Alex and I wake to a beautiful morning in the country town of Bendigo, Victoria.
Last night was our first night in our boutique accommodation called Fountain View Suites.
Today we will explore Bendigo on foot, maybe do a little shopping, and then later tonight take a ride on the Blues Tram
We head for coffee at El Gordo in Chancery Lane. My Bendigo guide recommended this place for its coffee and it turns out to be the cutest little hole in the wall type coffee shop.
The coffee at the El Gordo comes with a triangle of watermellon on a toothpick…what the? And, despite its cups not having handles (weird?), this place is spot on.
The banana and white chocolate muffin, while smaller than I would have liked (because I love my sweet stuff), is actually quite sufficient. Total bill AU$18.
Alex and I spend the next several hours aimlessly wandering the streets of Bendigo, venturing into stores, along arcades, laneways and along Bendigo’s Mall.
We look into shops like Provincial Living, Myer, Olive Birch and Bendigo Wholefoods and finish at Olive Grove on Bath Lane for a coffee.
With the car safely parked at the rear of our accommodation, Bendigo is a perfect town for walking around.
To finish off our day of (mostly window) shopping, we do a final sweep up View Street to more shops including Jimmy Possum and View Street Bazaar with its vast assortment of vintage items.
We have to eat during pensioner hour tonight so that we can get to the Blues Tram in plenty of time.
We come across Jo Joes on Pall Mall which turns out to be perfect for our needs. This is a casual and friendly pasta and pizza place with terrific meals for a reasonable price.
By the time we have ordered our meal and beginning to eat the place is packed with like-minded people.
Time to make tracks and start our 15 minute walk to the Central Deborah Gold Mine. Here is where the Bendigo Easter Blues tram is waiting for us.
We are told the trip will take 2-3 hours. It comes as a surprise to also be told that our tram will actually form part of the Torchlight Procession and Gala Parade along Pall Mall… cool!
The first of the two blues musicians for the night is Alistair Turrill.
Our tram reaches the intersection of Pall Mall and View Street where it quickly becomes apparent our tram is to in fact lead the torchlight parade along Pall Mall.
It looks like the whole of the community of Bendigo has come out to watch tonight’s torchlight parade; there are people 4 deep lining the road.
Given our tram is leading the parade, we unexpectedly spend the next 15 minutes waving to both the little tackers and adults alike, as they wave to us as we pass bye. Now I know exactly how the Queen feels.
A changeover of musicians happens midway through our trip and the second musician for our return journey is Lloyd Spiegel. Lloyd entertains us not only with his powerful voice but some amusing stories.
As we eventually pass back along Pall Mall on our return leg, the crowds from earlier have dispersed and moved on to better positions to watch the fireworks that are now in full swing.
Our tram ride has been timed for us to pass as the fireworks light up the Bendigo sky and we have a great view from the comfort of our seat, and still the blues play on.
We arrive back at the Central Deborah Gold Mine where everybody is in great spirits having enjoyed a wonderful Blues Tram event.
We walk the 15 minutes back to our accommodation at Fountain View via Mr Beebes. Mr Beebes is yet another cafe/ bar located within yet another of Bendigo’s gorgeous Victorian buildings featuring stunning high ornate ceilings and magnificent arched window.
What a day! Certainly the highlight was that we featured in the torchlight parade, waving to all the kids who lined the parade. I said to Alex how cool I thought it was. I might have mentioned something corny about there being a “connection” the way the kids look directly at you as they wave… he laughed at me but I know he enjoyed it too.