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Year 5 Day 42 Melbourne Day 2: Farmer’s Market And TV Personality
Dave/Sunny And Warm!
03/13/2012, Melbourne, AU

This morning we once again boarded the neat little trolley car that stops near our hotel and headed off to the Victoria Market. Normally, Mary Margaret loves these types of markets and I just tag along to carry the food stuffs that she buys. However, this time, I also had a ball. The Vic is just something to behold. The only other market we have seen that rivals it is the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia.

The Vic had row upon row upon row of stalls selling everything from carved wooden animals, to watches, to sunglasses to tee-shirts and sweatshirts to shoe, socks and pants to leather goods. There was one stall that was just dedicated to backscratchers and backwashers. This place had everything imaginable thing you could hope for. Once we made our way through the merchandise stalls, we then strolled through the vegetable and fruit stalls. Again, it was row upon row upon row of venders, all selling the best looking produce we have seen in Australia.

After buying all kind of goodies, we then stepped across the street and into the market building where we found vendor after vendor after vendor selling meats cut to order, all kinds of fish and seafood, breads stalls, cheese and sausage stalls and even wine stalls where you can do a wine tasting to decide on which wine you enjoy the most. We both had once again died and gone to heaven.

We stopped in one place that specialized in sausages, cheeses, olives and tapas. We ended up buying three different tapas for $10 and a container of mixed olives. Another stall just sold breads and Mary Margaret bought a wonderful baguette to go with our tapas. I bought triple cream brie that was ever so good! To go with the tapas, bread and cheese, I also bought a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Coonawarra region that was bottled with a stopper that looked like the old time beer bottles. The bottle is returnable and you get $3 when you do!

Mary Margaret and I kept on saying to ourselves that we wished we had Leu Cat here so we could provision her for the upcoming cruising season. Mary Margaret said that if we lived here, she would come every week and she just did not understand why anyone would go to the supermarkets when this market is available with such quality foods, with such a large variety and so reasonable. In my opinion, she makes a very good point.

Loaded to the max with lunch, dinner and snacks, we walked back to the trolley stop and took the trolley back to our hotel. We sat next to a pretty young lady who was accompanied by two cameramen, clicking away. Mary Margaret, always one to strike up a conversation starting talking with her and we discovered that she and her camera crew were in town as part of the shoot. Her name is Lindsey and she is the star of a new British TV show called Grape Escapes. It has yet to be aired since this is their initial season and they are in the process of filming 13 episodes from around the world. It will be aired also in the US on the Food Channel. All three of our kids (as well as ourselves) love the Food Channel so I am sure we will hear all about it when it does come on. I have posted a photo that I took of Lindsey to this blog. You can read the news release about the upcoming show at: http://www.stage18.co.uk/experience-the-world-one-bottle-at-a-time-stage-18-television-productions-pops-the-cork-on-grape-escapes

Once we returned to our hotel, we had a wonderful tapas lunch augmented by the Cab wine and some triple cream brie. It was soooo good. Tonight we will dine on the thick cut scotch fillets we bought and Mary Margaret will make a vegetable medley that makes my mouth water just writing about it. For dessert, we will have a double dark chocolate cake for me and a lemon tart for Mary Margaret. Yumm!

Melbourne Day 1
03/12/2012

The riverboats just barely squeeze under the Spencer Street bridge. The bridge, river and park are just a short block from our hotel.

Melbourne Day 1
03/12/2012

A view of Enterpize Park and the Yarra River as it passes through part of the center of Melbourne. You can see one of the riverboats that ply the waterway, offering tourists wonder views of the city.

Year 5 Day 41 Melbourne Day 1
Dave/Sunny
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
03/12/2012

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!!!!

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