Thursday, 30 May 2013

Byron & Below
06 September 2012 
A little side tracked by the run in with Coffee cherry finds and the purchase of my first 7 2' surf board - regrettably the writing was stunted for the remainder of the journey from Byron to home, Robe SA. The tastebuds made discoveries down this stretch of coast that still can be recalled. Bellingen was a pivotal stop. An alternate village of eager sustainable folk that are living, breathing and loving the simplistic existence of a small cluster of like mindeds' in the hills. Exchanging and sharing; nurturing thrifty community gardens, sourdough starters and locally brewed IPA. Every beverage or bite that passed my lips oozed with love and was outstandingly delicious. I recall a duo playing stringed instruments in 'The Purple Carrot' Tapas bar that reminded me of Warren Ellis' style of strings in The Dirty Three. The 'Golden Orb'. At the time, the curious artists were not playing often and were yet to publish any of their unique sound for the world to hear.
    No 2 Oak st - read a small sign above a small restaurant perpendicular to the small main street of the small Bellingen township. Shani, a wonderful host ensured there space made for my lonesome self in their bulging restaurant that was typically booked out. Rated highly in the Gourmet Traveller, I suspected many of the diners had travelled far for their fork full. Not in a van with an eagerness for a shower and real bed as I.
Dim lighting inside, warmed further by a fireplace and the comfort of linen and impeccable silverware. Big glasses for the big red grape juice for the noses that want to be big. Never have I been so nurtured as a dining customer as in No 2 Oak st.
No 5 Church st, Bellingen is the Friday night scene. This tapas bar bore candles in a spacious square space, crammed with assorted chairs for comfort. Along a far wall the biggest red gum communal table spread its trunk from the entrance to the bar. Convenient for some! Crunchy topped chickpeas with crusty buttered sourdough to nibble as we sipped the local IPA - brewed by the fellow sitting next to us. A folk band sent us a stream of jovial sound that saw most feet having a bounce at least several times over the course of the community felt night.
Meandering south, dodging the crowded pockets was the motive following my Bellingen joy. The Blue Mountains, Three Sisters was a mesmerizing early morning gaze at a pink and apricot haze to present our day ahead. The van and we crossed the Mallee plains, pausing for fuel and reputable steak sandwiches with the lot from the shops that the truckies stop.
Sun, surf, scenery, sleep & stomach attention are the makings of a break from the norm of routine. Mix them up a little on a beautiful journey and you will discover answers to everything.