Remember, Remember

Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
Trip End Jan 04, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Saturday, November 5, 2011

 It's a bit of a strange couple of days for us here in Melbourne. I found out yesterday that my family old timer dog has sadly been put to sleep. It was for the best as he was not the dog he used to be, but the distance has made it a little bit odd to take in. I won't say I didn't shed a tear. It put me on a bit of a downer as I always associated him as being Mum's dog, and this is a time of year when Mum is in the forefront of my mind anyway. He was never the same spritely ball of crazy after she had gone, but that was more coincidental to the fact he was maybe 11 or 12 years old at the time. He must have been 14, 15 or maybe older by the time he died.
Add to this the experience of a 30 degree spring sunny day here on a day that has always been a favourite of mine in the UK, when associated with a nice mid autumn chill, the putting on of gloves and the enjoyment of a toasty bonfire and fireworks and things are a bit surreal. It's as if the day just hasn't happened. It feels like June. At 8pm when we would normally be readying ourselves for the display in Cassiobury Park, we sat on the top deck of Melbourne Metro YHA watching a slow drawn out sunset over the horizon. The peaceful evening a long way from the bang, kapow, whizz we would normally be subjected to for the week prior and the week after such a big day in the UK.

I feel a bit distant from home, a wee bit tired after a final long journey on the Greyhound and subsequently a bit lathargic for doing anything. I've lost the drive to do as much on a first day in a new city. The week up to my birthday has not been my most favourite time in recent years and it seems with the tiredness and Ozzie, I'm just not as assed to do anything.
At least for once I managed a couple of hours sleep on the Greyhound, as did Kate, and the glorious weather is a bonus which we have for long spells in Australia missed out on.
It's a shame that I felt this way coming into Melbourne because I wasn't at the time as appreciative as I should have been for the wonderful sunrise we experienced on the final run into town. Kate prodded me out of my meagre slumber and pointed out the low lying mist sitting in the hollows of the rolling country with the sun streaming in rays across the peaks. I'm just sorry I was so asleep I couldn't find the camera which was hanging from my neck all the time. I flustered around looking for it to try and capture the moment but quickly gave up in favour of falling asleep for a further 3 or 4 minutes.

I'll quickly lead you around the bus to give you an idea of the company you experience on a Greyhound. 5 or 6 rows ahead of us sits 'Half Boob' and her partner, we have now crossed paths for a 3rd time (see Blue Mountains for explanation of nickname); the row directly in front is a business man with a cold who sneezes a lot, a consistently asleep chinese girl and an English lad that for the majority of the night I was convinced was Prince Harry. For whatever reason Harry sought to ride the Greyhound, I was convinced it was him. Ginger and a little bit pompous, I was actually dissapointed when I saw his face clearly in the light of day.
Next to me is Kate of course and to her right are a further two chinese, one of which has a stinking cold, is wearing a face mask and just refuses to blow her nose properly. If only she would as the sniffing is a constant irritant. Behind me on the left of the coach is a German girl with bad body odour (she kept feeling the need to stretch in the aisle and to whiff it around at everyone) and a habit for kneeing me in the back. Behind Kate is an American tall guy who also knees people. At the very back two rows behind us are two more German girls, both able to talk very loudly. They are talking so loud in fact a Spanish girl thinks it is where you go to take phone calls and talk loudly. She walks from the front of the bus to just alongside us to take a long phone call in which the other person couldn't have said a word. She wouldn't shut up. My earphones thankfully shut them all out. The choice for the evening and throughout the night is a mixture of 'Magic' Album tunes, Snow Patrol and in the morning, Stereophonics. I read in one sitting, Animal Farm (and am greatly impressed) and Kate read another book she explains as 'some girly crap'. Those are her words. I am trying to get her to read more high brow.

Once in Melbourne we used a Tram (and didn't pay for one of our tickets as we didn't have change - "Not having Change is Not an Excuse" it says on the posters) to get to the hostel which is based in the North West of the city. It's in a quiet neighborhood. It has everything we need and we are able to check in at 8.30am. This is always appreciated.
We opt for a couple of hours sleep which is a good idea and then head into town to try and make the most of our short time in Melbourne City. We have about 7 days till our flight to NZ, but most of that is on the road in places around Melbourne. We walk through Victoria Market into the city (only about 25 minutes) and then to the Melbourne Gaol.
The Gaol was a little expensive but kept us in information for about 3 hours of the afternoon. We sat through a short play about Ned Kelly and did a lot of reading, and both of us enjoyed the place. the Gaol has been maintained nicely and is a bit of a creepy experience as you move from cell to cell learning about the large amounts of hangings that occured on the very grounds we were walking. Tired, I didn't want to do the Watch house Experience; this is when you get treated like a prisoner and led into a cell by an actor who barks at you like a police sargeant. I didn't have the energy for it and half insisted we just lay about in the sun for a bit, post Gaol.

We went for a lengthy walk around the lively saturday streets of Melbourne and were impressed by how it was busy but not too much. I had found Brisbane a bit quiet, I had found Sydney too much, but Melbourne does quoting Goldilocks "seem just right". I like it. A friend of mine Steve compared it to Manchester as being the reason he likes it. I would agree, Kate agrees and adds "but cleaner". It seems quite stylish and new but without the iconic structures. This is why it has been left behind a bit by Sydney. Probably for the better.
Thoughts of happy hours and dinner in a pub went awry when we couldn't find anywhere and out of tiredness we strayed into Aldi. The food and wine available made dinner easy and once again as the birdies seem to state with their limited vocabulary "Cheap". It's for the better as we are skirting along the edge of our budget and with an expensive few days coming up with a car being hired it would be nice to head to New Zealand still with a chance of getting home on balance.

As referred to before, post dinner we enjoyed a long sunset and beyond, right up until the stars started to become visible. Two things sent us to bed; Firstly, we had run out of cheap plonk and secondly Kate had spotted a giant spider on the wall a metre or so behind me in the dark.
It was lovely sitting and enjoying the warmth and clear skies, it would have been better with fireworks.
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