Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Tourist in your town Belgrave
We decided to take a trip to Belgrave last Sunday. We caught a Comeng train from Flinders Street Station and slowly went through the burbs, the tiny single fronted houses of Richmond to the larger Camberwell houses to the substanial old Box Hill houses. There was a nasty gap of houses around Bayswater with its many factories but from then on it became more and more bushy.
There were some stations I had forgotten, such as Chatam and Heatherdale. As the distance between stations increased, the train reached a cracking pace of about 80kmh. I love speed when there is a professional at the controls. I think it must be the steepest railway line in Melbourne. I was quite conscious of the steady climb. When returning, apart from a little power to move off from the station, the train rolled most of the way. It was a very pleasant and quiet trip up. R had warned me that smack heads might be on the train between Box Hill and Ringwood, but all was calm.
Belgrave is a nice enough town built on the side of a valley. It has a curved main street and lots of ups and downs and this makes it more interesting. Unfortunately is overwhelmed by motor cars and they really do detract from the ambiance.
We had a snack and coffee at a bakery and were bothered by European wasps. I have not seen these critters for years and assumed they had all disappeared.
This old bluestone building pictured surprised me. No idea of its purpose. There was a police station just a couple of hundred metres from the main street, but up the steepest hill you can imagine. Perhaps Belgrave's way of keeping its crime figures low. No one would walk up that hill to report a crime.
I saw a live music venue and noted some of the top notch bands scheduled to perform there. R already knew about the venue from workmates.
Belgrave's real claim to fame is that it is a terminus for the Puffing Billy steam train. I have been on the train before and have no intention of travelling on it again, but we were lucky enough to be at the station when it pulled in after its journey from Emerald Lake and watched the engine shunt from one end of the train to the other.
We did not stay in Belgrave for very long as there wasn't a lot to interest us. As we were leaving, R explained to a woman with two children the need to validate their tickets so that they will get out of the barriers at Flinders Street Station. We boarded the nearest carriage of the train as did they. I knew it wasn't going to be good when one of the kids jumped straight up onto a seat and stood there. The were absolutely dreadful brats and we moved to the other end of the carriage to get away from them where we both moaned on about how badly behaved many kids are when out in public, as your older person does.
We had to change to the Lilydale train at Ringwood Station and it was getting busy. At Blackburn we were invaded by many many Indians. Is there a good Hindi dvd shop in Blackburn? As a couple of them were obviously Sikhs, I correctly guessed, confirming later, that there was temple at Blackburn. But the b.o. pong from the one who sat opposite me was awful and there was no where to move to. Just had to put up with it all the way to Flinders Street.
We left the train at Flinders Street and headed for the first available tram to go home, but there was the woman with the two brats headed for the same tram. We looked at each other and the across to Transport Bar and decided we needed a drink. Halfway across, I thought it might be nicer to have a drink on the river bank at Riverside. I really like this predominantly outdoor bar. A couple of drinks and we were in a better frame of mind to go home. It was nanna nap time by then anyway.
Pics are the Belgrave main street, the old building from Safeway car park, Puffing Billy and Eureka tower from Riverside.