Leaving the UK
Well this trip certainly started how it was meant to go on, Jacko our elder was rounding up me, Whitto and Johno who had had about 3 hours sleep between us! We had a bit of delay leaving Heathrow which meant there was a rush through Dubai airport straight to the boarding lounge for our connection to Melbourne. Another delay leaving Dubai set panic in as some bags had gone missing from the connecting flights. This meant we could only spend 30mins at Singapore as we re-fuelled, so it was pretty much non stop flight and some 25 hours on the plane.
Arriving in Melbourne
As it was 5am in Melbourne we booked into a hotel near the airport just to get our heads down. We had a bit of a touch when they said we could check in early and leave the next day, an opportunity to make the most of 3* accommodation with a pool. It wasn’t long before we went for a dip and relaxed in the 33 degrees heat. It was also the final day of the 2nd test so the tele was on and we were in confident mood of England nicking a draw. As the wickets started to fall so did I - to sleep! The others stayed up a little longer but we all had a good rest, me 16 hours and the rest 12.
Heading to St Kilda
Still gutted about our defeat in the cricket and can’t believe how we lost. Our worst fears could come true in that England are 3-0 and the Ashes are lost by the time we walk into the MCG on boxing day. Anyway we were off to St Kilda which is the seaside resort of Melbourne and is apparently quite lively too. We eventually found the Cooee hostel (our cab driver had some trouble locating it) and got ourselves booked in a 6 bed dorm for 3 nights. The hostel is quite nice, very clean but not exactly the hop, skip and jump away from the beach as it was described. The first port of call had to be the beach which looked lovely but was strangely not that busy, our guesses were that Melbourne isn’t a big touristy place and most locals would have been at work. We hit the first bar on the beach and ordered 4 scooners of beer which we drank in the comfortable hammocks outside. We then had a stroll up St Kilda pier and carried on drinking this time just bottles of beer. Sitting outside in the sun, drinking beer without any cares or worries was something we were looking forward to get used to. It was also pretty mad to look at a beach with a city skyline in the background but looked pretty cool. Back at the hostel we thought we’d chill out a bit downstairs and mingle with other travellers. We didn’t find everyone that approachable and sitting down watching ‘My Family’ wasn’t something we had travelled 25,000 miles to do, I mean we wouldn’t even do that at home! So off out to look for some bars that Whitto had found out about. The first one we had walked in was pretty lively and just what we were looking for. A good crowd and funky tunes. Johno was on form and soon befriended the Birthday boy Sideshow Bob ….. a round of tequilla’s soon followed!
Down at St Kilda Beach
Today was our first opportunity to spend time on the actual beach so we were straight down the shops and walking away with a cricket bat and ball. The sun was out, our wicket set up and a lot more bronzed bodies in attendance, what more could we ask for! We were all in fine form (take note Freddie Flintoff) and at stumps we made our way back to get ready for the evening. I think the day took its toll on us as we all ended up crashing out in room.
Stick to Cricket
Up at the crack of dawn today after our early night out and breakfast was our first try at sharing the communal kitchen fortunately it wasn’t that busy but I think we’d prefer just to eat out, we are 4 blokes afterall! In the afternoon we ventured into the city and had a quick look around. We were all impressed with what we saw, it was clean, trendy and lively something to do with being a Friday and the fact Melbourne Victory were playing against Sydney FC. With a record crowd expected we quickly made our way to the Telstra Stadium to purchase some tickets. A very impressive stadium but the football wasn’t that good and finished 0-0. Not surprising though considering Kevin Muscat was Melbourne’s star player! It all went a bit pair shaped back at the hostel though as we had 2 visitors from Israel come to stay in our room. After the stench, noise and disruption they caused during the night we were soon moving into a different room to become flashpackers. We now have our own room with en-suite, double bed and a plasma TV.
Time to hit the Town
This was definitely the hottest day we’ve had so far, high 30’s and very busy beach, you could tell it was the weekend. We decided that we’d hit the town as it was a Saturday night and check out the local talent. We made our way down to Fitzroy St (St Kilda’s cosmopolitan street) but didn’t last long as wasn’t allowed in wearing thongs (flip flops) and shorts. We didn’t let this ruin our night and soon found ourselves quite boozy in the ‘Mouth’ wrapped around people from all corners of the globe!