Posts Categorized: Travel

Nov 29 2011
1

Melbourne – Albury

After a very full day at the show, we got up early on Monday morning to pick up a rental car and hit the road. It was going to be a straight trip up the Hume Highway to Albury with a couple of stops in between.

The car was delayed so we hung out in the Europcar office on High Street for a couple of hours- like we had nothing at all better to do! Bill got lots of attention with his New York State Drivers License. We eventually got on the road and stopped in Euroa for lunch.

Bill ordered a steak sandwich. You couldn’t get something that looked any more Australian when it came out on the plate. If you are an Aussie and overseas and reading this… you will get homesick just looking at it!

Euroa

Euroa

Egg, bacon, beetroot, grated carrot… the works!

It was also in Euroa that I ended up turning into a side street an straight onto the other side of the road! It seems that I have got somewhat used to being on the other side of the road after all.

We then ended up in Glenrowan. Real Kelly country.

A big Ned Kelly greeted us when we got there –

Glenrowan

Here is Bill channeling his inner Ned –

Glenrowan

The clouds. I miss seeing sky like that –

Glenrowan

A cute post box –

Glenrowan

To navigate the scene of the Kelly Gang Shootout, a self guided tour is marked by big wooden ‘statues’ of the parties involved. You can do the same tour here and see the Historical Markers.

The site of the Glenrowan Inn –

Glenrowan

The Kelly Gang –

Glenrowan

Police were on the scene!

Glenrowan

A ‘shot’ Ned Kelly –

Glenrowan

Glenrowan

The Glenrowan Railway Station –

Glenrowan

The Glenrowan Police Station.. just like something from A Country Practice

Glenrowan

We then went on to Albury. First, we went straight to Bethanga. This the hometown of my ancestors, Mark Barrett and Ellen Cleary.

Lake Hume –

Bethanga

Lake Hume –

Bethanga

Bethanga town sign –

Bethanga

St Francis Church – I love knowing that they actually went here!

Bethanga

Scenes around Bethanga –

Bethanga

Give me a home among the gum trees –

Bethanga

I have never seen this part of the country so green before. The drought is well and truly over!

Bethanga

Bethanga General Store –

Bethanga

Bethanga Post Office –

Bethanga

We then had to zip back to Albury for dinner with my most wonderful and longest friend ever, Shannyn, Ken and the kids. Can you believe I forgot to even get a photo with them?! GAH!!! Shannyn made a beautiful corned beef dinner and we sat around and chatted all night. It was so wonderful to see them – it had been over a year since we saw them when they lived on the Central Coast and it had been too long!

After a big day of driving and socializing we collapsed in to bed as we had to be up early the next day for our drive to Parkes!

Nov 28 2011
1

Show Day!

Sorry to be jumping around on blog posts… here we are back in Australia!

On Sunday (aka the day after the Grand Final) the plan was to avoid all news, tv shows and phone calls we could about the football. The Royal Melbourne Show (aka The Show) was the PERFECT solution to all those post-Grand Final blues.

We got up and out early and it was so much fun being on the train and there was a good crowd on the train for a Sunday morning for the show and also because there were races at Flemington.

We walked through the main ride area first an it was crazy.

Want to go on a ride? That will cost you… $15!!!!

2011 Royal Melbourne Show

The main ride area –

2011 Royal Melbourne Show

Ugh at the Ghost Train –

2011 Royal Melbourne Show

Here is some video we took of one of the rides, also with a bit of the ‘scene’ outside the Ghost Train and then some wood chop competition footage.

The wood chop was great – here are some of the young guys –

2011 Royal Melbourne Show

The wood chop ‘arena’ –

2011 Royal Melbourne Show

Outside the arena we found… water!

2011 Royal Melbourne Show

The one thing we had to line up for was the animal nursery. It was so gorgeous…

2011 Royal Melbourne Show

2011 Royal Melbourne Show

For lunch we hung around in the Tastes of Victoria tent. Look what Bill got.. THE BEST LUNCH IN THE WORLD!!!!

2011 Royal Melbourne Show

I could have eaten all of these lollies –

2011 Royal Melbourne Show

It was also time to teach Bill all about SHOWBAGS. The line to get in the main show bag pavilion was so packed that we didn’t even get in there.. but lucky for us after all the research into the show bags using the Herald-Sun Showbag Guide while we were still in New York, all of the bags Bill wanted were able to be bought outside the pavilion.

Bill waiting to buy his Cadbury bag –

2011 Royal Melbourne Show

Some other random showbag sights –

2011 Royal Melbourne Show

2011 Royal Melbourne Show

2011 Royal Melbourne Show

Bill was excited with his swag –

2011 Royal Melbourne Show

Funnily enough.. they were serving some fine American fare at the show too!

2011 Royal Melbourne Show

Some things never change at the show… these are all things that have been around for years an years. Like the people sitting around the pavilion area resting their weary legs –

2011 Royal Melbourne Show

The Ferris Wheel –

2011 Royal Melbourne Show

2011 Royal Melbourne Show

The Pie in the Sky –

2011 Royal Melbourne Show

And… waiting for the train, hoping to get a seat and listening to all the kids scream and hit each other with inflatable hammers –

2011 Royal Melbourne Show

The day was the perfect remedy to the heartache from the day before and gave Bill the chance to see something that I had grown up with. Loved it!

Nov 10 2011
3

One day in Sept… oops… October

Back on to posts on the Australian trip. Sorry for getting a little sidetracked.
On my last post we were at the Grand Final Parade. When Saturday rolled around, it was Grand Final Day. The game came and went in a blur. Bill would watch the game at home with mum and dad, I’d be there trying to savor every moment.

I had a good sleep the night before and tried to keep to my pre-match normal routine as much as possible. I caught my usual train, got to my seat and that was that.

Mrs West, my favourite teacher ever from grade 5 and 6 was actually sitting in my bay – bonus! I missed Meatloaf singing while I was talking to her (not a bad thing) and before I knew it the game was starting. Sandra and I sat under her blanket and before we knew it, the Pies weren’t doing too bad.

2011 AFL Grand Final

2011 AFL Grand Final

2011 AFL Grand Final

2011 AFL Grand Final

2011 AFL Grand Final

I had my usual Pie at half time and at 3/4 time the vibes were good.

Then we lost.

I had a cry in my seat and the minute that the siren went, I ran out of the ground so fast so I could just get home and away from everyone.

In typical fashion, our train was packed with disappointed Pies supporters. I got my usual last carriage and just wanted to get home. It was just about the most miserable train ride I have ever had as there were people arguing the whole way and being just… awful. Then from the back a girl yelled “WILL YAS ALL JUST BLOODY SHUT UP ABOUT IT – WE LOST – JUST SHUT UP!!!” Well, then it was on. Back and forth in the most bogan accent you could ever imagine. Tears were welling in my eyes as I felt like screaming to all of them that I didn’t come all the way over here to see a losing game and then to listen to them argue over absolute rubbish. But I didn’t. I just sat there thinking of what could have been.

Mum picked me up at the station. I was in my jammies within 5 minutes of getting home and mum made a beautiful lamb roast so we all commiserated about that. It was a draining day – great to sit with Sandra and be at another game but… why couldn’t we have just won?

Sigh.

Nov 02 2011
0

PlugBug

Another ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ moment!

The PlugBug!

Within 15 minutes of seeing this baby, it was purchased!

At home I can live without it but when traveling… nope.

Hotel powerpoint space is at a premium when Bill and I travel. The hotel we always stay in when we visit Albany is lacking majorly – to the point where we bought a powerboard to go in our suitcase. But that means that everything is charging in one spot. Also, we have all the GPS cords and car charger cords to contend with too.

When we were in Australia we were charging –

2 x iPhones
1 x Australian cell phone
1 x Blackberry
1 x Macbook Pro
1 x iPad
1 x iPod
1 x Bose headphones
1 x Kindle
1 x Camera

We were lucky on this trip that Bill also didn’t bring his own laptop!

Normally I always carried the cords in a big red felt Country Road bag. But in the end these cords were just taking up too much space, so then I was using one of my packing cubes. I wanted to use the cubes for other things so I ended up buying a Magellan’s electronic case as it offered a bit more protection. It worked great on this trip but it is still a tight squeeze.

So I’ll let you know how we go with the PlugBug over Thanksgiving break while we are away. If it is one less plug to take then that is a good thing and the red looks nifty as well!

Oct 26 2011
2

Queen Vic Market / Grand Final Parade / Parl

The Friday before the Grand Final in Melbourne is fun fun fun! We had another full day planned so… here we go!

We spent the morning at the Queen Victoria Market. Hot jam donuts were in order! Here is Bill placing his order –

American Doughnut Kitchen, Melbourne

Score!

American Doughnut Kitchen, Melbourne

American Doughnut Kitchen, Melbourne

We walked around the halls quickly, but as usual, we could have spent the whole day there!

Check out the bacon –

Queen Victoria Market

Other delicacies –

Queen Victoria Market

Queen Victoria Market

Queen Victoria Market

We had to rush because we wanted to get a good position for the parade. So we made it to Collins Street and got a spot and waiting for the players to go past. Bill described it as quaint… and it certainly was compared to the parade last year where it was absolutely insane. Here are some photos from the parade –

Bill and I patiently waiting –

2011 Grand Final Parade

Mum and dad –

2011 Grand Final Parade

2011 Grand Final Parade>

2011 Grand Final Parade

The Cup!

2011 Grand Final Parade

2011 Grand Final Parade

2011 Grand Final Parade

2011 Grand Final Parade

2011 Grand Final Parade

2011 Grand Final Parade

2011 Grand Final Parade

Then we had a quick spot of shopping before dropping in and spending some time with the folks at Parliament. Emma came in to visit with baby Benjamin and it was so good to see everyone! By time time we wrapped up there, it was time to get the train home. I loved being on my old platform, on my same train from high school and being annoyed by all the hyperactive kids going crazy with blow up hammer from the show. Memories.

2011 Grand Final Parade

Oct 26 2011
2

Melbourne and Norflandz

Wednesday was a full day in the city – I had the last of my ‘change my name to Blevins’ errands to run for the few places left where the name change had to be done in person.

We wandered around Melbourne Central (yes, we watched the Waltzing Matilda clock) and went to Mass at St Francis Church on Lonsdale Street. It is such a gorgeous little church and one of my favorites and also the church where some of my ancestors got married.. so I just had to share it with Bill. Here it is –

St Francis Church, Melbourne

They were already reading from the new Roman Missal!

St Francis Church, Melbourne

Adoration was happening when we were there so we couldn’t take good photos inside… but here is an example.

We then walked through the Degraves Street area and went into tacky souvenir shops. One thing Australia does better than the USA in my opinion is KFC – so we thought this was the perfect time to get some for lunch so Bill could try it. We went to the one near Swanston and Flinders street. Wow. It seems some things never change.

We were sitting in absolute filth in the restaurant, pigeons were eating food scraps off the floor, we had to wait for ages and then we saw a drug deal right in front of us. Don’t believe me? Here is video proof – GROSS!

This didn’t even show half of the food laying on the floor. See how disgusting the floor was? Ewww! Eating lunch around old bones and pigeons – such a delightful experience.

Couple that with the loonies on the 86 tram on our ride home – Bill was starting to experience some of the real Melbourne!

I also made some stops walking up Bourke Street. Here I am at my old haunt – RMIT Building 108!

RMIT Building 108

On Thursday we were meant to go to the Show – we postponed it because the weather was dreary and we were tired. So Bill and I hung out at Northland – or Norflandz for Ev. Which is something that is completely normal when you are visiting from New York! We walked around the whole complex, shook our head at some of the prices, stocked up on hankies (!!) in Myer and wandered around Woolies, which was a blast.

Oct 24 2011
1

A sheep or two and a kangaroo…

Our day trip to Healesville and Maroondah Reservoir was on a gorgeous, crisp morning.

I had not been to Healesville for years and it was lovely to get out of the city, so we spent a few hours there and had lunch in the cafe. Bill had an ‘up close and personal’ moment with a koala but the highlight was the Spirits of the Sky demonstration where we learnt about some amazing native birds and had them swoop right over us. As well as that we saw emu, kangaroos, platypus, goannas, snakes – it was fantastic!

We then went to visit Maroondah Reservoir and did the big walk up to the dam wall and then had an amazing time with the birdlife in the park.

On the way home, we drove through some of the devasated areas from the 2009 bushfires. After spending so much time in Kinglake, it was good to see the start of some progress there but it is so hard to imagine the devasation that was there no so long ago.

Here are some photos from our very nature based day.

Emus… not ‘E-moos’…

Healesville Sanctuary

Check out the claws!

Healesville Sanctuary

Those ears!

Healesville Sanctuary

Mid-meal of delicious gum leaves!

Healesville Sanctuary

Posing with Bill –

Healesville Sanctuary

After all those gum leaves, both of them needed a nap!

Healesville Sanctuary

Nigh nigh sweet dreams!

Healesville Sanctuary

Healesville Sanctuary

Healesville Sanctuary

Healesville Sanctuary

Spirits of the Sky –

Healesville Sanctuary

Ma and Pa –

Healesville Sanctuary

There is a big campaign at Healesville to raise awareness and get people to switch to recycled toilet paper…

Healesville Sanctuary

Maroondah Reservoir was looking so pretty – even with a huge Dam Wall!

Maroondah Reservoir

Maroondah Reservoir

Maroondah Reservoir

View from the top –

Maroondah Reservoir

Pa and the Birds –

Maroondah Reservoir

One or two Galahs in this photo? Sorry Pa!

Maroondah Reservoir

Maroondah Reservoir

Maroondah Reservoir

Oct 23 2011
2

Back to the ‘G

A great addition to our itinerary in Melbourne was to do the MCG Tour with a visit to the National Sports Museum. It is so much fun being a tourist in your home town!

We parked nearby and I ran in to Rod Laver Arena to pick up my Grand Final tickets. I was a bit sooky about the location of the seats (they are pre-allocated seats) that resulted in a rant back over the footbridge to the MCG. There was definitely a buzz in the air with it being the start of Grand Final week so going to the MCG was the perfect way to kick it off. I previously did my first ever library work placement at the MCC Library but had not been into the MCC Members since the new stand was built. I was looking forward to taking Bill behind the scenes and even if you aren’t a footy fan, it is a great place to experience with no-one else there.

Here is Bill hamming it up for the camera at Rod Laver Arena –

MCG Tour

The tour was great – we went out onto the ground, where the interchange benches are, back up to the areas where the cricketers sit during their games, around and into the Collingwood change rooms and press area and then right through the MCC Members Stand and into the Long Room and members areas. If you are in Melbourne I really recommend you do this tour – it was a great way to spend the afternoon. I most certainly got goosebumps along the way wondering what would be happening at the ground just a few days after we had been there!

Here are some photos…

The hallowed turf of the ‘G –

MCG Tour

MCG Tour

View of Melbourne and Jolimont rail yards from the top of the Ponsford Stand –

MCG Tour

Panoramic of an empty MCG –

MCG Tour

Looking at the Ponsford Stand and where my home and away Collingwood seat is located –

MCG Tour

View from the Ponsford –

MCG Tour

Bill at the G –

MCG Tour

Sitting where the coaches sit for the after-match press conferences –

MCG Tour

Changeroom locations for the Grand Final had been decided already!

MCG Tour

CHANGEROOMS!

MCG Tour

Dress code for the Long Room –

MCG Tour

I love traditions like these –

MCG Tour

We then spent a while at the National Sports Museum which was absolutely fantastic and a huge improvement on the old museum. Bill got to bowl like a cricketer for the first time, have a go at netball and various footy manouvers as well as check out displays like the AFL Hall of Fame. We didn’t even get the chance to visit the Olympic displays as we run out of time!

We then spent that night at the Lomond Hotel with Ev and Mark – eating good food and way too much pavlova! It was also Brownlow night so we raced home to see Dane Swan win while also making fun of some of the ridiculous dresses…! Bill found the format of the count really interesting and it was a good one to watch as it neared the end.

Another jam packed day in Melbourne and we showed no sign of letting up as Tuesday would be spent out at Healesville Sanctuary and Maroondah Reservoir.

Oct 22 2011
0

Colonial Tramcar Restaurant

…back to our Australian holiday posts!

After the exhausting night at the football, Saturday and Sunday were so relaxing. Aunty Shirl and Nana came for a girls lunch, while Bill went to the local football for a while with dad.

On Sunday night we went out for dinner on the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant. We had a walk around Crown Casino and the Promenade and then waited for our ‘restaurant’ to arrive.

I love trams and the restaurant is something you always see going around the streets. It was something we had never done before so with us over for a visit, it seemed like the perfect excuse.

The tram route took us through South Melbourne, then down along St Kilda Esplanade, then back up St Kilda Road, through the city, up to Nicholson Street, then down Bourke Street and back to Crown. It was so relaxing as you sit, eat and watch the city go by.

We both had the kangaroo as a starter (it was delicious) and then Bill got the beef main and I got the chicken with risotto. Dessert was yummy with a white chocolate mousse and sticky date pudding and Bill loved the Australian cheese platter.

The meals are all prepared in a tiny little galley in the middle of the tram. It is amazing to know that a chef can prepare all those meals in such a tight space – she did an amazing job.

At one stop, dad was out talking to one of managers and mentioning that we had a native New Yorker on the tram, he came in and serenaded Bill with New York, New York!

Here I am on the tram –

Colonial Tramcar Restaurant

It was so cosy inside –

Colonial Tramcar Restaurant

Bill and I –

Colonial Tramcar Restaurant

Mum and dad –

Colonial Tramcar Restaurant

Bill being serenaded –

Colonial Tramcar Restaurant

The kangaroo starter –

Colonial Tramcar Restaurant

Bill’s main –

Colonial Tramcar Restaurant

My main –

Colonial Tramcar Restaurant

White chocolate mousse –

Colonial Tramcar Restaurant

Cheese platter with a pear jam –

Colonial Tramcar Restaurant

All in all, it was a lovely experience and we are pleased to say we did it. It is all inclusive so the only thing is that as non-drinkers, it is an expensive night. It would be fantastic if they had a non-alcoholic option. But seriously, we had a lovely time and it was surprisingly easy to eat on the tram. I had visions of drinks spilling and meals wobbling.

It is well worth doing and a lovely way to see Melbourne at night!

Oct 21 2011
0

So we got off the plane…

When we landed in Melbourne it was Friday morning. We were home by 10am and by 10.01am I was gulping cordial by the litre! It was so good.. mum knows exactly how to make it!

Bill jumped straight in the shower and he was asleep by 1pm. Normally we would never sleep on the day of arrival but as we had a late night it was a necessity. I stayed up and laid on the couch watching Collingwood replays that dad had on Foxtel. At by 6pm we were out the door and on the train – we had a footy game to go to!! It was surreal – one day I was walking around Brooklyn and then the next I am in my footy gear and travelling on the Epping line.

I cannot describe how it feels when it comes time to step off the train at Jolimont. Walking towards the ground, smelling the wet dirt smell of Yarra Park, the fried food, the same public announcer letting people know that the only spare seats left are at the top deck of the Southern Stand… it is surreal.

We had some business to sort out first at the Collingwood shop (that is another blog post in itself) so we walked over the bridge and I was looking at the Melbourne skyline at sunset. It was beautiful. I got to show Bill the paver that I have in the front area of the Westpac Centre. Here is a photo I took back in 2008 –

May 25 - Paved in Glory - 365/3

Bill finally got the chance to put on his Pies guernsey… here he is at the Bob Rose statue.

Bill in his new guernsey

We got to our seats and they were in the pocket close to the Southern Stand. While we were at Dave Matthews on the Sunday night before we left, it was Bill’s job to get our seats. Done and done! We even beat Sandra to our seats and she is always usually there first.

Here we are…!

Collingwood Vs Hawthorn

We settled in and saw a scrappy game. I was just happy we were there and took the outlook of if we won it would be a bonus and it would be great for Bill to experience two Melbourne teams in Preliminary Final, under lights at the G. Either way, we would make some great memories… hopefully. At 8.30pm my eyes were closing and I could not control them. It was like someone was trying to tape them down. By the time I had my pie (thanks Sandra!) and a bottle of water (thanks Bill!) I was feeling more alert and could concerntrate on the game better. It looked like the Pies were going to lose the game – we were still barracking like crazy and what would you know. Goals started falling from the sky… well it felt that way! In one of the greatest Preliminary Finals ever, Collingwood came from behind to win with only minutes to go. Of course then, the whole ground turned into a Collingwood lovefest. We were hugging/hi-fiving and going nuts with everyone around us. It was amazing. I was with my Collingwood family and it felt SO good! Good old Collingwood Forever played over and over. We were chanting, singing, people were jumping on their chairs… we were in the Grand Final for another year!

We walked past the boys in M32, Cooooollllllinnnngwwwwwwooooodddd was echoing through the underpasses. As I have done hundreds of times before, we squeezed over the bridge to Jolimont and got on the train home. Dad picked us up from the station – a routine that has never changed! It was one of the best nights ever – just seeing a game like that and hearing the roar of the crowd when the Pies hit the front. I am getting goosebumps just typing it!

I love that some things never change.

If you want to relive some of the amazing last quarter and check it out from the 6.50 mark for some great scenes.

Good Old Collingwood Forever!