Too good to leave!

Trip Start Nov 28, 2011
Trip End Apr 09, 2013

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Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Friday, October 26, 2012

After 4 weeks of driving South from Alice, steering into and through Melbourne definitely is impressive! From desert'ish highways, ocean roads now we are coming into the big city, and we have to make it to Prahran. This is the place of Marias cousin (to save you complicated family blabla) Katrin and her husband Keke. Driving around for a while a Navigation helps but cannot save you from the search!) we found the road but then wandered around and calling Katrin made us finding the place as well. Wohoo! We had made it to our final destination, Melbourne, safely without crashes, scratches and other dramatic stories, plus: found a new family member. Not having met before did actually not really matter and so we enjoyed great times with Katrin and Keke, and enjoyed the good company. Time to open the present from To and Bill, the sparkling from Tocs brother! Cheers to all good hearted!

Next day it was time to bring back the van, driving there, walking back and visiting the center is the plan. The first part is easy (and here we keep our mouth shut about the 1 hour car key search!), and due to our insurance the drop off the van is like ' right, it is there. Keys? Ok, thanks, bye'. Walking back was fine, incredible buildings on the way, and Katrins photographers eyes were our eye-openers from now and then, some wierd shops, how do they make money?, here and there. Unfortunately we were too stupid to understand the new Metro system and thought we could not pay there, walking to the next stop we were alongside the road, we found out intelligence wasn't with us in the first place. But who cares. Or is it the system anyway? Probably, we were not the only ones, indeed. Off into the city, and out on the big station we went with our personal guide. Yeah!!

Metro boarding without issues was a miracle as was leaving it. Flinders station is the first stop and Katrin takes us directly into the tiny busy and traditional corners where everybody passes, walks and talks like bees in and to their beehive. It is the middle of the week of course and normal people are supposed to work, of course. A coffee and delicious Panini later we're further for a little shopping, and later walking along treat ourselves to a drink on the rooftop bar. Amazing views upon Melbournes upper levels and a lovely bookstore on some lower give us those amazing 'spoil yourself' holiday feelings. Katrin is not only a good guide, but inspiring company and having her around makes feel closer to home as well. Funny it is how different people generate those internal reactions within our brains and therefore let you connect to something else that seems afar and actually not connected.

Passing the National Gallery and into the Botanic Gardens, famous for their designs and flowers, we enjoy the delight of landscape design and these ideal gardens have once been created. At those times digging a hole was more than getting heavy machines in, but when do we actually remember that? Lakes, ducks, swans, everything seems to be there, entertaining us while we enjoy the last sunbeams before it is getting darker. Gate closes at sunset the sign said on the entrance, but we left in time, actually after, without being trapped in this small paradise. Six feet walking to the tram. Actually, two pairs of Katrins shoes, one of them changed their owner and is now part of Marias shoe collection, just like that cute pair of Ballerinas.
Tram No. 6 brings us home, almost where there is Keke and the Curry. Another delicious dinner followed by the Kniffle/Yatzee battle for high scores.

Work is the keyword for the next day, it is about time to update our profiles and CVs, you never know, and work on our blog. No better place to be with delicious coffee around the corner, the kitchen, and our favourite visitor, the sun, at Katrins 'Wintergarten', where we enjoy beautiful spring weather and relaxing times. As both are our working, Keke for the TV company and Katrin at the University, today it is on us to make the most effective time now and do the 'must do's. Plus, Nils, the other newly found cousin of Maria passed by and after staying with Katrin and Keke for some days we'd move over! Nils, you dare having us over ;)
This evening has another special programme, still same keyword. We are going to met Jules and her husband, Maria's earlier contact for Australian Business Partner Setec when she was still working for Nedap's PowerRouter ( Exciting, especially as the two'd never met before in person. Flinders station revealed the personal impression and was the start of a great night out! Jules and Trevor took us to a bar upon the water, first drinks while the night sets upon vibrant Melbourne. Many laughter later we are ready for some fod. Both know their city and drag us to ChinChin.

Proving its fame, supposedly-ever-busy ChinChin has no space for us but if waiting another hour, we would be fine. And of course, not that we let pass another chance of prove of the good taste of those two locals! A bottle of wine to cheer us up (as if we'd need that ;) and only half an hour later there is a free table waiting for us. As usual we prefer to be surprised by the choice of the locals and so it is up to Jules and Trevor to decide what goes into our stomaches. ChinChin atually works with an open kitchen, has nothing about the so well known restaurant 'stiffness' but surprises with an relaxed atmosphere and ... good food! By now (don't blame the wine now!) we actually have forgotten what the menu was but remember that it was delicious, whenever we could grab it with our sticks, and would definitely have another one as well. Plus, we finally had eater Barramundi (not the traditional way, but who cares?).

Too sad there is an end to everything, although our budget would ot allow that anyway. Would it? Thanks to Jules and Trevor, for the delightful evening and until next time! We would have loved to make it a long night but we opted in for the last tram. Famous no. 6!

The next day we did more work and actually learned that Melbourne could have 4 seasons in 1 day. It is good en could as well enjoy time with Katrin as we were about to move to Nils and his girlfriend Caro in East Brunswick. Anyway, Katrin as well took us Prahran, especially Chapel Street where we had our so-needed-breakfast: Salmon for Maria and 'Death Benedict' for Jorgen. That was so delicious! This breakfast is definitely something to remember as is Yellow Bird, the place where we had it. Some shopping later and it was time to get our things: Katrin would give us a lift to but hope that we might meet Katrin and Keke still within the next days.

Arriving there we meet Caro as well for the first time, Nils girlfriend from El Salvador. The LAtinamerican genes are definitely something to be jealous about and not only that, Caro as wel proves to e one stunnung character! Another cosy place and more good company while we have to watch out that we are not getting spoiled. While Nils and Caro are working we do have another chance to work on blog and update personal and professional contacts while enjoying one of Nils' deluxe coffee selections. Definitely a good taste he has, some local coffee stores would have to watch out for Nils' coffee creations!
That night we meet up at the Melbourne University where Nils is external judge as well as lecturer sometimes. Some beers later we as well meet Katrins and Nils' friends Andres, his beautiful fiance and more friends from Columbia! How lucky we are we can train our Spanish once more and join the Latin American happiness. It is definitely the table where most of the laughter comes from and so delightful to meet those positive spirited minds once more. South America definitely left an impression, but we have to admit that Andres is one happy fella as well! From the bar to the Indian, tables replaced and all seated some enjoy their food while others enjoy the burning hotness of it and when leaving we decide to rejoin at Andres and Meidas place here the girls enjoy the good music and the zombie philosophy starts!

Not too much time for breakfast as we were preparing to get out of the city and into the wild! Caro prepared some delicious hot tea, we had packed crisps and snacks to strengthen us and prepare for the very very hard walk we were about to do and as we were all packed into the cars we were off to Mt. Macedon. Beautiful views, a bit misty but who cares, an impressive statue but then we were off for a little walk around. Well, enough walking to give us a reason to stop again, snack along and enjoy the hot tea to warm up! Cosy it was but we were absolutely in need of a hot tea to warm up, especially our hotblooded Latin American friends who are not genetically prepared of such a weather. Of course we were all in need of more hot liquids and so we were off to check our options in the little cafe, already closed we opted in for another one on the road back and enjoyed the fireplace, red wine (heat up as well, right?) and the boys their hot chocolate! And to proof that weather does not matter we had a barbie as soon as we were back in Melbourne.

Sunday was zombie day, for us at least. Nils and Caro had their long planned 4x4 driving adventure in the NPs around Melbourne and so we headed off into the city. Here it was the day of the Zombies, a specially announced 'Zombiewalk' in and through Melbourne. And quite a show! From different Movie scenes to very creative artworks with jam, gelly and other red-coloured liquids, tinted clothes and curtains up tp professionally dressed and make-up'ed artists. We had it all. After passing through the crowd, taking pictures of the more or less posing actors we yet decided to move further and walk through the city. Here Maria was hunting for long underwear and a Jacket for supposedly-so-cold New Zealand, and then both we were strolling through the city and enjoying this lovely Sunday weather and the amazing Lego decoration in the mall. Back at Nils' and Caros place we saw two smiling faces, enthousiastically telling us about the great adventure and the mud they'd encountered.

Fortunately for us, Nils was off next day and so we had another 'locally guided Melbourne tour', this time to the RMIT, the green frog vomit thing and ended up with delicious japanese lunch! Too bad we had forgotten about having promised Caro to cook German style dinner and so we were coming home stuffed while she was disappointed. OhOh. German dinner postponed, but Caro the cooking magician made some rice-burritos with vegetables and that delicious (but a bit hot for one or another) chili sauce. They were spoiling us again. So of course we had to make something big and special the next day and decided to make beef and veal Schnitzel and Southern German style warm potato salad accompanied by, of course, a beer. Some shopping and preparations later Caro came home and fortunately we could present our ...tadaa... German Dinner Special! The last lovely evening we enjoyed all together, Adres and his wife-to-be passed by as well and we were faced with the fact that we would leave this great place (why can you not just split up into multiple Marias and Jorgen an be everywhere?) and head towards our next adventure. New Zealand.

The less good part about travelling is that you have to leave friends and family as
well, not only those afar from here, home - but as well the others you visit, spend time with and get to know better.

And so we felt sad, bit excited though, to be honest, when we left Nils car, after he'd driven us to the airport of Melbourne. But we leave with a huge smile and such good newly discovered family that we have to come back, anyway!
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