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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
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Reports

Monday, 12 August 2002
--> Beaumaris, Melbourne, Australia

Today I could stay another day with Menno and Marian Hoffmann in the southeastern suburb Beaumaris I still had to catch up in my writing (lots of off-web stuff too unfortunately) and after almost four days in a bus, it all piles up.
In the afternoon Menno took me to the CBD (Central Business District) of Melbourne, The kids Daan and Job had do go to a school concert rehearsal for an hour and while they were practicing for tonight’s concert, Menno drove me around the square grid that is Melbourne in the middle of most local maps.

It’s fascinating to drive through Melbourne, however I can’t really ‘catch’ it yet. One day I am in Perth, a few days later in Adelaide and in a –blink– I am in Melbourne. I might have to spend a few more days in the second largest city of Australia to realise that I am really here.

Melbourne’s many stately 19th-century buildings blend in well with the modern towers of 21st century commerce, and the wide, tree-lined boulevards give a spacious feeling to this most European of Australian cities.

Interesting fact: In 1835 it was John Batman (his real name!) and a group of businessmen who bought 243,000ha of land from the local Aborigines for some jewellery (just like Peter Menhuit bought Manhattan from the Indians).

Back in Beaumaris again. Menno and I studied my list of invites and he helped me by putting dots on my Melbourne map. I might have three actual invites from the city of Melbourne, but I have over 50 places where I am invited just outside that very small city centre. I have to cut some trees to see the bush!

“Are you going to Tassie?” was an often-requested phrase by local Aussies when referring to Tasmania. “If have no idea yet. I don’t know if I’d make it on time because I have only 24 days left on my visa.” And earlier I have already said that I might have to skip the Tasman state island, because I have to catch a plane in Sydney on September 5.

“You would regret it so much if you would miss Tasmania,” Menno told me. “You just can’t pass it like this, not while you this close.” And then he really surprised me: “I want to sponsor the ferry or plane to get you to Tassie,” he said. No way, I thought. What?

And half an hour later we were on the web, selecting this week’s flight’s schedule to and from Tasmania! I am going to Tasmania! Who would have thought that?

Ramon.