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Year 5 Day 41 Melbourne Day 1
03/12/2012, Melbourne, AU

Today we slept in a bit and relaxed the morning away, after yesterday's long, long train ride. Given that we will be here for five days before moving on to Tasmania, we feel that we have enough time to explore the highlights of Melbourne and its surroundings and rest a bit also.

While we were resting, I was on the computer researching the fun things to do. Plus, I reread the list of things to look into doing that Heather and Phil, our new friends in Sydney, had put together for us. Based on what I read, I booked us on a tour of the area which concludes with a visit to Phillips Island. This is a nature park where each evening, hundreds of penguins hop out of the ocean and walk up the beach to their nests. This sounds rather unique so we wanted to make sure to see it. We will do this all day on Wednesday since it is a 13 hour tour with us returning to our hotel around midnight.

Once we were up and out of the hotel, we followed Heather and Phil's advice and walked across the street to where the city trolley stops. One of the unique things that Melbourne offers is a free old fashion electric trolley car that takes you all around the central business district. In the process, they announce each stop and what neat things are located at that stop. It is a great way to see and learn where things are.

It takes about 50 minutes to ride the trolley around the loop it makes of the CBD so it is a nice long ride. We took it to the far side of the CBD and got off at Queen's Street. From there we walked a couple of blocks over to Hardware Lane, where a number of upscale restaurants are located. I had wanted to take Mary Margaret to The Mill, which has a menu to die for and is rated one of the better restaurants in Melbourne. Alas, when we got there it was closed because today is a holiday in Melbourne (Labor Day). We ended up eating at a place called Pop's, which I recognized as being one of the places I had read about on the Internet and their menu looked interesting. Mary Margaret could not stop talking about how wonderful her Cab/Merlot was (Golden Ranges, Marlborough, NZ) while I enjoyed a delicious gazpacho. Unfortunately, as good as the start of our meal was, it was all downhill from there. Actually, our mashed potatoes and asparagus were very good, but the Kangaroo tenderloins we each had were so tough that it was not eatable. Mary Margaret has tasted Kangaroo before when we were in Tahiti and it was delicious and very tender. This time, we struggled to cut it, let alone eat it. We were so disappointed.

After finishing our dinner/lunch we walked over to the Coles Supermarket, which was located in an underground mall. There we bought a few staples since our hotel room has a full kitchen. We will augment our staples tomorrow when we go to the Queen Victoria market. The Vic, as it is called, is an icon in Melbourne. It is the largest market in this part of Australia with hundreds of stalls. It is so large and famous that you can even sign up for a tour of the market. Ha! Armed with Mary Margaret to guide me, I will be in good hands tomorrow!

We ended up returning to our hotel around 1600. While Mary Margaret snuggled up to a good book, I grabbed my camera and a Cuban and strolled over to the nearby park, which is situated along the north bank of Yarra River. Called Enterprize Park, it offers a great view of the riverboats as they pass by and barely slip under the bridges that cross the river. I will post a couple of the photos that I took above this blog.

Happy Birthday

While today here in Melbourne is March 12, back in the US it is March 11. Since we were traveling all day yesterday, we did not get a chance to wish our daughter Happy Birthday on her birthday here. Instead, thanks to the magic of the International Date Line, we get to wish her Happy Birthday a day late and still be on time!

Happy Birthday, Christina!!!!

Travel Days

This pub sits right in front of the rail line. The owner has some kind of sense of humor. I wish we could have gone over to explored it a bit and had a beer or two or three! It looks to me that the pilot of the plane to the left of the pub had a few too many!!!

Travel Days

Here is an example of some of the flooding we saw. This was near Culcairn

Travel Days

We have seen a number of quaint, old hotels as we traveled through the countryside. Here is one of them.

Travel Days

Taking the rail to Melbourne we passed many sights. I will post a few photos of what we saw. The countryside varied from flat grasslands with very large ranches to rolling hills. We passed through the foothills of the Snowy Mountains which was very scenic and it had a number of tunnels we went through.

This photo captures a small valley with a couple of ranches next to each other.

Travels Days

Most of the towns and villages we passed through were very quaint. This is a typical train station that we would stop and pick up or drop off one or two people as we made our way toward Melbourne. This is the station at Yass Junction

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Who: Mary Margaret and Dave Leu
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