December 22, 2011

Sydney, But No Sun

Ok, so I missed out on telling you about our last week in Melbourne. We did some tours and then we left for Sydney! We met up with my brother Dan on Tuesday and headed for Nowra to catch up with a friend from my semester abroad in Switzerland and to spend Christmas there. Since we've been here we have done a walk to see the local sights and most importantly, we went to find KANGAROOS yesterday and we found them!! Seeing them was one of the coolest things we've done since being in Australia. Now all we're waiting for is the 4 day cloud over New South Wales to pass and for the sun come out!!

December 15, 2011

Touring Melbourne

On Monday, Luke and I did a tour of Etihad Stadium. It is a stadium which is mostly used for Australian Rules Football (kind of like rugby), but they also use it for concerts, bit soccer events, and loads of other sporting events. The stadium can change its shape depending on the event, and can seat up to 76,000. The tour was really good. Because they were setting up for an event we weren't allowed to go onto the field or go into the changing rooms, but that allowed us to go to something far more interesting, the executive boxes. Once a company pays their fee for a private box, they are allowed to decorate it however they like, and decorate it they do! We went into some seriously memorabeliazed boxes. One in particular had not only gotten in a marble bar and put their family seal on their seats, but they also had so much movie and sporting memorabelia that we couldn't even capture it all with photos. The tour was only an hour and because it was apparently 'closed off' in some sections it was only $8 instead of $16!

December 12, 2011

Beach Bums

Last week Luke and I headed out for a lazy beach day at Brighton Beach. It's about a 20 minute train ride from the center of Melbourne, but it feels miles away once you are laying on the boiling hot sand listening to the crashing waves. A simple peak north though reminds you that the city isn't too far away.

One of the reasons we chose Brighton Beach over any other beach is becaue of their historically protected beach huts. They line the beach all painted a really fun bright color more garish than the next.

I still don't have a tan...

December 07, 2011

Secret Gardens

Yesterday Luke and I decided to get out of the house and walk over to Fitzroy Gardens in the center of the city. We spent some time wandering around all of the different areas of the gardens which included a really nice conservatory with some really amazing smelling flowers inside, sitting and soaking in the sun and frequently finding respite in the shade. After wandering all around the gardens we decided to head out of the park and into the city for a bit of shopping.

After modelling the entire contents of several of the stores I thought looked appealing, we headed to a pub for a few beers. We have both been pretty disappointed with the quality of the beer in Australia after finding so many boutique and craft beers in New Zealand, so Luke did some searching online for where the craft beers could be found in Melbourne. The first place we went to was Young and Jackson which turned out to be a pretty nice pub with really good beers. Our next stop was to fill our empty bellies with the most incredible fish burger I've ever had. We decided to explore one of the many laneways that I told you about to find a tasty new restaurant, and find one we did. It was called Sea Salt and they make a mean fish burger.

Our last stop of the night was Beer Deluxe where the list of beers was so long it filled an entire menu aptly named the Beer Bible. It was a perfect way to end a day of exploring.

Today we carried on exploring new gardens by heading to the Botanic Gardens, Queen Victoria Gardens, and Alexandra Gardens (aka we did a LOT of walking). First we stopped at Hosier Lane, a lane that is known for its unbelievable street art. I took photos of probably every section of the street because everything was so amazing. I cannot believe that people can do this with spray paint!

It was so sunny and warm today so we were pretty much applying sunblock after every few steps, but in between we saw so many cool things. The highlight for me was the Shrine of Remembrance which is just outside of the Botanic Gardens. It is a war memorial for all of the soldiers lost in the wars that Australia has fought in. It is a massive monument which gives incredible views of the city once you climb the stairs to the balcony. By the time we got there we were pretty beaten by the sun, so the stair climb seemed much harder, but we made it and it was worth it! The Botanic Gardens were massive! The paths seemed to go on and on and we could have easily lost ourselves there for the entire day. We took a break in the shade and read for a while. Once we rested, rehydrated and re-applied we were ready to carry on. There were native plants like Eucalyptus and not so native ones like Bamboo; there was a makeshift volcano, and some floating islands in the man-made lake. By the time we left all of the gardens we were ready for a seat. We stopped at Federation Square just as the after work hustle and bustle was beginning.

Luckily, Melbourne doesn't want anyone to die of dehydration even if they are in a drought, so they seem to have plenty of these!

December 01, 2011

A Non Travellers Day

Unfortunately, not every day of the week can be an all out exploration of a new place. Sometimes we have to do more mundane 'real life' things. I must admit, sometimes its nice to be able to sleep in, watch all of the missed episodes of Sons of Anarchy, and drink tea and coffee all day leaving the house only to sit out on the back patio. It's nice to take a break from being a tourist and instead just be a normal person in our home. Today was neither of those things, instead we got up at the crack of 11 and got down to business opening a bank account. Before that of course we needed some fuel for the day. We realized that its not too far a walk into the city center from our suburb and its a pretty stroll through the different villages. We stopped in Fitzroy for some lunch at a yummy sandwich place called Gutz. I got a falafel wrap and Luke got a chicken and avocado sandwich on focaccia. Both were delicious and toasted to perfection. There may also have been a side of fries/chips involved.

Once we stuffed our faces we were focused on the task at hand. We opened up a bank account and got the rest of our Christmas related things to send home to our families. There is one small detail that I think of which makes all mundane things less mundane and that is that we're doing these things in Melbourne, Australia.

Yummy Lunch Spot in Fitzroy

Not a bad place to pass the time...