Adventures from Sydney to Melbourne Continued…

     When last I left you, dear readers, my husband and I were on our way to Melbourne, Australia, the arts, sports and cultural capitol of this amazing country.

     Upon first arriving in Melbourne, after a 10 hour drive through the endless, rolling outback landscape (I think we saw one farm every few miles!) we finally reached the outer suburbs of the city, where Jeremiah pointed out his old school and old haunts from childhood. Soon thereafter, we were warmly greeted by Jeremiah’s wonderful Dad and Step Mom. After a quick bite to eat at a cute little Vietnamese restaurant on the quaint Glenferrie Rd. in Hawthorn (Home of the Hawks!) we settled in for the night to rest up before our trip to the stunning beach town of Lorne.

     The drive to Lorne took us along the breathtaking Great Ocean Road via the beautiful, smaller city of Geelong. We stopped for a spot of lunch along Geelong’s bay waterfront to meet up with an old friend of Jeremiah’s and take in the views, then back along the Great Ocean Road to take in more of the expansive beauty. We stopped at the world famous Bell’s Beach. This beach was the home to the first ever surfing competition and is the current home to the iconic Rip Curl Pro Competition. The Anglesea Lookout and Cathedral Rock were two other note-worthy stops which allowed for even more opportunities for breath-taking views of the spectacular Victoria coastline.

     Lorne has three generations of Tickell history mapped through it’s little shops, the beach and cafes. Jeremiah spent numerous summers competing with the surf junior life saving club. Though it has changed over the years, Lorne maintains this beautiful charm, peace and sense of community. I could easily picture a time when we could raise a family in Lorne, leave all the doors unlocked, let our children play on the beach together and live a simple and gorgeous life. Lorne is addictive and it was difficult to leave! I already look forward to a time when we can return…

     After two nights in Lorne, we made our way back to Melbourne via Sorrento. We took the ferry across Port Phillip Bay and marvelled at the cliffside homes and beach boxes (boat houses, if you’re American) along the way. After another lovely stopover with family, we said our goodnights and headed to our home away from home in Melbourne for our last few days away.

     The next morning we awoke ready to celebrate Australia Day! Like our 4th of July, Australia Day is a holiday celebrated with BBQs, drinks and family outings. So, as we explored the amazing streets of downtown Melbourne, there was an extra buzz of life in the air!

     Walking down the iconic Hosier Lane, we were taken by the incredible street art that constantly changes as artists throughout the city express their feelings and opinions through their work.

    We continued on to Federation Square which houses not only the National Gallery of Victoria, but also the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, currently featuring an exhibit by Julian Rosefeldt called “Manifesto” starring Cate Blanchett alongside three other recent video installations.
     We reached the Yarra River, which boasts an amazing history from it’s colonial, gold-rush early days of the city through to it’s current role as Melbourne’s avenue for school rowing clubs and water taxi tours. The water was able to take away some of the Australia Day heat as well as boasting a fantastic view of the city skyline. The river’s Southbank is filled with restaurants and boutique clothing stores while it’s Northbank gives access to the colonial downtown transit hub, Flinders Street Station.
     With no respite for our group due to the throng of Australia Day partiers, we rode the tram down to the bayside suburb of St. Kilda to marvel at the world’s creepiest amusement park, the ancient Luna Park, and join the festivities on the waterfront where, apparently, the ‘open alcohol container’ ban had been lifted for the day- how very Aussie for their national holiday!
After a brief rest on a soft, grassy park hill along with 400-odd young Australia Day ragers, my husband’s watch urged us back on the tram through the city’s center to Southern Cross Station to meet with the Melbourne Victory (soccer or ‘Summer Footy’) North Terrace Brigade cheer squad. Outside the Etihad Stadium’s entrance, the enormous cheer squad (and about 20 police officers) gathered to warm the crowd up before marching to the stadium entrance. This was the closest thing to a European football experience – outside of Europe of course! The home team beat their Sydney rivals and our happy family group flooded outside to catch the Australia Day fireworks before boarding the train home for some much-deserved sleep!
     Today is BBQ (or ‘barbie’) day where we’re expecting lots of beer, some lamb, and what would a great Aussie barbie be without…. SNAGS! You thought I’d say “shrimp” didn’t you! We will also meet more of my new Aussie family for the first time this trip and, with much sadness, say fond farewells until our next trip down-under. Until next time…
Ashley & Jeremiah. 


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