Our time in the city of Melbourne was such a relief. We had been on the road for about one week before we reached the suburb of Reservoir where we would be staying with our dear friend, Tony.

Oh, Tony. Remember our friend, Charlie? While we were staying with Charlie in Bowen, QLD we met Tony, who is the father of Charlie’s son’s wife (i.e. their kids are married to each other). Tony came to visit Charlie for a few days while we were there as well and we had the pleasure of getting to know this sweet, hilarious, slightly hard-of-hearing old man.

Tony is an active, warm, spirited, traditional, 80-year-old Italian man. He has lived in Australia since he was 18 years old—but you would never know it to hear him speak (accept for the odd Australian phrase he’s naturally picked up after years in the country). He is largely one giant Italian stereotype: he has five children whom he checks in on DAILY; he loves to cook delicious, traditional Italian meals; he is a traditional gentleman who preferred to see me cook for Vince than work alongside him outside in Charlie’s garden (this probably speaks more to his age than his nationality); and he absolutely loves and cherishes his wine.

Tony was so generous and, even before we left Bowen, offered for us to stay with him when we passed by Melbourne on our journey across Australia. The day before we were scheduled to roll into Melbourne, we gave Tony a call. He estimated for us about what time we’d arrive the next day to his home in Reservoir, and we knew he would be waiting for us.

Coming to Tony’s was like coming home to your grandparent’s place: as soon as we pulled up, we were greeted warmly, swept inside the house (Come inside, unpack later), and promptly given instructions to lock the door (When Tony is home, the door is locked).

We were offered food and wine immediately—I’m pretty sure we were drunk by noon. Tony likes to keep your glass full and takes this good-intentioned yet sly pleasure in continuously giving you more (lol). We had our own bedroom to sleep in and enjoyed hot showers (the first in days!).

This first day in Melbourne was of the relax and recharge variety. The next day we ventured into the CBD (central business district, or downtown) and took in some of the sights and sounds of one of Australia’s most beloved cities. We enjoyed some coffee (Melbourne is known for its coffee snobbery—I mean, culture), walked through Chinatown, took the tram to the Docklands, and saw a free exhibition at the Australian Centre for Moving Image (ACMI). We didn’t have the best weather this day, but we made the most of it!

On our third day with Tony, we had the great pleasure of meeting one of his daughter’s, Diana, who spoke with us for a long time about our travels. She shared many of her own traveling experiences with us as well which really breathed life into what we are doing. Sometimes you can lose sight of the purpose and reward of traveling—it’s so easy to get caught up in the little, every-day decisions, stresses and THINGS. Diana really supported our adventure and gave us lots of helpful tips and suggestions for when we continued on after Melbourne. THANK YOU DIANA!

The day we left Tony’s house, we were sent off with so much love. It had been the perfect way to really prepare ourselves for the weeks ahead that we would spend on the road without a stop in a warm house and comfortable bed. There is no way we can express how grateful we were to Tony for welcoming us in so openly and generously.

Now, we would meet up with a friend of Vince’s from Montreal, Manu—just on the other side of the GREAT OCEAN ROAD. Let’s go!

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