Trip Start Sep 12, 2005
Trip End Sep 11, 2006

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Eugh, so up at 3:30am on Tues (22nd) to catch my flight to Melbourne and checked into a cheap but fairly decent hostel in Melbourne city centre where Liz was already staying. Promptly fell asleep and stayed there till Emily arrived at midday from doing a trip along the Great Ocean Road. We walked to nearby Federation Square and had lunch then I headed to the tourist office to get some ideas on what to do in Melbourne... I ended up getting a haircut! What can I say? I was still knackered. Just had a quiet one that night going to the cinema.

Weds (23rd) we moved hostels out to a suburb called St Kilda where most backpackers stay, but spent the day in the city centre, although again seemed to do very little - all I can remember is going to a park and walking along the South Bank.

Thurs (24th) was Liz's birthday and I think she enjoyed herself though obviously things felt a little strange for her. After spending the day on the skanky beach at St Kilda (we really did take for granted all those lovely beaches along the east coast) we went out for a really nice meal in a lively restaurant and I even got the waitress to bring out a birthday cake that I got for Liz as a bit of a surprise. We then headed on to a charming, though rather dank looking bar called the ESPY and a great night was had by all dancing to a mixture of live rock and reggae. Bizarre.

Nursing hangovers and being as tight-fisted as ever, we set off on Fri (25th) for Ramsey St (as in Neighbours for you cretins who don't realise) determined to make our own way there instead of going on the tour bus. To our credit, we only made a couple of wrong turns before we were excitedly walking up the very small close (actually called Pin Oak Court). Liz and I had made a Blue Peter-style Ramsey St. sign from my cereal box, which I was rather proud of, and some lovely builders who were just about to leave took our photos as we stood in front of various houses. Sounding like a real geek here, but I must say the brickwork of the buildings looked a lot lighter than I expected. In fact, Emily commented that she would probably have walked past if she hadn't seen the street sign. Nay mind, I was pleased as punch to be there. That night, we just went out for a few 'quiet' drinks along the main road, but then Rachel and I got in the swing of things and ended up staying out to 3 dancing the night away in a great bar called the Vineyard, where we had eaten the previous night for Liz's birthday.

Following the Neighbours theme, Sat (26th) I went to the Melbourne Museum with Liz and Rachel not least to see the Robinson's kitchen, which the museum had managed to buy from the Neighbours when they did a major overhaul of the set. Had great fun posing for numerous photos opening up various cupboard doors and pretending we belonged on set. Most entertaining. And, to it's credit, the rest of the museum was pretty good too - I spent most of my time being fascinated by the Human Body section. I then watched a programme in the IMAX theatre (huge 3D movie screen) about the moon landings - I'm ashamed to say I didn't realise that only Americans had set foot on the moon. Thought they would have got at least one Russian up there. Hey hum. Shows what I know! Had a pretty quiet one that night, just bar-hopping.

Can't think of anything interesting that occurred on Sun (27th) apart from Rachel leaving to go back to work in Adelaide. To be honest, I can't say I was all that overwhelmed with Melbourne. They say you're either a Sydney gal or a Melbourne gal - I appear to be neither, though do prefer Sydney. There were just no landmarks in Melbourne that I recognised so I just feel like I was in yet another modern city. Nice to have a coffee and for a drink, but just not a lot to DO. And as for the flies! In the name of all that is holy, I simply couldn't live in these cities. There were amazingly large horsefly-like flies on Fraser Island which would sting you and that were pretty damn irritating, but were really slow and therefore easy to squat. After that, I didn't encounter any flies until Sydney and Melbourne. It makes you think there are rotting carcasses lying about - there are simply masses of these damn houseflies which will not leave you alone. They are sooo persistent it drives you insane. I cannot convey how irritated I get with them - and they insist on trying to enter every orifice. In your ear, up your nose, in your mouth. It's disgusting. I hate it, I tell you! Ok, deep breath, rant over, for now...

Thought I better head back into town on our last proper day, so on Mon (28th) I headed to the Fitzroy Gardens to see Captain Cook's parent's cottage. You had to pay to get in though, so I just had a wander around outside (tight-fisted git that I am). Then wandered into the conservatory (tiny) onto the model Tudor village (crap) and then looked at Fairies Tree (also crap). However, I then headed over to Parliament House, were I signed up for a free tour. It was pretty good actually and I like to think I learnt a little about the Australian government system...
That night was Neighbours Night. Oh yes, you probably thought I'd flogged this horse to death, but the best was yet to come. Every Monday night in Melbourne there's a pub which hosts Neighbours Night where you get to meet 3 of the cast. Unfortunately poor Liz was feeling pretty rough and couldn't come, so it was just Emily and I. My hopes had been dashed earlier in the week when I found out Karl Kennedy was in Birmingham of all places touring with his band. So who was there? Toadie? No. Harold Bishop? No. Lou Carpenter? No. Paul Robinson? No. Susan Kennedy? Nope. Lynn Scully? (I was getting desperate by now) No. Connor, Steph and Boyd. Not exactly old-timers. Saying that, it didn't stop me getting kind of nervous before meeting them though! And my, my, Boyd was not looking too shabby at all and was a charming young man. Suffice to say I had sweet dreams that night, and thank God, as Liz and I were about to have to get up early again the next day to hire a car and head out for the Great Ocean Road. Bring it on...
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