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January 9th 2006
Published: January 25th 2006
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Paul & Emma's B'DayPaul & Emma's B'DayPaul & Emma's B'Day

This night turned into the next day very quickly...
After a very heavy weekend in Sydney meeting up for Paul and Emma's 29th birthday, we had a shockingly early start on the Monday morning to get our flight to Melbourne. Our flatmates Sam and Helen still managed to get up to say goodbye, and it was pretty sad to be leaving.

Upon arrival in Melbourne reality hit when we checked into our 8 bed dorm in St Kilda- The double bed was a distant memory... The hostel we stayed in was Base, which looks pretty flashy from the outside and from the advertising but to be honest it was a bit shabby- was ok though for the few nights we were there. The reality of being away from our lovely apartment hit us as of course there were numerous interuptions and disrupted sleep patterns. We had a guy above Martin's bunk who had a very bad stomach upset which resulted in him rushing to the loo on a number of occasions. We gave him whatever drugs we had on us to try to speed up his recovery- poor guy- bought back memories of us in Cambodia.

The first day in Melbourne we had a look around St Kilda and sampled some of the cake shops on Acland Street. There were lots of back packers around this area. We had a stroll along the beach (which wasnt up to much, but dont think this is the main attraction in St Kilda) and noticed how many perma-tanned old men there were in tight fitting speedos on the look out for other men in similar dress. St Kilda is pretty hippyish with some nice bars and restaurants and is quite relaxed. Unfortunately the weather hadn't followed us from Sydney.

The city itself was quiet compared to Sydney. It was very easy to get around though with the tram system that covers most of it.

Day two was Zoo day- and was a bit of a let down to be honest. Not only did the Lonely Planet have the wrong price, but the animals all seemed to be off somewhere else for the day. We stayed for about an hour before we decided to head back into town. We headed to St Pauls Cathedral which was nice and then to Federation Square where everyone seemed to be hanging out on their lunch breaks. We went to visit the National Gallery, which was unfortunately closed for the day- typical!

Whilst in Melbourne it was nice to catch up with a friend from home who has been living and working there for a few years. We headed to a restaurant one night where he is a chef and he was kind enough to send us out a free bottle of wine which went down nicely whilst waiting for his shift to finish. Another night he took us to a few of Melbourne's bars, most of which were full of character and one was pretty full on for a Tuesday night- there were a group of people off their faces dancing like loonatics. The bars here are quite different to those in Sydney- pretty alternative and located down funny little alleys where you wouldnt think there would be any.

On our third day we discovered Martin's friends, who had just arrived from Sydney, were infact staying in an hotel directly opposite our hostel. We made good use of their room, chilling out in peace for a couple of hours. Later that day after a snooze we all headed down to the famous Luna Park...didnt go on any rides though as they looked pretty tame, and decided to go to the pub for the afternoon instead- good decision. An afternoon quickly turned into an evening, and we called it a day early to get back to the hostel as we had to be up to catch our trip to the Great Ocean Road the following day.

Overall we liked Melbourne, it seems to be more of a night city than day. Great bars and very chilled out people- and great cakes!! Would have liked to have spent more time in Melbourne to see more of it as all the people we spoke to there seemed to love the place. Plus the tennis started the following week, but time is money.

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