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20:49. Ibis Style Motel, Orange
We are relaxing in our motel room here in Orange after a day driving out here from Sydney. We woke up at 07:00 and had a quick breakfast and showers before packing the car and setting out around 08:30. First I had to drive over to Bunnings to buy some felt adhesive pads to stick under the rear number plate on the car to stop it rattling after it came back from the repair shop.
We headed northwest via the M2 to Old Windsor Road to Windsor and Richmond, then across the mountains on Bells Line of Road. We passed through Bilpin, Mount Tomah, and Bell, before descending from the mountains into Lithgow. It was about 11:00 by now and time for a stretch and second breakfast, so we stopped in town. Being Easter Monday, almost nothing was open, but we found the cafe at the railway station and stopped in for some raisin toast and pancakes. Immediately after we ordered, a train arrived, and about twenty people came in and ordered coffees. The two women working there were swamped filling coffee orders and didn't start working on our food until they had them under control, so it took some time for it to arrive. It was worth the wait though, as M. said the raisin toast was good, and the pancakes were excellent, with grilled banana, strawberries, ice cream, and maple syrup.
We continued driving west to Bathurst, where we pulled into the tourist information centre on the edge of town. I was interested in the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum, and found a leaflet for it, which showed it was right in the middle of the town. We also grabbed some brochures for Orange and Mudgee, which listed plenty of attractions. Then we left and drove into the town centre and parked near the mineral museum. We weren't sure f it would be open, but fortunately it turned it to be. We paid the $8.50 entrance fee each and a friendly volunteer woman gave as a brief introduction to the museum, then let us wander around on or own.
Tyrannosaurus skeleton, Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum, Bathurst.
The museum is inside an old schoolhouse building, which has been renovated and fitted to with very modern and nice displays for the large collection of mineral samples and a slightly smaller collection of various fossils. It was all very impressive, with plenty of large and colourful samples. The fossil section had many common fossils, plus some rarer ones, like a leg bone and a tooth of an Allosaurus, and a Velociraptor skull. There was also a full sized reproduction skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus and a smaller Albertosaurus. We didn't have the museum to ourselves, as a couple of families with children were wandering around in there with us.
Leaving the museum, we walked around the main street to find somewhere to eat lunch. We found Elie's Cafe, in an old hotel building. It was busy and had several awards on an inside wall, and the food looked generous and good. M. got some grilled cheese and tomato toasts, while I got the special focaccia of the day, which was chicken and pesto wot salad, and a side of sweet potato wedges. It was good.
Most of Bathurst was also closed for the public holiday, but we walked through the small park which contained the war memorial. The rose garden there was lovely, with huge fragrant flowers in several colours. On the far side we stumbled across Annie's Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlour, which was temptingly open with pink decorations and a mixture of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis memorabilia. Te place looked amazing, and a guy behind the counter was serving scoops of delicious looking ice cream to several customers. I chose a small cup of chocolate honeycomb ice cream, which was thick and delicious. While I ate it in a very pink booth, M. dashed back to the car to retrieve the Orange tourist guide to peruse.
Annie's Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlour, Bathurst.
After finishing the ice cream we left Bathurst and drove to Orange, where we found and checked into our motel for the night. We rested while watching the early news on TV. The news here in the country is different from big city news. The main stories were about the fishing competition in Dubbo and the camel races in Forbes. After that we went for a walk into town to find somewhere to have dinner. The guy at reception had given us a list of restaurants with Easter ending hours, and there were not many open tonight. But one turned out to be the Bhodi Garden Vegetarian Restaurant, which sounded good. We spotted it just as we reached the centre of town, but continued on to have a look around and consume some time since it was still fairly early. We walked several blocks up the main street, passing lots of shops and places to eat, most of the closed. There was a pub on virtually every corners, but most of these were closed too, with only the two large double storey pubs facing each other across a diagonal street crossing being open. We passed a good looking Japanese restaurant, on the way back, but continued back to the Bhodi Garden.
This turned out to be very similar to our local Green Gourmet vegetarian restaurant at home, with a bewildering array of menu items, including four pages of different types of tea. We ordered some steamed barbecue flavoured buns, a fried bean curd roll in ginger and soy sauce, and some smoky gluten pieces with steamed rice. I had a ginger tea and M. chose the most highly recommended green tea variety. The ginger tea was very spicy and a bit sweet. All of the food was delicious, with the fried bean curd roll being the standout. It was quiet in the restaurant, but there were a couple of other tables of people eating in there. A sign at each table advertised a vegetarian banquet special for the Orange food festival in a couple of week's time, mentioning that this was Orange's only vegetarian restaurant.
Before eating, we'd stopped off quickly at the SupaIGA supermarket to pick up as one chocolate for dessert. We wanted some dark chocolate, and found they were selling leftover Easter chocolate cheap. We got a dark Lindt bunny, 100 grams, for half the price of a standard 100 gram Lindt chocolate block! After dinner we walked back to our motel to relax and turn in for the night.
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