Deep Fried Mars Bars, Banoffee Pie and Irn Bru

Into week 4 of jobhunting, still surprisingly feeling confident and positive, I interspersed my job seeking with some sightseeing and chill time so I would not go entirely crazy… Surrounded by Europeans of mainly the French and German variety, a Bryan Greenberg lookalike and a porridge sharing Irish girl, being the only Scot in residence in my hostel, I fielded some interesting questions! An interested Dutch roommate prompted a teaching of Rabbie Burns' 'To a mouse' and I explained about deep fried mars bars, banoffee pie (which albeit not of Scottish origin, had not been heard of!) and irn bru!

Venturing out on sunday, leaving the hostel with clouds and rain overhead, by the time I reached federation square, the sun was out and shining! A walk along St Kilda Road took me and Christy to the botanical gardens where we wiled away a couple of hours. Finding some interesting plants and a separation tree, we encountered some interesting swans! Finishing the evening watching seven psychopaths with my corkman buddies, I really enjoyed it! The moment shared with a friend in the UK, learning a new word – 'segue', the seventh seal is now also on my watch list.

Continuing the movie theme, catching war witch at one of Melbourne's independent cinemas and then sampling lygon street's delights, the day after, on Tuesday, after photographing some of Fitzroy's street art, I headed to Melbourne's rooftop cinema to see Dr Strangelove. After a warm day and my second bikram class, sitting back in my deck chair, with the skyscrapers creeping in, not needing to put my cardi on til 10pm, I relaxed into the film. Some cracking lines, I fair enjoyed escaping back a couple of decades.

Browsing the cheaper things on offer in Melbourne, the Victoria Parliament offering free tours, that seemed a good choice for wednesday afternoon. Interesting to see Parliament House's legislative assembly and council chambers; the assembly chamber green, with a carpet to reflect the first meeting of parliament at Westminster, and the council chamber red with extremely comfy seats, we also saw the statue of Queen Victoria that she sent away from the UK as it bore no resemblance to her. Taller, thinner and younger than she was at the time, it was no wonder she did! The short tour made interesting by our entertaining guide Martin, my knowledge of Australian politics was increased. Finishing Wednesday with a happy hour pint, a phonecall to an English friend and some melted timtams, we shall see what the weekend holds…

 

 

Rediscovering Melbourne with Scottish Friends, Cake, Chinatown and River Cruises

Missing the free breakfast in my hostel for the third time this week, rested and showered, with one of my mum’s friend's passing through Melbourne on her travels, utilising the 59 tram, I headed off to meet her at Flinders Station. After a happy greeting exchange and introductions to her friend, we sat and had lunch in Federation Square. Very tasty, all enjoyed our meal. It being a hot, beautiful day, ice cream sought and devoured, viewing the city banks on a river cruise, it was nice to appreciate the city from a different perspective. Some travelling goods passed on along with a card and gift from home, it was much appreciated.

After a wifi stop in Federation Square, checking my bank, I realised that I had paid the deposit for my last three hostels in US dollars…! Thinking it had been expensive, I am glad of an explanation, despite the fact I have now incurred three international charges on my Australian account…! Cheeky cheeky hostelworld! Note to self, check the currency you pay for stuff in!!

Reunited with Florence, my Belgian volunteering friend in the afternoon, we sat and had cider and cake on Degraves Street, one of the quirky side streets Melbourne has to offer. Still hungry, we ventured to chinatown. Not the best choice of meal, I will maybe need to sample somewhere else. An evening spent getting to know some of my roommates better, we finished the day enjoyably watching Boy, a 2010 film set in New Zealand in 1984. Nice to spend the day with company, taking in the atmosphere, I think I have refound my love for the city.

Snakebits, Beer Pong and Lost TimTams

I woke up ready packed for my move across the city. Disappointed to have missed Amanda I went and had breakfast. Her head appearing round the corner we sat and chatted for hours. On the same page, it was nice to connect. Making plans to visit the last night market at Victoria market until November, she headed off to a job interview. Carting my backpack, which incidentally is nearly the same size as me, off on the number 57 tram, I reached my hostel. Accessing it through a bar I was more than a little sceptical I was in the right place…! Checked in, it was evident it was very much a party hostel. On getting to my room, met with the dirtiest room i’ve slept in so far, the first words my roommate uttered were “we’ve had a hygiene warning for our room as it is so dirty.” Looking at the note, it was apparent that they were going to be evicted if they did not clean it…! I took this moment to escape, all valuables in hand, and grab some free wifi at Federation Square. The man next to me, cracking his knuckles like nobody’s business told me I looked German! That’s novel! It beginning to rain (4 seasons in one day is so apt for Melbourne!) I had to venture back for a jumper! Making evening plans with Ali and Ben, the boys from Adelaide, I attempted to upload some pictures. The connection slow, I had to give up! A facebook friend request from a korean friend, i was reminded of my first week in Melbourne. The boys picking me up en route to happy hour, they informed me they were unhappy with being called ‘englishmen’ in my previous blog post! The handsome, strapping, young men that they are, I will ensure that any future instances are noted by name!

Met by a happy hour board with the word ‘snakebits’ (I can only assume they mean snakebite or that is an entirely different drink), for $6 I thought why not . Reminding me of my Murano St days, Ben and Shane, an Irish boy who had joined us, signed me and Ali up as the table’s beer pong team! Not having played this in 10 years, it certainly served as a reminder of my uni days! Whilst pretty good, and down to one cup apiece we were beaten. A commendable attempt, it was probably just as well we lost! Realising I had forgotten to pick up my remaining food from the hostel, I am more than a little gutted that there is a pack of timtams, penguin like biscuits for those who haven’t had the pleasure, and a new bag of $7 almonds in it… Having been in my bag but removed as it was so heavy, once again it was a reminder to always go with your instincts…! Having a fab evening with the boys, it is a shame they are heading to New Zealand on Sunday. Returning to the hostel, met with the smell of hash in the hall, never thinking i would say it, I miss YHA! In bed, apparently pillowless, it is a bit late to be going looking for one now! Always looking for the positive, at least I am only here for one night!

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Canadians, Australian Americans, a Swiss, a Swede and a Scottish Lass

Having bumped into the English boys and two girls that were also in the hostel from Adelaide yesterday it was apparent that I have made the nearly naked 70 year old famous!! Amazing! Nice to see them all again, we exchanged stories! Ali telling me that on returning to his bed one night to find there was an older man in it who had claimed it, I laughed a lot! Having a nightmare with booking consecutive nights at a hostel, I had texted a friend to see if she wanted a house guest for the weekend. With a very good offer, I have taken her up on it. With the weekend booking problem out of the way, I booked two weeks at a hostel from Sunday. Up to a ridiculous hour, blogging and meeting Jack, we had a really nice chat and Asia is now firmly on my travel map. Going upstairs and crawling into bed, just getting comfy I remembered that unfortunately I would have to check out in the morning and re check back in as I had to switch rooms due to the limited availability… Should have remembered that earlier! Unable to find my earplugs, I was woken early. Dragging myself up and repacking my rucksack, it still feels just as heavy! Backpack deposited in the locker, for the pricely sum of $2, I got myself blog updated then went to the market. Coming across the post office by accident i bought a box and posted some possessions to try and lighten the load! Having put the foldable rucksack to rest in Apollo bay, I sourced a semi cheap bag and bought the night’s dinner. Junk food crazy at the weekend, I have been on salads all week!

Meeting my roommates, an eclectic multicultural bunch with two Canadians, an Australian American, a Swiss, a Swede and myself, we had a good laugh – loving the 8 bed shares! Amanda, the first person in a couple of days who knew straight away that i was scottish! On telling me that she went along to a marketing interview to find it was door to door sales, having had the same experience in Scotland where i went along to an interview thinking it was marketing the company and being more than a little surprised to be bundled into a car and end up in Hawick of all places, trying to get people to give money to the RSPB, door to door, I shared my story too! An instant bond was formed, and with similar Melbourne plans I am sure we will be great friends.

With an evening plan to see the penguins emerge from the beach at St Kilda, bizarrely enough, me and Lisa both got ourselves lost in the evening and lost track of time. It getting dark and unfortunately missing them we met at Federation Square for a drink instead. Chatting and sharing stories, with her travelling off to Tasmania tomorrow, I am fair going to miss my little German friend! Seeing the city by night, and having righted myself in the map, my apprehension from Saturday has disappeared.

Having had a couple of hours of debate in my head as to whether I had done the right thing leaving Adelaide, a txt, leaving me dumbfounded reconfirmed that I had. Needing sunscreen at 3pm, I certainly didn’t need it on the walk home as the heavens opened and it poured down. Jumping on the tram I emerged a little drier than when I got on it. A mix of emotions of a day, I am hopeful with what Melbourne has to offer!

From Flinders Beach to Flinders Street Station

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After an unexpectedly disappointing last night, and restless sleep it was time to get ready for the onward journey to Melbourne. 

After the drawbacks of window seats on the international leg I booked an aisle seat. Alas it was not to be. Two men were sitting in the row, and not being able to understand each other I took the window! Perhaps meant to be, seeing the Brisbane city centre with the skyscrapers and river from above was impressive. A reminder of how much I had been seen whilst there. Not to be caught out this time, water was purchased previous to boarding and I took my new seat with a relaxed sigh. The men promptly fell asleep and I was reminded why I wanted an aisle seat! A scone and lemonade later; which incidentally informed me on the side of the can that “Jacob Schweppe brought liquid to life in 1783 with the creation of bubbles, bottling the magic of Scweppervescence,” made me smile. I settled down with the hundred year old man that climbed out of the window.

Destination reached, bags dropped, google maps assisted, I wandered around and found sushi. Sitting listening to the world go by, I finished my book. Cleverly done but a little too historical. Asked by a girl for directions, I must look a local. The city makes me feel a local :-). Edinburgh should take note – trams abound. Very different from Brisbane. A relaxed vibe and chilled, live music in Federation Square makes me wish I’d come down a couple of days early. Still, more to explore in the weeks to come. A day of wandering enjoying my own company, of making plans for months to come, and a new favourite city found.

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