Paynesville – A Truly Aussie Experience
Dani had been with a pain in the achilles tendon for at least one month. We kept pedaling but we talked about that constantly. Franco and I trying to make Daniel realize that sooner or later we had to stop. We were talking about HIS tendon, not ours, but, knowing Daniel, getting him off the bicycle was one of the most complicated challenges.
In the previous days before arriving Paynesville, we happen to meet plenty of new people and the places where we slept were really different from the usual ones: the house of an Indonesian girl who invited us to spend the night after a brief talk outside a shop, the floor of an empty apartment which a stranger gave us the key after a chat in the street and a public restroom in the city of Stratford. I remember this night in Stratford more than any other because we met an exceptional musician named Willy at eleven o’clock in the evening in this public bathroom. He invited us to go to his van, where he lives, and we played music until late at night. It was crazy.
The point is that after so many places where you had to sleep and get up at dawn to leave no traces, getting to a town like Paynesville was a hug for the soul. Even more, when we met again with Bernie and Ruth Ryan. We knew them in South Australia, when we were playing at the Wirrulla Hotel. Bernie, a man of about 60, tall and robust, approached us after our little big concert (which lasted about three hours) and asked me to join him to the table where he was having dinner. There he was reproducing a YouTube video where I could see a kind of tin house floating in the lakes of Gippsland, southeast of Melbourne, about 2000 km from where we were sitting that night at the Wirrulla Hotel.
_“You and your mates have to come to play in the lakes. I wait for you in my house”
_”We will definitely go”, I said between laughs and after having a couple of beers”.
_”Here is my phone number for when you are close. You have to come”.
I gave him a presentation card from the The Bikings Project and told him that he could track our location on the GPS on our website. I said goodbye very quickly and joined Franco to continue entertaining the pub with more music.
Life kept going and we were again on our bicycles. I never thought of the meeting with Bernie again, which was very quick indeed and I did not fully understand what was all that floating house thing about. Was he the owner or that was just something crazy that had place in his hometown and wanted us to see it? I did not understand quite well so I never spoke of it again.
The interesting thing is that a long time after this fast encounter had happened, and to our surprise, we received an email from this man from Paynesville, Bernie. He told us that, according to what the GPS on the page of the Bikings said, we were about 700 km away from his house and he was waiting for us. Going to Paynesville to meet Bernie and Ruth again was now a must! These micro-objectives in this type of adventure are the best thing for the mind. A new place where to go and another reason keep on traveling. Paynesville, that’s the place.
We arrived Paynesville after having slept in the public bathroom in Stratford, as I said before. We meet Bernie again, the same tall and robust man, with completely white hair and eager to share. Ruth, a loving and extremely warm woman, invited us to enter what would be our new house while our stay in town. All the construction of their house was done by them with their own hands. Where we slept, it was a small apartment inside a big shed where Bernie works his projects. It was the place where they lived during the construction of the main house, which has a very particular, daring and incredible design. The TV even recorded a program with the process and the years it took to make the house. A very interesting documentary you can watch here:
In addition, they took Daniel to the doctor and helped him in his recovery.
These videos, photos and moments are a small piece of the many of things, we lived in this town called Paynesville, south of the state of Victoria, where we shared our music floating in the lakes in countless opportunities, witnessed different lifestyles and share with the local people who always teach us something new.
Many thanks to Bernie and Ruth!