Melbourne Apr 26, 2010

Trip Start Sep 14, 2009
Trip End Aug 16, 2010

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Where I stayed
Paul and Claire's Pad

Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Monday, April 26, 2010

We travelled down the Pacific Highway to Melbourne passing through glorious forests and countryside on the way. Our plan was to spend the weekend there with Issy staying at her friend Zoe's house whom she had first met in Hoi Ann, Vietnam, before going down the Great Ocean Road. We all stayed a night with Jane and Zoe and then the next day went on a wine tasting trip around the Yarra Valley, where they live. Jane works for the local wine tour office and so we had a real treat visiting some wonderful wineries learning all their histories and tasting some of Australia’s finest. It was chilling hearing and seeing the results of the devastating forest fires which happened in Feb 2009. They were great hosts and Issy had a brilliant time being a girlie with a pal again.

Whilst Issy was with Zoe, we travelled on into Melbourne where we had invited ourselves to stay with Liz’s second cousin Claire and her family. Some twenty odd years ago, we had done the same thing and stayed a couple of nights with Claire and Paul and their two boys Dave and Dom. They even had old photos of our trip then which helped us all to remember each other! They have a lovely house and we were made to feel very welcome with them being great hosts and tour guides, taking us into the city to see the sights. Melbourne is very different to Sydney and has a very European feel to it with lots of cafes and restaurants dotting the streets. We went around the city on the free tram to get a view of the place and walked along the river waterfront taking in the Art galleries along the way.

Aidan was in sports heaven with loads of Aussie rules football, rugby and soccer on the TV. Us boys had a real treat as Paul took us to an AFL match between Geelong and Carlton at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in front of 72000 Aussie rule nutcases. It is the first time the rules have been explained to me, (yes, there are some!) and I have to say it was brilliant. The game is very fast moving with lots of action and goals at both ends. The players are extremely fit and physically as hard as nails. Not the sort of guys you would fancy having an argument with! Issy and Liz spent a wonderful day with Claire visiting art galleries and ice skating!

After Anzac Day the weather changed and so we decided to spend more time around Melbourne instead of travelling down the Great Ocean Road for a couple of days. We figured that it would not be much fun in the rain and Liz and I had seen it before. At these times we generally say "No worries, it will leave us something to come back for!" We travelled a little down the Mornington Peninsula and then visited the fantastic Melbourne Museum in the city. We also visited a number of art galleries around the city and settled into a “western” city lifestyle again.

On our last night we went out for a meal with Paul and Claire down “little Italy street” called Lygon St. in Melbourne and were bombarded with offers of free bottles of wine to entice us in to the establishment. This was too good to be true and as we settled in to our pastas and pizzas at the restaurant, whose woman on the door was the pushiest, and therefore successful in gaining our business which subsequently was rewarded by 2 bottles of free red Shiraz. I’ve had much worse although it did leave a dull ache in the morning!

Staying with locals gives you a different aspect to a city and we were lucky to have been treated exceptionally by our hosts. We left thinking that Melbourne could be a place that we would all feel relaxed in and happy to live there. Who knows what might happen in the future!
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Chris Chater on

Melbourne - that's where they made the famous Beer Bottle Symphony clip. I hope your Aussie culture is just as tasty. Do the kids speak Strine?

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