900 km of driving (one-way) was too hard, and I didn't want to perform the airport shuttle juggle, so I took the overnight train from Strathfield, arriving early in the morning. Walked from Southern Cross station to a friend's house in West Melbourne, chatted with Rob and Laura for a little while, then left Rob to get on with thesis/seminar/something similar writing and went shopping. Victoria Markets were only five minutes away:
BTW, I'm sorry about the quality of the photos, but B managed to lose my camera when he went down to Tassie a few weeks ago and I have to use my mobile until I get a replacement :(
I went wandering around Fitzroy and Collingwood, supposedly shopping, although I didn't buy anything more interesting than a pair of bamboo fibre socks and some cheap underwear. Melbourne has a great line in 'distressed' buildings:
Rob & I met for lunch at this Vietnamese restaurant, which served many delicious, interesting things. Isn't Google Maps brilliant? I couldn't remember the name of the place, just that it was on Victoria Street, Richmond, with loads of other Vietnamese restaurants, so I took myself on a virtual 'drive' until I found it.
There was more walking and window shopping in the afternoon. Rob and Laura had managed to obtain tickets to hear Noam Chomsky speak, but there was no hope of me getting one, so I spent the evening relaxing & eating Indian food from a local takeaway that I found after bypassing Italian, Caribbean, Thai, Balinese - now this is what I miss about inner city living. We just don't have the variety of cuisines out where I live, and what there is tends to be ridiculously expensive.
On Saturday we picked Jackie and Ben up from the airport and headed for Berwick, stopping for a coffee and croissant. We weren't too late *g*. Rob, Jackie, Ben and Igor played music all weekend:
I got kitted up too, but I was able to just stroll around and watch and talk to people:
(P.S for greengerbil - A also filled in as ACW cavalry - 2nd from left in the one above - they double and triple-up all the time here, there are so few re-enactment riders).
In the evening there was a meeting, and then there was food, and drinks and more music and talking until quite late *g*. We slept on site, which made getting up easier, although I had to wash in the loo block and hope I wasn't too whiffy for when BSL picked me up, which happened not too late in the morning, and after more coffee and doughnuts and croissants from shops nearby. We drove down to Phillip Island, pausing for lunch at the recommended fish and chip shop, just before the bridge, and I suggest you read byslantedlight's post on what we did after that, although I will post one picture of the blowhole that wasn't:
Because the sea was ever so calm it just looked like a big cave in the cliff, which is exciting enough, I think. On to the little penguins, who duly arrived as the sun was going down, slowly and bravely coming out of the water, then rushing up the beach and over the rocks to the dunes, where they sort of hovered and havered in a big group before heading for their burrows and penguin night business. And I thought I heard a "challenging" remark muttered softly by someone standing quite close to me, but I don't know who that might have been or what it was about....*g*
After a lovely sunny day it was quite cold near the water, so after the parade was over I was glad to drink my hot chocolate and head off (first checking that there were no penguins under our car). And at the end of a long drive there was a comfortable bed and a shower, and in the morning more adventures, of the pros-y meetage and yum cha variety and research(!) - which is another post entirely - and finally the night train back home to Sydney.
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