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Day 1

Posted by on December 31, 2023

Start:  Downtown Melbourne

Finish:  Springdale

Distance:  17

Total:  17

What a picture-perfect day for walking. Not a cloud in the sky and the temperature started in the high 50s and stayed in the 60s all day. My day started at 3:00 AM because of jet lag I guess, so I gave up trying to sleep at 6:00 when the sun came up. The hotel had no restaurant so the Mickey D’s next door had to do for breakfast.  I got out the door at 8:00 to start walking. 

I’m using Google Maps for navigation but I disregarded it for the first few miles and walked along a bike and jogging path that runs along the Yarra River through Melbourne. There were quite a few people out on a crisp Sunday getting their exercise. After a few miles on the pathway I began to follow my phone which took me through some very nice neighborhoods. As you can see in the photo below, this looks a lot like an embassy, but I guess it was a residence because there were no guards around. 

After making my way out of their version of Beverley Hills, I was walking through more middle class neighborhoods. Everyone seemed very nice when I would pass them on the sidewalk; most would greet me with a good morning or good day. 

By about 11:00 I happened upon a small business district in the suburb of Malvern. There was a coffee shop called the Coffee Ministry that seemed pretty popular so I went inside to take a break and have a milk shake. That’s where I met Leigh and Anna. This super nice couple let me join them at their table and we chatted for most of an hour. They’ve traveled all over the world and had some interesting stories to tell. 

After my milk shake break I finally made my way to the road I will be walking along for most of my way to Brisbane. Hwy A-1 (Prince’s Highway) goes 9000 miles around the entire perimeter of the continent of Australia. I’ll only see about 1300 miles of it. 

I finally reached my hotel at 3:00. That milk shake spoiled my appetite so I never ate lunch. The motel had an Indian restaurant so I had an early dinner there. 

It’s amazing how I forget how the first few days feels on these long walks. Even though today was a relatively easy 17 mile day, which is two miles less than I’ll average overall on this trip, by the end of the day I was really tired. It probably would have helped if I’d eaten lunch, but still I was whipped by 3:00. Looking back it’s always like this for the first few days with sore feet and muscles. But it’s amazing how your body recharges overnight and I’ll be ready to go tomorrow. 

Speaking of tomorrow, it’s an 18 mile day with a good weather forecast. I’d better enjoy it; the forecast is for three straight days of rain starting Tuesday. 

That’s all for today. No celebrating for me tonight on New Year’s Eve. I’m too pooped. JB. 

Beautiful downtown Melbourne and the Yarra River.
This neighborhood had some nice houses.
Leigh and Anna invited me to join them for a snack.
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Leigh Scholten
Leigh Scholten
5 months ago

Hi John, It was lovely meeting you and hearing about your journey(s), such an interesting person to meet on a regular coffee date for Anna and I. We’re sharing your journey with our mother and look forward to tracking your progress. Good luck and be careful of the heat come February. 🙂

Susan Davis
Susan Davis
5 months ago

I really enjoy reading about the friendly people you meet!

Jessie
Jessie
5 months ago

So glad you had a great day 1!

Wyn
Wyn
5 months ago

And you’ve met people already. Awesome!