The treasure at the end of the rainbow
It is the third anniversary of my trip as I leave Adelaide in May 2015. Summer is over, brown leaves whirling through the streets and the temperatures have dropped significantly in the last few days.
My bike is fully loaded, I now have my warm things here and a good sleeping bag.
It doesn´t take long until the first rain comes. Just half an hour after leaving, I´m climbing the slopes of Mount Lofty ,it begins to pour and I get soaking wet. I realize my legs are already tired, in the last weeks I didn´t cycle much and also from stretching my muscles I have refrained today. Memories of my first day of this trip come back. Even then it had been raining, I was not very well trained and had to deal with the slopes in the mountainous Sauerland. But despite these difficulties (or maybe precisely because of them), then as now is in me this desire, this inner force that drives me. That stops me from just giving up, keeps me going instead of going back down the hill, back to Adelaide, or to stop a car. And of course I also know very well that after rain comes sunshine and after a long uphill it will go down sooner or later.
The weather is capricious, sometimes the sun shines through the clouds, sometimes the rain falls from dark clouds. Almost every day I see a rainbow, often extending over the whole sky. Never before have I seen so many rainbows as here and I marvel at the miracle of colors every time.
Melbourne is my next destination and the 1000 km from Adelaide to there are manageable. No major cities but many of the small australian settlements consisting of only a few houses, a pub, a supermarket and petrol station. And of course there are all these created tourist attractions. Historic buildings (150 years old), small parks and mediocre art attemp to attract the passing-by tourists and bring them to linger around and finally buy things.
In the evenings I pitch my tent at cow paddocks, in pine forests and one night I sleep in an old sheering shed. I had asked at a house for a place to sleep because all the willows beside the road were fenced off and I could not find a place for my tent. The farmer was very helpful and I even had electricity and hot water. That night it is pouring rain and I’m happy about my dry place to sleep.
The next morning it still rains but I continue. I have taken the Grampians National Park off my list and I really just want to get as quickly as possible to the famous Great Ocean Road and then to Melbourne. It’s not just the weather – cold, wind and rain – what makes the cycling and the outdoor life not so enjoyable: Somehow it’s just not as exciting as in Asia, where every day unexpected things happened and new encounters and conversations were an integral part of every day. On the other hand here I don´t have the solitude and challenges that I had in the australian outback.
Here is much more traffic, but the only car which stops in the two weeks is a police car and I get warned to wear my helmet.
The Great Ocean Road is beautiful. Spectacular cliffs and hidden beaches dot the coast and one night I camp with two other cyclists on the beach. The next morning the sun is shining on the rocks in the sea – a magnificent sight.
At the tourist spots, the parking lots are full of cars and busses and hourly thousands of photos of the patient countryside are snapped by tourists before heading back into the car and to the next viewpoint and touristic sight.
After two exhausting weeks I reach Melbourne. On a highway I cycle into the city, a piece of paper with a sketch and an address in my pocket. Glad to have a place to sleep and no idea what to expect I push the pedals. At that moment I didn´t know that the house and the people at my destination are a treasure at the end of a rainbow.