Monday, April 26, 2010
BARCELONA MEETS BENALLA
Deciding to travel to Bright, Victoria for a 5 day break turned into a discovery of delights that had my husband and I both saying "why haven't we been here before" & "sometimes the best places are right in your own back yard". Traveling the big wide world is an exciting and adventurous time but how well do you know your own country?
Our goal was a 4 hour drive to Bright with no stops and 'get us there fast'. But 2 hours into the trip we were starving and needed the ol' toilet break. Much to my husbands initial disgust I talked him into turning off to Benalla (which would take an extra 10kms out of our way). "Quick stop and we are out"- was the call from both of us. What we didn't expect was how beautiful it was.
With an unusual 25 degree Autumn day streaming through our windows it wasnt hard to be enticed by the local Botanical gardens as it blinded us with red roses, mature trees and a playground to envy any major town park. The locals were making the most of the sun and gorgeous parks so we got into the spirit and walked around the rose garden, found a monument to 'Weary' Dunlop and decided it was worth finding a nice cafe and stay for lunch. As we crossed the bridge a large public space rose from the river bank and made us feel we were being transported to Spain. The literature we found had no hint of a Guadi influence but the sinuous lines of the structure felt a world away from country Benalla.
A community project that is a work in progress since 1983 was adorned in handmade tiles picturing fishes, reptiles, local flora and its many nook and crannies were a delight to discover.
Opposite we noticed the local art gallery with a cafe on the balcony, so the venue for lunch was decided.
Another unexpected delight was not only the view but the menu filled with dishes made from locally made produce and this quick lunch had now turned into a feast.
We hadn't officially started our holiday but already my shoulders were relaxed, not scrunched to my ears and my husband had thrown the schedule out the window.
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