Oh what a wonderful time we had in Melbourne!
First, we ate our hearts out. We had Mexican food, sweets, Asian food (it was a mix of Korean, Indonesian and Japanese), gourmet sandwiches we made ourselves, Australian tapas, beer, wine, and fantastic vegetarian food. Oh, and BRUNCH hello! We ate in St. Kilda, Victoria Market, Fitzroy, Prahran Market, and South Yarra. Kiddo was amazing almost on every occasion, eating with us and not using the iPad very much at all.
We also had amazing filter coffee at Market Lane Coffee. It was funny because we walked in on a whim (Kiddo was napping in the Ergo and we were sort of dumbfounded about what to do with ourselves) and asked if they by chance had filter coffee and the enthusiastic barista answered that of course they did and then we got into a conversation about Portland and how he had recently met Tim Wendelboe. Wow!
My favorite vittles were probably the mixed pickles at Rice Queen in Fitzroy, the red lentil dal and flatbread at Little Creatures Dining Hall in Fitzroy, and my breakfast at the uber hip Two Birds One Stone in South Yarra.
We got Hubby and Kiddo matching ranger hats at Queen Victoria Market. I said I didn’t want one, but I kind of wish I had picked up one anyway. It would have been pretty fun to all match this summer in Norway. Oh well!
The Melbourne Zoo was a full day activity. It was a good zoo, especially the fact that most of the animals had a good amount of space to move around. We had an amazing time with the grizzly bear and the orangutans – there was a playful baby orang that was jumping and swinging around, along with a couple of maybe teenaged orangs that were wrestling and cuddling. It was breathtaking. They had a really nice Koala enclosure that you sort of meander through. We finally saw a wombat, which was fun. They had a bunch of snow leopards (poor guys – it was so hot!) and a couple of lions and a tiger. They had a huge tapir – man those things are crazy looking! It was a really nice day except for the part where when we were about to get on the tram to go home, we realized Kiddo had lost a sandal, and tried in vain to retrace our steps – it was too close to closing time and everything was closed. It was a real shame – Kiddo loved those dang sandals and they were expensive and super cute. Being leather and sturdy as heck, they easily would have lasted another kid or more. But it is what it is. She keeps asking for the sandals and we just encourage her to wear her shoes instead. Sorry, Kiddo!
On our last full day in Melbourne we decided to go to the Old Melbourne Gaol. It was my choice. I had just finished the True History of the Ned Kelly Gang, a novel by Peter Carey that I absolutely and unexpectedly LOVED (a book whose hero is a robber and murderer?). Even though it is fiction, it traces the events of the real Ned Kelly´s life and death, so I was excited to go see some of the relevant historical locations in Melbourne. We first went on a tour of the Watch House, which was in use until 1994. Wow. I feel really bad for anyone that had to stay there. The idea is that it isn’t a prison; it is the place you go and are held until you can see a judge. There are no beds, though; it is just a bunch of cells with benches to sit on. Anyway, a woman in uniform led the tour as if we had broken the law, so she was yelling at us and treating us like criminals for a few minutes. Since Kiddo was asleep on my chest she told me in the beginning that if Kiddo woke up we would have to be escorted out. I was immediately in my trademark scared-of-authority meek state, “ok thank you”. Blargh! I hate that. Anyway, it was an interesting look at something I hadn’t thought about (holding cells in Australia), but I was sort of hoping to use Kiddo´s naptime for the proper Gaol tour. We saw it in the end; it was interesting and sad to see the cells and the scaffolding where so many people (some innocent) lost their lives. If I get sad about this, how am I going to handle the Peace Park in Hiroshima?!? Not well, I would venture to guess.
Anyway, we had a great time in Melbourne. It was a place we felt comfortable in. We missed the beachiness of Sydney a little bit, but it was great to get out of the car for a few days and be able to see a lot of the city in a few short days. We would definitely go back!