Were surrounded by badicoots!! back to nature.

Trip Start Sep 01, 2010
Trip End Dec 01, 2010

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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Monday, November 8, 2010

Wow...I have gotten a bit behind, but time has started to stand still and fly by at the same time as we realize we are getting closer and closer to the end of this giant mission. Its really crazy, with only 3.5 weeks left, I am really amazed by how fast it flown by, and yet how many places we've seen....I think I left off last time at the crashing point of all the photos getting lost, which now seems like ages ago...

The rest of that day ended with one more moment that makes you want to throw your hands in the air and give up...Ryan had been planning on going to train (martial arts) with a sensei in melbourne who is really good, and being that the type of martial arts Ryan studies is very rare, its not often he gets the chance to train under someone new for a try...So after multiple times checking internet to contact him and forgetting, or forgetting to stop at internet before leaving phillip Island, we found oursleves on our Great Ocean Road drive without any internet easily accessible. We finally found our way back to Apollo Bay where the Tourist Info Center has computers. Early in the day, as we got a late start,  he accepted that we probably wouldn't make it there. He didn't know what part of the city it was even in, and we were trying to make it to Greg's sister Cindy's house for dinner and to stay for a couple nights. Of course, When we finally got cell reception he discovered it was in Sandringham which is the same beach town Cindy lives in, and we were only going to miss it by 30 minutes. And they only train tues and thrus, so there wasnt going to be another chance unless we stayed for a few more days. so maddening and ironic, but we made it to Cindy's tired and hungry just as it was getting dark. 

Cindy and Stuart live in a really cute house in the quaint beach town of Sandringham about 45 South of Melbourne with their two kids, Scarlett, 5 and Zander, 2. Cindy had vegetarian dinner waiting for us, and though the kids were in bed, we sat out on the back deck and caught up for a bit. It was great to be in a home with family. The next morning we had beakfast and Cindy took the kids to Scarletts Kinder class to demonstrate how to carve a pumpkin into a Jack O' Lantern (which none of them had ever seen before because Halloween is just catching on here) We lazed around the house getting showered and doing laundry and checking into the cyber world (lots of time on blog). We then remembered it was our 2 year anniversary (or somewhere around it) and Ryan invited me out to dinner :) Cindy drew us a map and gave us intructions for a mission into the city, then to a trendy little hipster town with restaurants called st kilda. We walked through Sandringham to the train, took the train to the city (after getting pizza rolls from a pie shop) and then found ourselves standing in a city and wondering what we were doing there...

There is really nothing to do in a city when you have no money. People were zooming by us from every direction, and I got completetly overwhelmed. Ryan said "where should we go?" I said, "I don't know...what do you think?" but neither of us had an answer. Finally I just started walking away from the city toward the river and across a bridge where a bunch of restaurants lined the water, many of them very pricey. Ryan rolled his eyes and dragged his feet while I checked every menu and deemed each restaurant unsuitable. (honestly who wants to spend 16 on a basket of fries, or eat es cargot at 1pm...not me) But, thankfully just when I was about to lay down on the sidewalk and refuse to go on, we came across Bear Brass. A funky Brasserie with a nice selection of beers on tap and a tapas plate of hot olives, stuffed zucchini, pumpkin tourte and something else with carmelized onion. AMAZING!!! We sat in silence for a long time decompressing and slowely getting fried as the sun sank lower. Then we got in a fight cause I chose such a sucky table, and then moved to a better table in a way that was "rude". It was so fun. We wandered around in slience crossing back and forth over bridges both refusing to speak until finally we came to federation square and I said i wanted to see a movie and it was clear we were on totally different pages. So I sat on the ground in the shade and started reading about the city to see if there was in fact something we could agree upon. Ryan then admitted that he would like to go get money changed so we went to do that during which time i made up my mind I was going to the botanical gardens with or without him (i swear i mentioned it ten times and he never responded) and to my astonishment, He was all for it. and then we were both happy again :)

As soon as our feet hit the grass in the large chain of parks leading to the gardens, i started feeling so much more relaxed. took off my shoes and walked the mile or so in perfectly squishy grass as the sounds of the city slowely died out behind us. People were having bbqs, and jogging and playing with dogs, and I started to see melbourne for the first time. We arrived and wandered around in the manicured gardens untill collasping under a shady tree by a pond and listening to a crazy bird. I napped and stretched while ryan read our "East Coast Australia" book. Then we decided to walk the few miles to St. kilda as by the time we backtracked to the train, we could be half way there. We walked past some cool buildings and listened to music from a free concert in the background jumping from park to park to avoid stepping on any concrete. We laughed about how we were in a city and doing everything we could to aviod being in the city. I climbed a tree, and we ate some herbs out of an herb garden (some were super gross) and then walked around a big lake and laughed at the Urban wildlife with their city ways. It was super fun, and after about an hour of walking we were starting to get close...and tired...Ryans knee was killing him, and my legs threatened to fall off...we are way too young for this.

We made to to st kilda and found a corner bar in a trendy spot serving $5 beers and pizzas and humus. We tried Coopers which is really yummy beer, and got an appitizer. It seemed like a college crowd. People stopping in for a drink or two before hitting the bars, and it was funny people watching. We should have just stayed there, toasted our anniversary and had a $5 pizza, but this mystical clay pot veggie restaurant with a good atmosphere Cindy recommended sounded greener on the other side...so we set off again deeper into st kilda. hungry and tried, until we hit this super trendy, crowded but Kitchy town which is developed to the extreme with tons of TINY restaurants crowed to the brim, and at 8:30, the worst possible moment, everything was full...We went to the furthest end possible and found clay pot. I walked in and it was so loud i have no idea what the woman said to me for five mintues, and i looked up at the board and all the menu options were $50 each at least.  I  really didnt think it was good Idea to eat in a place like this, so we headed back in the other direction, and i just couldn't figure out where we should go, so we went  around town checking places, Ryan getting more furstrated with me every time, untill I picked a medium priced mexican fusion restaurant with a cool ambiance and we were led to a table where they literally had to pull it out, and sit me against the wall and then wedge me back in the corner and our elbows were touching the people on both sides of us. It was such a disaster. Then what looked medium priced turned out not to be so, as entree here means small portion and main course is the actual dinner plate...So, it was a grim dinner as we were both tired and cranky and the restaurant choice was not making things better. I found i had no appitite and to make matters worse, when i asked to take home my other taco for an amazing snack later, the guy said sure, and never came back as it it illegal to take food from restaurants...so sad :( We silently cabbed it home. Fortunatly the next day we were able to laugh about it...

We went on a nice bike ride with Stuart Cindy and the kids, and saw the lovely beach they live near. We played with the kids and watched Happy feet, waiting for a break in the rain that started up, but after accepting that the rain was not going to let up for the next few days we decided that instead of going camping in the thunder storms that were expected for the next three days we would go back to Phillip Island for a bit and then drive up to Sandringham so Ryan could train after all. Then head out to the beaches when things dried up. We drove out in the pouring rain and were happy to see Greg's compfy little home again. We cooked a homemade veggie pizza and drank a bottle of cheap red wine and toasted our anniversary properly, next to a warm fire in our pjs watching stand up comedians make fun of Canadians and Sweds on tv. The next day we vegged and relaxed. Ryan checked waves and I did a Yoga DVD hehe. Then we went wine tasting. This was my first wine tasting ever and when we pulled up it was really busy. There was a folk band and no seats, but we hung around for a bit untill the tasting area opened up and joined with two guys from melbourne to taste the local wines. It was really fun, and we each took a glass out on the back porch and chatted witht he local guys who told us all about the Melbourne Cup which was a national holiday for Horse races coming up that Tues. They said most people even take off  Monday and that everything shuts down. We knew this was something we had to check out, so it was good to get that info. 

The next day we went to Wilsons Promintory. Its a large national park with a small area you can access by car. It was pretty cool. We took a hike to Tidal River and Squeeky Beach and walked on the squeeky white sand. There were about 500 dead mutton birds which was a little freaky so we went and bouldered around on the giant rocks instead. We found some pretty funny climbing spots and I only drew blood once! success! We headed back up checking out this other part of the coast where dinosaurs used to roam...it wasn't all that inspresive but i felt bad cause they had really nice signs that said: Thanks for coming to visit us, and we really hope you enjoyed our coast...So it made me like it more cause their signs were so polite.

I cooked another Mexican lasange and a pizza to feed us through the next few days and we prepaired to go into the city Tues for Melbourne Cup and Ryans training. We spent the morning watching the pre-races on tv and cooking a nice breaky and washing clothes. Melbourne cup i so funny! The women get decked out in crazy hats and people of all ages take off work to gamble. I was looking forward to seeing the mayhem in the city. We headed out to try to catch the Pelicans again since I love them and wanted to have some pictures of them to show you gentle reader, but we arrived just as they all swam off! Bummed. We got into Sandringham where we had been told the Sandy Hotel pub would be packed for the races, and sure enough it was. We had a great time checking out the action, as people of all ages celebrated. I heard all morning about a promising Underdog named Americains, but didnt even think about betting. At the start of the big races, we declared we thought this American horse would win...We'll two minutes later, he did! With a pay off of 10:1...too bad we didnt bet! Well, I've never been much of a gambler, so we went off to have lunch and I got Fish and chips which is a local favorite. It came back a huge plate of fried batter! there was a fried dumpling, fried fish, fried chips and a second flat round potato patty...fried. I have never seen so much fried batter in one portion of food. After I ate it I walked across the street and bought an apple and a carrot cause I felt like i was going to melt into the sidewalk.

After killing a few hours, I jumped the train to downtown while Ryan went to training. After being accosted and forced to kick a drunk man off the train, I arrived at a lovely hotel to meet my Dad's friend Don for dinner. Oddly enough he was set to be in bali the same time as us and we tried to meet him there, but he had to leave early due to an emergency, but ironically he then went to Melbourne at the same time as us! He was in town for business and they had all just gone to the cup, so I showed up in my nicest outfit, which was jeans while everyone else in the city was in cocktail attire. I ate Lobster tortallini and drank yummy wine and had a great time chatting with everyone (each of the guys at our tabel was from another state in AUS so it was fun listening to them all debate which state was the best and where we should spend our time).

Then nest morning we headed out at noon to once again try to catch these killer pelicans. we got to see the feeding among 200 school children and i got a few good shots. They are such cool birds. As we got on the road, we followed a slightly inland route which led us through Gippsland valley wine country. We visited three different Winerys for tastings and learned a lot about wine. One of the farms was so fun we wanted to stay! We had a great time hanging with the wine master and he taught me how to loudly slurp my wine! We bought two really good bottles of his wine. I have never spent $24 on a bottle of wine, so i felt pretty grown up ;) haha! We headed off after blowing our budget on wine, and drove along the coast taking in the scenery. We went to cape Conran to camp. We built a big fire in a pit and then made mexican lasange and opened my spicy Shiraz. I have never enjoyed a bottle of wine more...and I'm still enjoying it as there are still a few glasses left! We sat by the fire and got totally freaked out by what we thought were bandicoots in the trees! we heard so much loud comotion in the trees, definatly freaked out. then we shine our light and there is this creature on its hind legs staring right at us, totally unphased! It was pretty funny, when we turned off the headlamp we couldnt help wonder if they were closing in on us. Turns out they were not bandicoots (this was a bandicoot perserve area) they were in fact the cutest possums i have ever seen. They look like little chinchillas, not the swamp rats we have in the states.

Well, I cannot for the life of me remeber what we did next, and this internet is slow for picture uploads, so i'm going to try and get a few pictures on and hopefully will catch up in the next few days. We are now in Byron Bay, and have seen a lot of great places in the last week. Will try to update soon!
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Chris on

Hi Berit, Sounds like a totally different trip. It will be so interesting to hear
all the details after you are home and have time to digest it all!!! Miss you
very much and love to read blog and see photos! Hi to Ryan. Do you want
Dad and me to pick you up from the airport????

Dad on

Loved the pics of Cindy, Stewart and the kids and Phillips Island. The pelicans are neat and look quite different from our USA pelicans. There was one pic of about 3 or 4 pelicans that was very cool. Know you are having fun, but miss you and look forward to your homecoming. USC beat Arizona not making Parker and Don too happy although Don is a Trojan at heart. Don really enjoyed having you join them for dinner. Said you were great and looked like you had a great time. Anyway, enjoy and see you soon. Luv Dad

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