Were surrounded by badicoots!! back to nature.
Trip Start Sep 01, 2010
15Trip End Dec 01, 2010
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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
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)
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!