Day 5, 12/26/14 – Melbourne
We stayed at Wendy and Andy’s apartment in Melbourne and explored the Botanical gardens on our first full day in Melbourne. It was summer and I remember this day being really nice. We had a picnic by a little pond and walked around for a bit. Then, on a whim, we went to a soccer match. By this time it had cooled off a bit and it didn’t help that we were sitting in the shade.
This was one of those weird moments that, while I was living it, I was like yeah, okay, this is fun, I guess…... Because, you see, I think realizing you are happy while doing something and realizing that you were happy while doing something are two different animals. Sadly, I think the former is harder to accomplish. While I was at the game, I was having a good time but not the best.time.ever. I’m not the biggest sports fan, it was cold, blah, blah… Except, now, looking back, I think, that was the best time! I was in Australia with my love and his family, having a few beers, and just hanging out – what more could I have wanted?! (Besides maybe a hot dog… This blog and my quest to be more veggie friendly didn’t exist back than, by the way;)
Anyways, after the game we went to one of Wendy’s friend’s house for a BBQ or “shrimp on the barbie” as we kept joking. When in Rome, right?
Day 6, 12/27/14
I’m pretty sure this is the day we went to brunch (which Melbourne is well known for!) and I got this amazing bruschetta with poached eggs. I also got a green juice here and fun fact, everything is more expensive in Australia except the green juices and smoothies. A pleasant surprise for a California health nut.
(Another fun fact, flat whites were on every menu when we were there – before Starbucks sold them – so not to be too hipster or anything… but…)
After brunch we took a 3 hour free walking tour of Melbourne which was interesting and fun. Plus, I’m always game for a good, long, walk. There are these hidden alleyways in Melbourne with hole in the wall bars and restaurants. We didn’t go to any of them so, another reason to go back! Most of these alleys are also filled with graffiti.
Next up was lawn bowling, something I was hesitant to try (and that only Mike knew, until now!). The thing is, I’m not particularly …coordinated and I was nervous to learn a new activity with Mike’s family, knowing that I would likely be terrible at it. Now I can’t remember if I was any good or not but I do know it turned out to be okay – fun, even – like most things we are scared to try. After lawn bowling we went across the street for dinner and I remember getting a huge burger, fries, and a salad.
Day 7, 12/28/14
Barb and Dan went shopping; Mike, Wendy and Andy went swimming; and I was on my own for the morning! Armed with my phone/GPS and the lingering craving for another green juice like the day before, I set out on an adventure. ..Granted my adventure consisted of walking about 6 city blocks, buying a green juice, and going back to Wendy and Andy’s…
This day was gorgeous – all sunny skies and warmth – and after a lazy morning, we went to the conservatory for afternoon high tea. At tea, there was an all you can eat buffet with mini sandwiches and …other stuff that I wish I could remember! We each had 2 pots of tea and then it was time for drinks and an outing to go see little mini penguins at St Kilda pier. I have to say the wildlife sightings on this trip remains one of my favorite things! Little penguins live in the rocks at this pier and at night people gather around to watch them come in from the ocean. We were lucky to see a few and they are still some of the cutest things I’ve seen in my life.
Day 8, 12/29/14
On our last full day in Melbourne we rented a car to do some final exploring, that included both wine tasting and enjoying hot springs – two of my very favorite things! I remember we stopped for lunch at this cute little Greek restaurant and I was able to get my falafel, hummus, and pita fix while everyone else noshed on delicious pizzas. We also saw wild kangaroos which was crazy for me since I’ve only seen them in the zoo.
We went to this place called Peninsula Hot Springs in the evening and it was my favorite part of the trip! This place is gorgeous, with all of these natural hot springs scattered throughout the grounds, a Turkish bath , small pools to do cold plunges in (more on that later) and a cute little cafe to eat at. We started our hot spring escape at that cafe. I ordered a roasted vegetable and quinoa salad with an earl gray tea. I remember feeling totally in my element at this place. It was so relaxing and clam. After eating, we started to try out the different hot springs; there were all different kinds from really hot ones to ones that you could do light stretching in. There was also a reflexology walk (basically a bunch of different sizes and shaped stones that you walk on) that Mike and I loved and did at least five times. There were also these deep but relatively small in diameter pools of cold water that you could jump in between hot springs called “cold plunges.” These were supposed to help with circulation among other things and, while it was freezing(!), it was also invigorating.
To be continued…