MWW2019 Leg 5: “Rest Day” in Ballarat

Today is Sunday, the “day of rest”, so appropriately we scheduled one in. “Rest” is a relative matter, however, and, as we were on foot, any church attendance or sight-seeing was to be done on foot. I think I did almost 12km walking. I know that Josh did closer to 22km. Being at East Ballarat, we were two kilometres from the Cathedral. So (again, taking in consideration that daylight saving began today) we were up very early and all three of us headed down into the main part of town. Sean and I went to 8am mass at St Patrick’s (led by a retired priest and a woman cantor on the guitar), while Josh went off for a walk around Lake Wendouree. The lake circuit is 6km in itself. After Mass, Sean and I went to a Ballarat institution named L’Espresso. Founded 44 years ago, this is a coffee house which also sells music – not only on CD’s but also LPs etc. The coffee was very good and I had polenta pancakes for breakfast. While we were breakfasting, Sean and I worked out that we have so far walked 131.7km from Fitzroy.

I finished writing up yesterday’s journal on this ‘ere blog, and at 10am Sean suggested we decamp to the Art Gallery in Lydiard Street. While he went into the Gallery, I set myself up in the Gallery Cafe and marked assignments for my university class. Sometime around 11:30, Josh arrived and the Sean came back from his tour of the Gallery. We had coffees and then Josh headed off for the Extraordinary Form Latin Mass (low mass with choir). Sean wanted to do more exploring (I think he went to the Observatory), and I needed to do more marking, so I stayed behind for a while and continued marking until the Cafe became too full and I was clearly taking up a table that was needed for paying customers.

I then shifted around into the old Gold Exchange next door where there was a free photographic exhibition – and a nice couch to sit on with a power point near by to plug in my devices, and continued marking. I stayed there until I felt hungry and then moved off again to find somewhere to eat. I eventually ended up in the Beechworth Bakery where I had a pie, and continued marking. It was a bit noisy in there and I shifted camp again to a quiet space in an arcade in the mall. By this stage it was 2pm and I was wondering what had happened to Sean. We had planned to meet up again about that time to walk down to the Cubby Haus Brewery about 2km down Humffray Street. He rang at 2:30 to say that he was at the brewery and where was I?

To get down to the Brewery, you just follow the cobbled drain otherwise known as the Yarrowee River, until you get to the old Sunnyside Mill with its landmark chimney. You then head back around onto Humffray Street down to a little business area, and you will soon see the Cubby Haus Brewery. Malcolm, the owner and beer maker, was on hand, and Sean was the only other soul on the premises when I arrived. He was happily hoeing into a pizza that Malcolm had made for him. If I had realised that it was possible to get food at this spot, I would have come down there much earlier. I did a bit more marking while Sean did a little bit of mapping work. We tried several of the brews: the Good Witch Rye Malt Pale Ale, the Oatmeal Stout, and the Brown Ale – all excellent beers.

Josh, in the mean time, had gone out to lunch with his mate Daniel and his family, and now rang to say he was heading back to the Presbytery to pack up and head to the train station. We arranged to meet him there. Malcolm put his stamp in our pilgrim passports – it is traditional, by now, to have at least one brewery stamp for each leg. I asked why he spelled Cubby House in the German fashion, as “Haus”, and he said it was because his Grandfather was a German Jew from Berlin who managed to get out of Germany in 1934. Anyway, Sean and I walked back to Lydiard Street where we met Josh in the Art Gallery cafe again. We then went around to the Station and saw him off on the 5:13 train. We knew that he would see most of our trip since Tuesday morning in reverse. We are quite looking forward to the journey ourselves when we do it next Thursday.

It is always a little melancholy to wave goodbye to a pilgrim companion. We did this back in 2016 when Josh had to leave us in Moe. He returned later in October to do that section when we met him in Bairnsdale and walked on together to Orbost. This time, Josh plans to come back in December to complete the trail. Sean and I climbed back up Bakery Hill in a light drizzle (I noted with annoyance that there is a Kathmandu store at the back of the Woolworths on the north side of the Mall – I had been looking for a camping store to buy new rubbers for the bottom of my stocks – of course it was closed now). We went shopping at Coles to buy food for lunch tomorrow and also for dinner tonight. We decided to have pasta, with a sauce/topping of baby tomatoes, spinach, mortadella, basil, mushrooms and goats cheese. I grabbed a cheap bottle of red to go with it.

Back at the Presbytery, Fr Justin was not in, so we made ourselves at home. I spent a bit of time repacking: I intend to leave behind a lot of the bandages and liniments and medical supplies I bought with me that I don’t think I will need. I overpacked in this department this time in light of the injuries I suffered last April. I then cooked dinner for Sean and myself. There is a terrific gas stove in the kitchen that was a dream to work with. Justin has the kitchen well stocked with good olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper etc. I called Cathy and we talked for a while to catch up on everything. Sean then came in and we finished cooking and eating the meal together.

Now I am back in my room, and I can hear Sean talking to someone in the kitchen, so I assume that Justin has returned home. Josh has made it back to Melbourne and has settled into his hotel before returning home tomorrow. I’m going to try to get one more essay marked before heading to bed.

No map or distances today, but if you would like to see the pictures, click here! 

About Schütz

I am Catholic, married to Cathy, father of Maddy & Mia. Since 2002, I have been the Executive Officer of the Ecumenical & Interfaith Commission of the Archdiocese of Melbourne. I was once a Lutheran pastor, but a "year of grace" and soul-searching led me into the Catholic Church. It was a bumpy ride, but with the support of my (still Lutheran) wife, I was finally confirmed on June 16, 2003.
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