We, as a group of 11 people, are taking off at 7 am this morning to travel along the famous Great Ocean Road, the starting point of which is about an hour away from Melbourne. I am already up since 3 am due to both slight jetlag and the excitement of the trip. I even find time to tour around the streets of Melbourne in search of good coffee. Melbourne is famous with its coffee shops. I am however disappointed to find out that none of those famous shops are open as early as at 6.30 am – not even Starbucks! I always need to check out the opening hours of the cafes whereas people are mostly more concerned about the closing hours.
As soon as I get back from enjoying my 1 Australian Dollar 7/11 coffee, our guide Shane walks in to pick me up. The majority of the people in our small group are americans. As I noted in yesterdays post, the Great Ocean Road is built by Australian soldiers who returned from the World War I in honour of their friends who lost their lives during the war. As you may know, Turkey was the main battle ground for Australian soldiers in World War I. At the time, it was thought that working on a site right by the ocean with camping opportunities would be recreational for the returned soldiers and help to lift their spirits. Covering a distance of 150 miles, the Great Ocean Road is the largest war memorial in the World. I am all day consumed with the thoughts of the brutality of war, lives lost on both sides and the famous words of Ataturk dedicated to Australian mothers: “Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives … You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours … You, the mothers who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”
We stop at many different spots during this whole day journey including a rain forest and a natural habitat for the amazingly cute koalas. We also get to see some kangaroos. We arrive at the famous 12 Apostles at the end of the road trip – it is as amazing as it looks on the photos. You should however be aware that there are 8 “apostles” and there has never been 12 – it was just used a way to increase the touristic interest in the region by linking it to Jesus` Apostles. Out of all the places that we have seen today including the famous “8” apostles, my personal favourite is however the Razorback region, which feels so other-worldy. I get back to my hotel at 9.30 pm and go to bed very early in the anticipation of the next day, which will be fully devoted to Melbourne – a city that I liked right at the first sight.