Christmas feeling in Melbourne

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December 6th 2008
Published: December 21st 2008
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6/12/08 = Arriving in St Kilda

Woke up early and had to cut through park we are now calling exercise central (because of all the mad people exercising at crazy times - not just running and biking...oh no... boxing, using a fitball...weight training...crazy fit people!) to get a freezing cold wash. Rang my friend from home then (very nice to speak to you Natalie - missing you all x), had some breakfast and did the daily computer/internet session. Got a slush puppie for the walk back to the van, which sent the whole of my mouth red, then set off for Melbourne.

Not a bad drive to Melbourne and headed straight for St Kilda when we got there because it had been recommended to us. Was a nightmare trying to find somewhere to park for night and ended up driving up and down the main beach road several times, until finally settled on a free spot outside some flats. Were really hungry and decided to treat ourslves to some lunch out = first real time of the whole campervan trip! Went up the main Fitzroy Street and saw loads of places, but were all modern cafe bar/lunch type restaurants

Haven't been to a place yet that didn't have a Chinatown.
and we both wanted stodgy pub food! Thats when we saw the mirage of what looked like an English pub in the distance. Got closer and it looked like your typical 'Red Lion' had been airlifted from England and dumped in St Kilda. Sure enough, was an English pub...The Elephant and Wheelbarrow! Brilliant!

Boasted traditional English food and saw the pie option on the menu when we got in, so had to try it. Was quite baffled when my steak and ale pie came out with no pastry, but instead mashed potato on top? Now, Im not your traditional pie eating type, but Im pretty sure steak and ale pie should come with pastry and that mashed potato belongs on the top of a shepards pie?!? It also got served with a bread roll instead of chips - not quite sure what they wanted me to put in the bread roll? Maybe the mashed potato?... Was nice anyway and I ate it just the same. Debs got the biggest portion of chips I've ever seen in my life - the bowl had to be custom made. She didn't finish them all, but I helped her out a little.

Was only 5 o'clock after that, but were both so stodged up that we just wanted to lay down and relax. Went back to van and within 5 minutes of laying down I was asleep. Woke up a little later though and did some reading, then back to sleep again. What a lazy day!

7/12/08 = Trapped in Melbourne

Good sleep and unbelievably lazy this morning. Woke up at 7 first, then went back to sleep and dozed on and off until 11:15, when finally decided that that was by far enough snoozing for your average human being. Had even slept through a triathalon event that went right by our van, including a crowd full of cheering people (that I did hear distantly in my sleep...but only distantly.) Is a Sunday though, so that makes it all o.k.

Was a bit rubbish when we woke up anyway because didn't have a clue what we were going to do. Nowhere to get washed because toilets near us so disgusting and no campsites at all on map. Got quickly dressed and went to nearest petrol station to ask about campsites and they said none at all in area =
Us and the big guyUs and the big guyUs and the big guy

You're never too old to have a photo with santa...although I think you can be too old to sit on his knee!
😞 Was campsite day today and both really needed a proper wash, not a victorian wash. Had to take the only option left to us. Found the local health club and paid $9 to park in it and $12 each to use the swimming pool. All that for a shower. Between us it worked out to be most expensive campsite ever stayed in, and only got one shower out of it! V.depressing.

Made sure I went in pool to get money's worth, but wish I never had. Got straight under water to glide into length and immediatley regretted decision. Eyes searing with pain from chlorine and felt a little like description of Harry Potter when Voldemort comes near. Had to stop mid length and doggy paddle back to side to recover. Only then that I noticed that every other person in pool had goggles on. Have never, ever felt chlorine like it. Unswimmable without goggles. Persevered for another 20 minutes, head firmly out of water and mostly with eyes closed, especially if someone else swam past. Then got out and prayed for it to be the best shower ever to make it all worthwhile.

Was a nice shower and had to get washed several times to even remotely remove smell of chlorine. Suppose smell of chlorine is better than smell of grime? Took my chlorine body round Sunday market then; was nice to look around, but neither of us got anything. Then headed for a chunk of grass next to the beach and laid down in the sun. Strangest sensation that the top of our bodies were freezing because catching wind, but legs boiling because catching sun. Girl (maybe a lady actually...I still call myself a girl and I'm 25!) next to us was playing a guitar and singing own songs, was really nice and really chilled! Eventually got so cold from rubbish wind that had to move and legs had ruler line across where shorts had stopped sun. Headed back to van, chilled for little while, then went out for our dinner = a treat been looking forward to for ages. (Lunch yesterday didn't count...wanted to sit down and have a nice dinner).

Went back up the same road and found a nice Italian restaurant. I got pizza and Deb got pasta (bit of a role reversal). Had such a craving for meat that got a
Cool christmas displayCool christmas displayCool christmas display

People queued for ages to look at this display.
meat feast - so many meats on, didn't even know what I was eating. Deb got canelloni, which actually turned out to be made with a pancake?! No pasta afterall! Was really nice and got completely full. Too full for the drink we had planned on having, but never mind. Tried to ring Mum, but phone card ran out. When rang again with a coin, another lady claiming to be my Mum answered; suppose Mum is a common name. Glad I realised it wasn't her before delving into my life story! Had mini-drama with phone cards after that in that all of them don't work properly on pay phones out here. Work properly on normal phones, although if youv'e got a normal phone, not quite sure why you'd need a phone card in first place! Lucky that the really nice shop man gave me my money back even though card did work on his phone.

Wandered back to van, which now parked in health club car park on beach, since paid for whole days parking. Heard lots of lastin music coming from open quarter next to us and wandered in to find massive dance party. Was really cool. Loads of people doing proper salsa and latin dancing. Neither of us can dance, so didn't even attempt. Wish I could say I contemplated asking someone to show me how...but anyone who knows me would know there is no way I would do that! Would have liked to have had a go though. Didn't stay long, went back to trusty old Chubbs and did some sleeping instead.

8/12/08 = Christmas Shopping in Melbourne

Woke up after good nights sleep to a nice day outside (nice enough to not wear trousers anyway!) Went into a nice toilets and got a good wash (in a shared public area though, so had to be quick). Drove van back to our previous free space for day and then got a tram into city. Didn't have a clue how the trams worked. Nobody there who worked on them, just a machine with lots of buttons. Didn't know what zone we were in, what zone we were going into or how long we would be; didn't even have any change to put in machine and it only took change. Ended up having to ride for free = good, but not good when everyone else on tram has paid and can see that you haven't paid. Scuttled off as soon as it looked like we were in city. Headed straight for information centre, although journey wasn't exactly straight. Couldn't find it for ages, even though had asked directions, and ended up wondering up and down for ages before stumbled on it. Asked about campsites and still no joy = none in area. Asked all other questions, then went off on shopping journey. I didn't really need any shopping because done Mum christmas box when at home, but Deb had few bits to get. Thought would be a torturous experience to look round and not be able to buy (not exactly my forte), but actually think I found my calling in life as a personnal shopper. Found 2/3 of Debs' presents and didn't feel bad at all that couldn't buy anything for self. Well, nearly didn't buy anything...bought something to wear for school visit, but that doesn't really count, was more of an essential item...don't think denim shorts and a boob tube would have been appropriate for a school!

In afternoon, sat in Federation Square to chill for a bit. Before visited post office to send
Us in the Charles DickensUs in the Charles DickensUs in the Charles Dickens

Such a brilliant place!
home all christmas things, discovered santa. Queued up with all the children (kept head down and tried to look even smaller) and had our photo took with santa for free. Really good santa too; looked really real. Then did our daily dose of internet in the library, before finally realised how hungry we were. Went on a mission to find some good pub food again. Unbelievably, stumbled on another English pub = The Charles Dickens Tavern. Got the biggest and best ever burger here. Best food so far and completely filled me up!

After dinner, was already quite late, so decided to stay and watch advent calender opening at 9 in Federation Square. To kill some time, decided to check out the Pancake Parlour, as had a 2-4-1 voucher and is apparently quite famous out here?! Really bad idea, since already v.full from giant burger! Was a nice place, but bit disappointed that couldn't choose pancake - had to have short stack with ice cream for use of voucher. Was way too big. 2 chunky pancakes, ice cream and maple syrup. Nice, but couldn't eat it all!

Passed more time in parlour by planning things wanted to see/do tomorrow and also playing on giant chess baord. I didn't really know how to play. Grandad had shown me a long time ago, but have completely forgotten. Deb showed me quickly and had a quick game. Didn't get to finish it because had to dash for advent opening, but I would have definately lost! Took a funny photo before left, of us distorted in mirror. Thought it was a pretty cruel idea of a pancake parlour to put a mirror outside that makes you look shorter and fatter - as if you're not fat and bloated enough when you come out of a pancake parlour! Talk about kicking a dog when it's down!

Quite a few people at Federation Square when we got there, but got busier as show started. Had no idea what to expect, thought somebody would just open door number 8, but then music started and acrobats came out. They dangled from top and climbed up and down calender, telling a story through actions and music. Was really good, but a little long. Quite a few people left and we were really cold after standing still for 30minutes. Really good when she opened door number 8 to reveal a soldier though.

Had to get tram back to St Kilda then and realised that had made fatal mistake. Had asked inf lady so many questions, but hadn't asked where to get tram from. Followed a few tracks and eventually found one to take us back. Had right money this time and had already asked about buttons, so wasn't such a nervous/guilty ride this time. Didn't know where to get off and tram went a different way home, not to mention darkness making it harder. Luckily, tram terminated on the street we wanted to get off and a nice lady told us that. Got some milk for morning and did brisk walk in cold back to van and the awful toilets. Not a nice walk and made even worse when heard a man shouting and swearing really loudly, in a nasty way. He was in street next to us and couldn't really avoid him. Went into awful toilets and then did even brisker walk to van, hoping he hadn't seen us and wasn't going to walk by us. Heard sound of a window smash. Don't know if it was him or something else, but after 10 mins of keeping eyes and ears open, couldn't hear him anymore and went to sleep not quite so worried.

Really good day overall and DEFINITELY (there you go Glyn - learnt something there) the most christmas like day so far 😊

Additional photos below
Photos: 19, Displayed: 19


Advent and acrobatsAdvent and acrobats
Advent and acrobats

She's just in the spotlight.
The story of AdventThe story of Advent
The story of Advent

Not the traditional kind of story.
Flinders Street StationFlinders Street Station
Flinders Street Station

Pretty at night.

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