Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wheelie Girls and Beer Bum Chicken

Actually I wasn't going to do this as a Theme Thursday post but since it features a couple of suitcases, it sort of works. If you want something more specifically suitcase related, here's an oldie but a goodie if you're a new commenter this year.

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.

Redrum anyone?

You can click on the pics to enlarge them if you have time.


Grow Up said...

That chicken looks good, must give it a try! And I've seen the trailer for Teeth, reminds me of a series of books called the Saga of the Exiles, starting with The Many Couloured Land.

ashleigh said...

Oh yes! You have captured the spirit of Melbin on a cool day! During the hotter weather, people dress differently.

Federation Square. Oh. Dear. What a hideous disasterous shambolic mangled mess. And in summer it's stinking hot. Some gimboid wants to build something similar in Adelaide. What rock did this ninny crawl out from under. Yuk.

FANTASTIC photo of the beach huts. When you starting your photoblog?

Candie Bracci said...

Hi!Welcome back!This must has done a lot of good for you to have a break.Great pictures and great post!And...

Love that movie!It's true it looks a bit like the same hotel!LOL!

Have a nice day :)

River said...

Teeth? Hmmm. I'll have to check on that, I love horror movies. This was a nice post, with lovely pictures, love the beach huts, I'm keen to read the next instalment.

nick said...

Looks like you had a really great time. I can't believe the devastation those bushfires caused, it's awful. Looking forward to the full story of the spooky Stephen King hotel....

Leah said...

Such a fun travelogue, thank you for sharing it with us!

I had to look up Vanilla Slice. It's only 6 a.m. and now I'm having a random craving for some...

Brethred said...

I feel weird commenting on a post that involved me, but just wanted to say that GB and I had a fantastic time with you. It was great to meet Clare and I am really glad that you enjoyed yourselves. I am very fond of my adopted city and like to hear people describe it. :)

Susan said...

Oh, I wish I could go! I love Captain Cook's cottage, very pretty--love your account of arriving even better! I'm glad you enjoyed your holiday (and survived the flight!).

Gledwood said...

1} Is that really the green that's left in such a swathe of burning..? That's terrible :-<...

2} That trendy square looks almost... German, ha-har!!

3} There's been a lot about beach huts in our press in the last few years after one sold for about £600,000... almost every arricle I've seen about them claims them to be a "uniquely British institution"..!

Brian Miller said...

wow.a great ride thus far...seems a wonderful time. the pics are amazing.

Brian Miller said...

welcome back... : )

i beati said...

you put a lot in those days girl !!!wow - what energy or fuel???

Grannymar said...

Welcome home!

I am enjoying the tour of Melbourne and look forward to Part 2.

The new growth is wonderful to see amid all that devastation from the fires.

ian said...

If that's wintertime in Australia, it's time I emigrated!

Baino said...

Grow up it was fantastic, something of a speciality for our host - he's a keen barbecuer. God, that movie was arguably the worst I've seen in a long time! So awful we laughed all the way through! (love your little green ganoolies)

Actually Ashleigh it was warmer than Sydney and we were totally unprepared! Bit breezy but definitely T shirt weather apart from Tuesday. Weird thing that Fed Square . . although we spent a bit of time in the Transport bar! Good central place to meet up. Not sure I'm good enough for a photoblog yet but I'm on Flickr.

Candie it was indeed a good break but my feet still hurt! Lot of walking. That hallway just reminded me of the Shining!

River, don't go there . .truly . .it's awful. If you like a bit of gore and a few vampires go 30 Days of Night . .

Nick I was wondering what all the 'brown' trees were until the penny dropped. There were more fires in the southwest and I'd forgotten completely about the North eastern fires. That's just a tiny portion of the devastation they caused. The hotel wasn't that spooky but it looked it! Very classy old Victorian gal.

Leah these had to be tasted to be believed. I'm not a sweet tooth but man . .they were gorgeous.

Hi Honey. we had a ball too. Hope you managed to stimulate some gardening action although I didn't fancy your chances. We could have done with you at the High tea . .soooooo muuuuuuuch caaaaaaake!

Suze I'm not sure but I think it really is his house and they dismantled it in Yorkshire and rebuilt it in Fitzroy gardens. He never lived here of course, just laid claim and pissed off to Tahiti!

Yes Gleds, the little patches of green are the cleared farmlands below. They really were horrendous.Fed Square? Yep, very Berlin but totally useless as anything other than a gathering place. I guess it was the English who originally built them and I believe they're pretty exe here too but only found on Port Philip Bay I believe.

Thanks Brian although we came back to cold wet Sydney!

iBeati - fuelled on great coffee, eggs benedict, a couple of very exe dinners and a lot of chardy and champagne! My feet are sore still!

There's more where that came from Grannymar . .it's a city you need time to discover. So much down alleyways and on the third floors!

Ha! Well you're welcome any time Rev but it's a bit chilly on the lilly if you know what I mean! I need a pair of wellies to go up the back paddock!

Anonymous said...

sounds like such a fabulous time - I cannot wait to visit too some day!

hokgardner said...

Those little seaside huts are wonderful. And we make beercan chicked here - it's one of my favorite things.

Anonymous said...

Simply fantastic, Baino! If I ever get to Melbourne, I'll have a heck of a reference. Intersting, those colourful beach huts. And the last snap; indeed a spooky looking passageway. Awaiting more!

Bimbimbie said...

Glad you had a wonderful time, always a good sign when you come home with tired feet. Good luck with the HR gurus*!*

Grow Up said...

They're gooseberries. Bitter, hairy, thorny, and prone to mildew. Or as EM puts it, delightful but with a zing.

Colette Amelia said...

great photos of a great trip! perfect addition to the suitcase theme!

Jay said...

Sounds like you had a great time! Pity you didn't meet David, but as you say, next time!

The beach huts look just like English beach huts! Are you sure you didn't take that picture down on the south coast? LOL!

I would love to go around Captain Cook's cottage! I love things like that. But Federation Sq looks a tad .. modern for my taste.

Kath Lockett said...

Great photos - love the double chooks!

Poetikat said...

Great photos and story. Beer bum chicken sounds...interesting, BUT tasty.
Oh, and mine's a Lagavulin.

A Canadian tag, eh? Let me know if you ever come to Toronto.


Megan said...

Wow it sounds like you had so much fun! Best of luck with the HR gurus I hope they find you something wonderful.

Where can I get the recipe for that chicken?!?

Ronda Laveen said...

Glad you had such a fantastic time. The pictures are great and I loved the slide show on the side bar. That row of colorful houses really caught my eye. Good luck tomorrow. Hope you have sun instead of drizzle for you interview.

laughingwolf said...

ok... damn google ate my post... again! GRRRRRRRRRR

The Silver Fox said...

Wow, some great shots! And I love this line: "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."

And I'd love to try some Beer Bum Chicken.

Kate said...

It sounds as if you had a scrumptious time - those beach huts remind me of my childhood!!!