We're now back from Melbourne. Five days of sightseeing, hilarity, incredible imbibing, industrially decorated restaurants and boys wearing 1930's tennis gear in little wine bars that you wouldn't know existed from the street. Beautiful autumnal parks and trams that go 'ding' in the night and one of the spookiest hotels on the planet. Not to mention, meeting up with travel companions, nieces, old friends and new . . we had a wonderful time and frankly, I'm really quite sad to be back in Sydney watching the rain pour and rehearsing for tomorrow's 'interview' with two HR gurus who I hope, will find me employment by next week.
We packed a lot into our five days so I'm going to break it into bits over the coming week or so.
The flight was fine and my travelling companion's forearm spared the anticipated squeeze bruise. I even settled for coffee seeing as it was only 11am and forwent the G & T's.
On our descent into Victoria, we flew over the bushfire devastated Healsville area and were stunned by the size of the fires that had left thousands of acres scorched brown, leaves still on the trees. This one obviously taken through the plane window so a little hazy.
We descended through a pall of haze which they called fog, I called pollution. Although after two days it dissipated so maybe they were right after all . . .We arrived about lunchtime in Melbourne and wondered conspicuously about town with our wheely cases. We also appeared to be the only people in the city wearing 'colour'. Clare in her bright green surf hoodie and me in my new red trenchcoat. The city is populated by people in black suits and layers of grey albeit very funky layers. It seems Melbournians are much better at putting together a slightly offbeat fashion statement than their rather pretentious and boring, suited Sydney cousins.
We wondered from Spencer Street Station to Flinders Street, clunkety clacking all the way down Bourke street, being intercepted by homeless people wanting a dollar - probably looking absolutely like tourists and aided in no small way to a Canadian luggage tag on Clare's suitcase.
. . We stopped for lunch at Federation square. This controversial square is a 'gathering' place with a few exhibition and public spaces, bars, a couple of restaurants and is incredibly touristy. Spot the Aussie was a good past time during our very trendy but tiny portioned lunch.
We then headed down Flinders Street with our wheelies in tow and had a browse around the beautiful Fitzroy Gardens.
Plane tree leaves floated gently down as we wended our way through to Captain Cook's cottage, faithfully reproduced stone by stone and through manicured gardens and ponds.
I was to meet up with David McMahon of Authorblog but when he called we were deep in the bowels of the park and he was way up the other end of town so we agreed we'd try to catch up on Monday when we could arrange a more central rendezvous. Sadly it didn't happen so next time Dave.
As five approached, we headed back towards the city to meet up with Kahlerisms and Brethred. She joined us outside a city wine bar for a few drinky poos before Kahlerisms picked us up and drove us to their home about an hour from the CBD. While Brethred took off to buy fish 'n chips for tea we were given the grand tour of their new house including the old e-Type in the Garage, the mess of cables in what is referred to as 'his' computer room and shown where we'd park our bums for two nights and of course where to powder our noses.
I love Chris/Kahlerisms/Crispy because he's casual. He and Brethred are not the sort of peoplewhere you have to put on pretense and within minutes, we're all sitting in the living room, glasses full, wearing our scruffies and settling in for a night of it. We did well. Since neither were sure what we drank, they bought out a substantial part of Dan Murphy's and provided a wide variety of champagnes, white wines, beers etc. just for good measure.
And yes, we all sat, giggled, drank, checked out his odd collections of 'stuff' from silver matchboxes to KISS dolls and Star Wars soft toys. We spoke about obsessions such as the search for the best single malt whiskey and cameras and computers . . .in fact the night went really quickly before we tried to watch a late night movie and invariably crashed before the end! Man that guy has an amazing TV!
Brethred had arranged a day out on Saturday and Chris broke out his fabulous old Mercedes and chauffered us down to the Mornington Peninsula and Portsea for lunch at the pub.
I can recommend the seafood tagliatelle it was unbelievably delicious if not a bit sploshy and Clare managed to wear crab on her sunglasses for a good hour before it was pointed out. A beautiful part of the world where we walked along the cliff walk for some token fresh air before driving back down to Sorrento and having the world's best vanilla slice and tea . .yes it is the world's best Vanilla slice and one of the prettiest little villages to browse through.
We took the scenic route back to theirs taking time to admire the increasingly expensive seaside houses and the almost as expensive little beach huts which seem to be a peculiarity of the Port Phillip bay beaches. Colourful and cute, they house beach gear and kayaks, wet suites . . whatever you need without having to lug it from home to the seaside.
Dinner this evening was a little more exotic or erotic depending on how you look at it. Beer Bum Chicken . . .two cans of beer with garlic and rosemary inserted into the amber fluid before they themselves are inserted into two rather embarrassed No.12 Chooks and cooked slowly on the barbie. The end result, moist, beer and garlic infused chicken with a crispy salt and pepper crust. Fantastic.
Exhausted by a day of being chauffeured around in a luxury car, drinking, eating and taking in the views we proceeded to take in some DVD's and drink more Fleur De Lys Champagne than Seppelt have managed to produce in the last five years . . .one movie best left to the imagination was a slash horror called "Teeth". Not for the feinthearted when you find out where the teeth actually are!
Thank you my darlings for your exceptional hospitality you were the best hosts and we had a fantastic time. You were naughty to pay for everything but we loved being with you again and really hope to see you much sooner than in the next 12 months.
We bad them farewell about lunchtime after being graciously delivered to the city on Sunday, before heading off to our Stephen Kingish hotel for another cultural phenomenon that's taking hold here . . High Tea . . but that's for another day.
You can click on the pics to enlarge them if you have time.