Seeing the sights with Margaret and Ricky
15.06.2009 - 06.07.2009 10 °C
Time is certainly flying isn't it? And while you lot have been enjoying a scorching heat wave we've been wrapping up in thermals and rain macks. But we're not sad about that...oh no! We've had our first set of visitors to entertain and we've brightened the days with trips away and new experiences. This has certainly been a few weeks of 'firsts':
First Kangaroo Sighting - To see these amazing hopping creatures in the wild is certainly a sight. Although you know how they move it is still a bit of surprise when you first see them jumping away like grass hoppers, it's hard to believe they can travel at such speed by bopping up and down. They are timid little things, well, not so little in some cases, and the ones in Victoria are generally grey in colour. We got a very close encounter when one baby roo came across our path in the Yarra Valley...nearly giving Andre a heart attack in the process. The roo was ok though, Andre is still a bit jumpy.
First Wine Tasting Extravaganza- After our first drive round the fabulous Yarra Valley wine region Andre and I were hooked on the plentiful flow of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. There are so many wineries to visit and so many delicious wines to taste that even after our third trip we still haven't seen it all (yes, we're hooked). Andre chauffeured Margaret, Ricky and I round last weekend on a grand tour which took us right into the hills and into some of the big estates. The big expanse of land known as the 'Yarra Valley' is in fact so big that different areas specialise in different grapes due to the diverse weather conditions. We'll be connoisseurs before you know it, and hopefully Andre won't just go for the cheapest bottle of plonk from the supermarket next time!
First Big Road Trip - We took a nice long weekend down the scenic Great Ocean Road, which is a coastal route travelling west from the city. There are some amazing sights to see along the way with some of the best surf and beaches in Victoria. The journey is steeped in history, not only was the road built by over 3,000 returned servicemen in remembrance of those who died in WW1, but along the way there are remnants of ship wrecks and historic buildings such as the Cape Otway Lighthouse. One of the highlights has to be the obsure Twelve Apostles - which is false advertising because there aren't 12 - but it is definitely worth seeing these impressive crumbling rocks jutting out of the white water. We also got our first sighting of the cuddly cute Koalas which just sleep in the trees all day and sometimes wake to munch on some leaves. Ahhhh! I want one!
First Aussie Rules Footie Match - It had to be done, we had to get into the AFL (Aussie Football league) someday, and considering Victoria is the main state that plays it/lives it/breathes it/doesn't broadcast anything else but/we thought we'd give it a try. The stadium (MCG, or called simply the "G" by locals) is only a short walk from our flat, and it's very impressive indeed. To show you just how passionate these supporters are they pack this venure out every weekend with over 90,000 fans, and unlike footie at home woman, children, gran, grandad, dog, cat are all welcome. We were a bit perplexed at first because its a strange game and a mixture of everything - the ball is shaped a bit like a rugby ball, they punch the ball like volleyball, dribble like basketball, kick like football, jostle and mark like netball and play outside the lines on a circular pitch like nothing else. We were also puzzled by the number of random people running on the pitch in fluorecent tracksuits, and the large number of referees, and the changing length of time for each quarter. It took me a while to even know who was playing, but there was such a great atmosphere you can't help but get involved, we'll just bring big rugs to cover up next time and a flask of hot tea.
First Drive to Philip Island - Just a short drive away from Melbourne is a little island which harbours an array of surfers beaches, cute wildlife and quirky shops. Philip Island is famous for its Penguin Parade which they have made into a bit of a spectacle, so much so we were put off by the price and decided not to wait out in the cold for 2hours to watch the little black and white birds waddle up the shore. We did see lots more lovely Koala's though in a purpose built sanctury and learnt a bit more about these nocturnal fluffy bears - Fact 1: they are not related to the bear family. Fact 2: they sleep for 20 hours a day. Fact 3: they are marsupians - raise their young in a pouch. Fact 4: they eat eucalyptus. Fact 5: I love them and want one as a pet. Whoever is coming to visit in the summer please expect to be taken to see my fluffy friends, and also pay over the odds for the penguins.
So, all is left is to thank Margaret and Ricky for their lovely company and for you to check out the photos. Enjoy the sun while you can.. it won't last long! (ha! i'm just jealous).
Lots of love XX
p.s. Here is a list of new Aussie words we have learnt:
- Ambo's = ambulance
- Salvo's = Salvation Army
- Bogan = chav
- Grog = alcohol
- Manchester = bedding/sheets
- Reef 'n' beef = surf 'n' turf
- Snag = sausage
- Sanger/sammo = sandwich
- Chow tucker = Chinese food
- Chook = chicken