We spent the weekend at Helen and Brian’s of Ballarat.  Lovely people, both retired teachers who spent a year in Texas on exchange several years ago.  They live in an old house, 1896, one of the oldest in Ballarat.  We were warmly greeted and had a lovely dinner of roast beef in front of a roaring fire.  Ballarat is a gold mining town situated about 1.5 hours from Bendigo, on a slightly higher ground.  So the temperature there is a little cooler than here.  Friday night was a rather chilly one.  Brrrrr!  Saturday, we spent the day at Sovereign Hill, an old mining town, recreated.  There is much to see and do there, including panning for gold.  We tried our hand but no luck.  We also took a tour of a gold mine – a 15 minute walk about 3 stories underground.  Not too creepy but I wouldn’t want to work there…

tents at the Chinese mining camp
Sovereign hill costumes
exchange teachers in costume
having a James Squire beer
guinea fowl
a man gets thirsty mining gold













Dinner was a terrific bbq at another exchange couple’s home in the countryside.  They had a huge backyard where we were able to observe the closest moon in 20 yrs.  Dinner was delicious, with a sampling of shrimp, kangaroo meat, chicken, snags and steak.  Lots of salads, some bubbly and great wines and of course, the required pavlova for dessert.  We met a lot of really nice people and have made plans to return to visit them and Ballarat when the kids are here.  We’ve also invited them to come visit us and catch up with some of their friends here in Bendigo at that time.  The fun times never slow down…

Shelley and me - a new friend who exchanged to Phoenix
autumn sunset in Ballarat - what a great night for a bbq!

After a lovely breakfast this morning, we drove back home with a stop at the chocolate mill for a few samples.  I was wearing my Canada tshirt, so the chocolatier came out to chat with us.  It turns out he’s from St. Hyacinthe, near where I grew up outside of Montreal.  It’s a small world…

We took some time to visit the Olive Fiesta on our return to Bendigo.  It was on at the Bendigo Pottery.  Entry price – $10 per person.  Not cheap but there were lots of olives and olive products to try.  Leon purchased a $5 wine glass that entitled him to try as many wines as he wanted.  Good deal!!!  I was driving, so I didn’t do any tastings.

We visited the Bendigo pottery while we were at the festival.  It’s been in operation since 1858 and they still make pottery.  Of course a good part of that is the museum they keep.  After a walk around, a sausage on a bun for two, a short stop to listen to some great music and a tour of the pottery museum, I bought some delicious olives and some garlic olive oil for future treats.  Great weekend!!!

huge kiln
giant kilns at Bendigo Pottery
Leon found autumn on the roadside, the leaves are turning gold