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March 6, 2020
Geelong, Australia: Everything We Ever Wanted to Know About Sheep

Russell writes…

When our world cruise re-routed away from Asia, we were originally supposed to spend an overnight in Melbourne. As it turns out, four other cruise ships had the same idea, and there were no more open berths available in Melbourne. So our “final revised itinerary” put us in Geelong (pronounced “jeh-LONG”) instead.

Unfortunately, most of our excursions continued to be in Melbourne. As a result, the excursion we signed up for – “The Otway Fly Treetop Walk” – now included a 2.5 hour bus ride… each way. Gail decided she didn’t want an eight-hour excursion in which five hours would be spent on a bus. So we switched to a local four-hour excursion, “History & Heritage of Geelong.”

Geelong features 104 unique bollards all around the city

Russell has a retirement career as a cruise ship enrichment lecturer, and one of his most popular lectures is about the medieval wool trade. Geelong was the center of the Australian wool trade, and this tour would feature a visit to the wool museum. So off we went.

The Geelong Wool Museum was terrific. It was a three-story building full of history and industry. Many machines from the industrial age still operated, and were demonstrated by volunteers.

The Geelong Wool Museum

This amazing mechanized loom used a punch-card system to turn a rainbow of threads into finished wool carpets

We had a one-hour panoramic drive through Geelong, narrated by both Charlene (the guide) and Kevin (the driver) in a tag-team format. And we had a one-hour walking tour through Old Geelong Gaol by two guides in period costume. This jail was a literal house of horrors that shockingly remained open until 1991.

The Geelong Gaol Museum

Prisoners were confined in small dark cells for 22 hours a day. Their one hour of daylight was spent in these cages.

Prisoners were dressed as jesters to make escape difficult

The warden demonstrates how prisoners were punished – 50 lashes while “married” to the rack

Our tour finished at 2:00, but we weren’t done yet. We caught an Uber ride with another world cruise family to a wool store. Gail picked up another felting needle holder for a craft she is working on. She also found some raw wool and a drop spindle. She has used these props on our lecture cruises; she plans to start doing similar demonstrations aboard our world cruise. Gail also picked up a huge world map cork board that we lugged around town. We are excited to start marking our visited destinations (as well as cover up an unattractive painting in our cabin). Russell looked for more board games, but he didn’t find any.

The city government building features this stunning wall-length mosaic mural that depicts the entire history of Geelong

Gail’s purchase: a huge corkboard world map

Russell has been suffering from a dry cough that he has been unable to shake. It is known as “ship’s cough,” caused by dry air from the air conditioning aboard ships. Several different medications have not touched it. Last night, Gail requested a bottle of Courvoisier VSOP cognac in the cabin, which finally helped Russell (and therefore Gail) get a good night’s sleep. Today Russell also bought a couple of new cough medicines, which seem to be helping more.

The coronavirus continues to dominate the news. Following our tour of South Australia, we are supposed to resume our original itinerary in Sri Lanka. We have just heard that Sri Lanka is no longer allowing cruise ship passengers to disembark in its ports. Our “Magical Mystery Tour” continues…

Our ultimate solution for a good night’s sleep

Australia is having the same reaction to coronavirus as the US!

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