ale - SO GOOD) and dinner. We were the first in the dining room at 6pm, but by 6.30-7pm-ish on a Thursday night, it filled up. No wonder, my pumpkin (see - again) pasta was creamy and pumpkin-y and nutty and more-ish - but MASSIVE.
A Victorian chardonnay which sadly goes un-named in my memory was just delicious. Go there!
The next morning, we headed over to the Old Green Bean Cafe for brekky.
Great coffee. Friendly staff and punters. I ate lots of yummy green things on toast
and Little Miss O had porridge with maple syrup and strawberries. We both loved the crochet cushion covers.
We admired some Bendigo architecture,
felt extremely jealous that we don't have a Bendigo Wholefoods Shop near us (one of the best health food shops I have visited in a loooong while)
and then popped into the Bendigo Art Gallery where we both loved the fridge painted by Arthur Boyd.
The rest of the time was spent with family and attending my cousin's wedding in a gorgeous little country church....
As usual - not sponsored, not sent freebies, not even asked nicely - this is just what I did and liked.