Our last day as the 'tremendous trio'. So we thought we would end our little adventure with a bang.
By 9:30am we were waiting in the wrong place to take a river cruise down the Yarra River, however by the time we found the right place and checked the tour times we would not have made it for the day's highlight so we spent the morning wondering around the South Bank in the sunshine and enjoying our last few hours together.
At 12pm we were in the 'Official Neighbours Tour' Office listening to Janelle Timmons (Nell) chatting about her time in Neighbours as Stingray's mum and signing autographs and taking pictures with her. Shame it wasn't Toadfish or Libby or Dr. Carl or Drew or Billy. I don't think Janelle is even in the show any more... oh well. She would have to do.
We were then ushered onto a bus and we settled in for an episode of neighbours as we made our way to Lassiters and Harold's store at Global Television. No that we would want to ruin it for those Neighbour's fans but it kind of ruined the magic of Neighbours a little for us. The set was made up of nothing but fronting and the police station was also the news room and the university. There was nothing in Jarred Rebbecki's office and Harold was not selling anything in his store.
It was very informative and eye opening and our guide was brilliant although a little worrying as she started to refer to all the cast and characters of Neighbours as her friends and extended family. She was very excited about the fact she was pregnant at the same time as Steph and in fact gave birth two weeks before her...
The street itself was probably the most shocking. It is TINY! It is actually called Pine Oak Crescent and it is a tiny little collection of houses on a normal Melbournian street, inhabited by normal families. The only real give away is the 24hour security set up to deter fans from running into the houses expecting to find Dr.Carl and in fact bumping into a very angry Mr.Smith. The street is only used for occasional outside shots and everything else takes place in the studios. To mask the houses even more they blue tack different numbers onto them but that didn't fool us. We were right up in there checking out Toadies driveway and Joe and Lynne's house which has burnt down at least twice in the show but was standing pretty strong in real life.
It gave us all a craving to just snuggle on a sofa and watch old neighbour's repeats.
However that was not to be... in fact that marked the end of the tremendous trio. From this moment on Lissie and Amy will be left to wonder Australia alone as I (Maz) go walkabout. A happy end to an incredible month.
So although going it alone sounds brave and adventurous I didn't exactly just walk off into the sunset with nothing but a Tesco bag full of hopes and dreams. I was in fact picked up outside the hostel with my 24kg bag by my guardian angels Joy and David. Having already taken me out to lunch and on an incredible tour of Melbourne here they were again saving the day and offering me a big comfy bed, clean shower and a sofa to sit on. Heaven!
This was the first time I had really seen the inside of an Australian home and for the first time during this trip I really felt as though Australia could be somewhere I could settle and be very happy. Especially Melbourne. Now, I am under no illusions as to the house I would be able to afford here and I know it would not be anywhere near the unbelievable home I had just walked into. Their home is like nothing I have ever seen. So homely, open and welcoming. Probably made even more inviting by little Oscar, their new puppy, who came bounding out to meet me as I crawled out of the car, swiftly followed by Mikey (Joy and David's son) who made me feel right at home straight away. Oh and not forgetting Jenny Malcolm's paintings decorating their home too... a home away from home.
We talked all night, drank tea and eat a delicious homemade meal with lots of salad and vegetables which my body was very thankful for. I had started sweating coca-cola and chips by then!
Mikey generously taught me some very useful phrases... 'The TV is cactus', 'I am so cactus', 'Have you got change for a pineapple?' Not sure if this was a cruel joke taking advantage of my trusting nature but I am willing to give them a go...
Andrea and her husband Steve also joined us for dinner and got me all excited about Thailand and the rest of my travels. I started to feel a little more excited rather than apprehensive about starting on this trip on my own.