The scent of wattle fills the air and blends into the sweetness of apple blossom, its still a week away from the beginning of spring, yet Albury Wodonga's streets are bursting with flowers and buds. Magnolias, wattle and apple trees bloom brightly, jonquils, daffodils and pansys spray across the parklands and surrounding paddocks are filled with the sunny yellowness of canola. High above, wide blue skies and warm sunshine abound. there's still a cool crispness to the air but at least we've left behind the cold chilly winds and rains that have plauged the North Coast this winter.
We're about to jet out to a land of 34degrees but on the way have droped into see "the Bud" and "gorgeous Gal" at thier new home town of Wodonga.
Earlier this year they announced to us they were uplifting thier life and moving south. Big M and I were shocked,curious and if not just a little excited. Shocked that they had picked Albury Wodonga as they'd never been to the area before, we half wondered if they had played 'pin the donkey' one night after a few drinks and instead of a donkey picture, had used a map, the pin landing on the tail end of the Murray. I was curious as to what was Albury or her twin sister, Wondonga.....and quite excited at the prospect of discovering their unknown delights.
Since the Bud & Gals move, Big M and I have had the pleasure to visit AW a number of times and with each visit fall more in love with these regional gems. There is always something happening in AW and surrounds whenever we visit and this time is no different. A wander around AW streets is sure to delight the lovers of anything vintage and art inspired - lined with art deco architecture mixed with colonial grandeur, Alburys streets offer lots to discover.
After exploring Wodonga's street yesterday, enjoying the art work's that dot the main thoroughfare, today we decide to pay a visit to the Albury museum where we find an exhibition "Albury Delightfully Deco" in full swing. Big M was delighted to find a beautiful Cord 810 Sportsman 1937 on display, its curved sleek lines bringing images of Dick Tracey to mind. I was thrilled to find stunning bakalite radios in fluro jellybean bightness and fabulous vintage posters.
Our next stop in Albury was to the beautiful St Matthews church. Built in 1857-1859 of granite from the local Monument Hill, this stunning place of worship was guttered by a massive fire in 1991. Photos of the fire and the rebuild are on display in a corner of the church and after seeing the evidence of the destruction we are amazed with the result of its resurection. I chat with two lovely ladies who man the 'tourist desk' in the church's entry and we learn the beautiful ceiling was reproduced exactly to the old ceiling; the richly adorned pulpit and fretwork of the sanctuary were a gift from Westminister Abbey (England!) and that only one stain glass window was rescued from the ashes. This window was inserted into another window depicting a pheonix rising from the ashes - simply beautiful.
Our next stop is some 40ks away - Rutherglen - a village known for its wineries and colonial architecture. Last time we visited Rutherglen, we were two of twenty thousand who had descended upon the township. The Rutherglen Winery Walkabout was on (more like the Rutherglen stagabout...) and its delectable liquid delights were being celebrated. We had jostled for space on the street with drunken bananas, power rangers and red nosed santas... not to mention drinkdrivers of prams.
This time Rutherglen has the ambiance of a bygone era, the afternoon sun shines through the lacework adorning the hotels, plays gently on clay chimney pots and lightens the faded advertising signs of years ago. We wander the main street, turn up the 'best garden street' and marvel at the leopard tank in the memorial park. A late lunch and a sample of the local wine at one of the pubs completes our afternoon.
The drive back to AW is awashed with colour - sage green olive trees, a flash of blossom pink and the river gums ghostly white dotted by wattle yellow...a spring of new beginnings awaits