Hi, it's Monday morning and we've had a fantastic time with Kate and Steve. They have been the best hosts we could have possibly asked for and we will miss them lots as well as their lovely cats, Maggie and Harvey.
We've had great fun at the local markets in Prahran, were we had a delicious falafel for lunch and then the fantastic Queen Victoria Market, in the city centre, which is 125yrs old, has more than 500 stalls and sells everything from gourmet food and wine to clothes and souvenirs. We spent all of the time in the food market and sampled a yummy German sausage hot dog. I had a Bratwurst sausage and sauerkraut and Jem had a white sausage called Weisswurst - all for the bargain price of $5. We couldn't leave without tasting one of the many gorgeous cakes.
We were very impressed with the free Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle which takes you around the main attractions. We caught it at the vibrant precinct of Federation Square, past Carlton Gardens, home to the World-Heritage-Listed Royal Exhibition Buildings, down Lygon Street, also known as 'Little Italy', Past the University of Melbourne, Magistrates Court & Law Courts and across the Yarra River to Southbank, a former industrial wastleland that was transformed in the early 1990's and is now home to the Arts Centre and National Gallery. The bus took us through the lovely parklands of Alexandria and Queen Victoria Gardens, the Kings Domain and the Royal Botanic Gardens, passing one of Melbourne's most recognisable landmarks, the Shrine of Remembrance, which is Victoria's Memorial to the service and sacrifice of its men and women in times of conflict. There is an Eternal Flame in the forecourt which was lit by the Queen. After the bus we jumped on the tram to St Kilda and went to see the sunset over the beach - very beautiful. We also saw really cute little penguins swimming in the sea and lots of jellyfish.
That night we had great fun in the charming Supper Club, 161 Spring Street above the European Restaurant (for those of you ever in Melbourne!) which is one of the city's secret bars and is a dimly lit room with wooden panels, lots of lamps and sofa's and a great atmosphere. We had a bottle of Sorrenberg Chardonnay 2006. Jem had tried it before when the winemaker and his wife popped into Five Way Cellars for a tasting. He produces the best Gamay in Australia. Our next stop was the very lively Brunswick Street in Fitzroy. We got the tram and got off at Johnston Street were most of the bars and restaurants are. It's a very alternative, seedy, bohemian place with a great feel about it and good food. We had a nice Thai meal and then made our way home.
We all got up at 4.30am on Friday, wrapped up in our coats, hats, scarves and gloves and went to The Shrine of Remembrance in the Botanic Gardens for the Dawn Anzac Day Service. There were thousands of people and it was emotional and touching. We were just glad that we could be a part of it. I was so tired all day but did nothing but sleep really. We chilled at home and watched the traditional Anzac Day AFL 'Ozzie Rules' footy match on the TV between Collingwood and Essendon. Collingwood is like our Man United, you either love em or hate em and they unfortunately won!
Saturday we got the train to Mornington Peninsula to visit Jools, Becs and Ruby. It's only an hour away and it was great to catch up with them, see their new home and meet Ruby again who is now 4 and a half. Mornington Peninsula is a boot shaped peninsula between Port Phillip and Western Port Bay. After lunch Jools drove us around so that we could see a bit of the area including lots of vineyards with their Autumn colours, the scenic peak of Arthurs Seat with views of Rosebud Beach and Flinders Ocean Beach. It's a very beautiful area and they have a lovely house with great views. Due to the rain we also saw lots of kangaroos hopping around the fields and met Norm the dog (who was chewing on a roo's leg), Jool's cows and bec's horses. Later we had a brilliant night at their friends house, the guys got the lemon gun out (basically a long tube that you put tennis balls in, ignitor gas and light it) and Jem ended up firing a tennis ball at the neighbours shed - very funny! We ended up staying the night at Jools and Becs then Jools kindly drove us to Frankston Stattion the next day.
Yesterday we got the train back to Newport and went to watch the 'Ozzie Rules' footy between Kate and Steve's team North Melbourne or the Kangaroos (which was our team too!) and Sydney Swans at the Telstra Dome. This was a great experience expecially eating the traditional pie and chips.
Last night Kate made us a delicious dinner and we entertained ourselves with Steve's computer games and quizzes which was loads of fun.
The next 3 days will be spent driving the 1200km to Adelaide, along the Great Ocean Road in our campervan (picture above of the 12 Apostles). We will hopefully be in Clare Valley on Friday at the latest because we want to go to the Gourmet Food and Wine Festival. Will be in touch soon, lots of love and kisses xxxx