Monday, 29 April 2013

Last day...

It was the last full day in Australia! It was quite sad to wake up and pack :( luckily it stripper roommate was quiet when she got back at 4am, quite funny to think we got in after her the night before! Unfortunately we did wake the Asian roommate packing up, she was a funny one...while I was brushing my teeth she was at the sink next to me, Miranda sitting on the bench looking at the floor. I saw her put white cream all over her face, she looked like the moon from the Mighty Boosh! I thought it was a bit odd as the cream was so thick but assumed it was this lightening cream Asians use to look paler...well the phrase to assume makes an ass out of u and me was never truer as she pulled out a razor and shaved her face. Not just where men grown a beard but the whole face...hence the moon lookalike...I was desperate for Miranda to look up as she had already missed the forehead being shaved, Miranda did eventually raise her head and her jaw dropped! She was shaving her nose at this point, I felt the need to interrupt Mirandas stare and she got in the shower. When the Asian had finished the rest of her face I asked Miranda if she had closed her mouth yet, I knew she shouldn't be in a female dorm, and her flip flops looked big!

We put our bags in the lockers and got the tram down to St Kilda for the day. Mirandas dad used to live on Fitzroy street so we went to number 97 where he lived on route to breakfast. We had a scrummy breakfast, first proper non hangover meal and walked around the shops. I got a sports bag from Sportsgirl as needed the extra room for my shopping I had done!

We got a smoothie and walked along the esplanade, and saw an impressive sand sculpture being made. We found a nice place to sit and chill before Miranda left at 4 for her flight, mine wasn't until 00.35 so I stayed and people watched. It was too hard to leave the beautiful view so I got a take away pizza and watched the sunset, a perfect way to say goodbye to Australia and reflect on the trip.

It felt like a long time since leaving the UK when I was sat there and yet yesterday at the same time. So much had been crammed into such a short space of time, this is all thanks to Miranda and her organisational skills. To think I had seen a concert, drank the famous Singapore sling, eaten amazing chilli crab, jumped out a place, snorkelled the Great Barrier Reef, white water rafted, surfed (kind of), got feathers in my hair, fed lambs, gambled, climbed a mountain, held a koala, fed a kangaroo, skinny dipped, walked through a rainforest, stood under a waterfall, paddle boarded on the Pacific, drank wine in the hunter valley, ran on summer bay beach, saw a show at the opera house, sunbathed on Bondi beach, sipped cocktails on rooftop bars, seen some amazing buildings and skylines, walked on beautiful beaches and finally read an book for adults, I am so grateful.

The lady in the winery said life is too short to drink wine you don't like, I agree and am so lucky I have amazing friends to enjoy the nice wine with!! I felt a bit pressured when people said I would feel differently after this trip, but they were right, although I am not a different person, just me with more experience and a wider outlook.

Time so get on with Chapter 27...

The End.

Love Nikki xXx

Hungover in Fitzroy

As I didn't get to sleep until 6.40, or around then as that was the last message I sent on my phone, it wasn't surprising we woke up with hangovers! We still got up and showered and felt a little better but needed coffee. Miranda was feeling worse than me during the day and after coffees we got the tram to Fitzroy, where she was feeling nauseous on the journey. We walked along the main street dipping in and out of shops, the nauseous feeling was not leaving Miranda and it got worse when the little cafes were serving food! We got some drinks and went and sat in a side street for a while, right by more street art and a secret garden style garden centre.

After a bit of a rest we wandered back to a shop where I liked some dresses and tried them on, probably not the wisest to buy 2 dresses and 2 tops when travelling with a backpack...after retail therapy we went to 'little creatures' brewery hall. It was a really cool place and if not hungover I could have tried all the beers! We had some bread and dips and a scooner of pale ale and were falling asleep, hair of the dog didn't quite work.

We went back to the hostel for a nap, only disturbed a little by the Asian girl...still dubious on the sexuality as she has wigs about her stuff. Miranda thought she was huddled over in her things the way one was laying! After a nap we fought through headaches to get ready and grabbed paracetamol on route to a bar. We found the bar we were looking for and as we got to the top floor in the bar I turned to say to Miranda I would have to go as my head was pounding she was going into the bathroom as she was close to being sick...we are not cut out for full on drinking!! We left the bar, I got some food on the way back (and a cookie for Miranda in case she was hungry later) and went for a natter.

Event though we felt we should have been on a big night out for our last night it worked out well and we thought we would be able to make the most of the next day. We chatted in our bunks, Miranda nibbled on the cookie and we both felt better!

Love Nikki xXx

Parade, Penguins and all night Partying!

It was ANZAC day, 'Australia and New Zealand Army Corps', like the UK Remembrance Day except its a public holiday in Australia. As time was running out we thought it would be a good day to see a sunrise, checking on the Internet said it would be at 6.55, so we got up at 6.20 and headed down flinders lane and planned on going to the shrine of remembrance. While walking down it seemed too bright for sunrise to not have happened, it was a shame as it was cloudy and while we were sat in federation square it brightened up fully so we may have missed it through clouds!

There was a huge buzz in the city as hundreds of people came out from be dawn chorus service, it was a bit of a battle for breakfast but we found a little table in the corner of a bagel bar and had a couple of coffees to wake us up. We nipped back to the hostel and got our stuff for the day and went back up to federation square to watch the parade. It was so patriotic and they seemed to really look after their veterans, helping them in the back of 4x4s (zimmerframes and all!). There was a really nice atmosphere and some very cool vehicles about.

After what was already a busy morning we got picked up at 10.15 for the Phillip island tour. It was a bit of an old bus and there was a mixture of nationalities on the trip. Unfortunately we should have looked at the itinerary a bit better (we booked when hungry and tired, a lethal combination!) as there were some pointless stops and lunch wasn't great. Although the stop at the nature sanctuary was worth it for the active yoga shape making koala and albino kangaroo! The kangaroos were obviously happy for the food as kept lipsticking which was really gross! Miranda also made up for the chocolate stop by winning the quiz the driver did for a bar of the stuff. I asked about the race track and the driver made a detour for a quick photo. There was a track day on and it was a good 5 mins watching the bikes on the circuit.

The final stop was the centre where the penguins come in from the shore, it was a little commercial but the penguins were so funny. There were the breed 'little penguin' and only 33cm fully grown. They come in at sunset and on cue returned in groups at 6pm. They huddle in groups of 10-20 and spend a little time going in an out of the sea battling the seagulls and waiting until they feel confident to go up the bank to their burrows.

We watched them on the beach for 29 mins and then headed back up the boardwalks to watch them find their burrows. We actually saw a little more than we thought...they are frisky little things and were mating all over the place! We even saw a couple in the throws and then a 3rd penguin came along, flapped about and all 3 went into the same burrow!! The next couple we thought were teenagers as looked a little shy and awkward, kept almost getting down to it and shying away!! I'm not sure if the main aim of the trip is to guess the relationship status of the penguins but it was fun for us, there was also a pair who almost fell into a neighbouring burrow, an older couple who hugged afterwards and a couple having issues and likely on the brink or divorce who kept fighting!! One fact from the centre we took in was the divorce rate is between 18-50% in the little penguin breed.

We napped on the journey back to Melbourne and got back to the hose at 10.15. Had a quick shower and were in GoGo bar under ChinChin at 11 ish! We then went onto Madame Brussels, a French themed rooftop bar recommended by Quinnie which was really quaint. We had a couple of glasses of pink bubbles and went onto GP, Gin Palace. It smelled dodgy when we went in but was quite trendy, an awkward Indian guy came and chatted to me while Miranda went to the loo and he was a bit tricky to get rid off, I wasn't too subtle in the end. He kept saying he was poor but in Melbourne for a plastic surgery conference...bore off!! Then we got asked to go through to another bar by Francesco the manager of the restaurant attached, and it was nicer through the other bit. We had a couple of G&Ts with him and his friends and then onto another bar I don't know the name of. It was really late by this point and probably the only place open, Francesco ordered a bottle of wine (Miranda clocked the menu didn't have anything under $80 on it) and it was a shame the wine wasn't very nice!

We jumped in a taxi to the hostel and facetimed my sister, it was 5am our time, and I think we still made some sense!

Love Nikki xXx

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Walking tour, chilli tea at Cookies and Temper Trap

We both had a rubbish nights sleep as the room was so stuffy but rather than faff about we got up and out, avoiding showering in the cubicle with sick in it...

As we were in need of coffee and didn't have our bearings we went for a quick breakfast at Maccas. It did the trick and we were ready for the free walking your at 10.30. You basically meet a guide and then too what you feel at the end of the 3 hours, I did one in Berlin in November which gave us the idea to look one up. My favourite but was the street art, it changes everyday and was really amazing. Various people were featured including Ned Kelly and a gangster 'Chopper Read' who cut his ear off as well as celebs.

It was a really good way to get our bearings as covered a large part of the city. It was also a good mix of history, art and suggestions on things to do in the city. The weather had held up too, Melbourne can be known for 4 seasons in a day so we had rain macs, jumpers and summer tops!

After the tour we went shopping in the dfo, a discounted mall and I got some nice gym stuff from Lorna Jane. Think I will need it as an incentive to exercise after all the booze! We left the mall and walked back to the hostel in the rain for a quick change and went out for dinner.

We went to Cookies as it was somewhere Miranda had been recommended by several people and Lottie had sent her an article when she first moved out to Australia which had mentioned it. We got there just in time as it was packed!! We had a couple of beers and shared some dumplings, beef with chilli and pork with peanut and lemongrass. It was really spicy but so delicious, so much Miranda thought her ears were going to fall off from the heat but couldn't stop eating it! The cocktail menu was incredible and there was the perfect cocktail for me, Enlytenment, the explanation was just like my trip!! Miranda had the espresso martini and they were also absolutely delicious.

We walked across the city to festival hall where we had tickets to see temper trap, it was just like going to gigs when I was younger and a small venue with sticky black wooden floor. We got a couple of beers and enjoyed the support bands, the second, Alpine, Miranda recognised from her iPod of Pascale's music. Temper trap were really good, his voice was amazing and we had added entertainment from a couple who seemed off their tree and necking on the whole time! People around us were heckling them at one point, Miranda was disgusted but as I was sporting my bright orange backpack moving around was tricky so we stayed put. It was a really good mixed night of cocktails and music after a cultured morning!

Love Nikki xXx

Chilling at Bondi

We have been so busy I got behind on my blogs so the next couple are a little from memory and piecing together photos!

We had our flight to Melbourne in the evening and as we hadn't sunbaked on the beach in Bondi we went back to enjoy the sun for the day. After getting packed and putting a little washing on we got the train to Bondi.

It was a really chilled day, I was mostly Bondi rescue lifeguard sporting while Miranda was looking out for the Geordie Shore cast! I saw Kerrbox and Hoppo but none of the others unfortunately!

We had a nice Italian lunch overlooking the beach and headed back to the city. Ed kindly drove us out to the airport for our flight and it was only an hour and a bit to Melbourne.

Luckily we were rugged up in our matching Bondi hoodies we had purchased in a druken haze a few days earlier as it was chilly in Melbourne. We got the skybus to the city and walked to the YHA hostel on Flinders Street.

The hostel was quite modern and clean but our roommates had taken over the room with all their stuff! I had an Asian in the bunk above me, who I thought may not be eligible for an all girl dorm...and Miranda had a European girl below her. The Asian girl didn't speak and the European only said hi the first night.

Love Nikki xXx

Friday, 26 April 2013

360 lunch and comedy night at the opera house

Woke early and had cuppa in bed, breakfast on the balcony and Ed arranged for us to meet his step mothers, second husbands daughter, Janet for coffee in the city before our lunch at the 360 restaurant. Truthfully I was dreading it after hearing hours of Eds tales about people Miranda didn't know let alone me, the day before but Janet was really lovely. A 70 year old ex French teacher but really interested in travel and had met John previously. She took us to a cute French cafe for coffee and a cake and was helpful in pointing out where to get the lift to the 360 restaurant. She was really happy we had met her as plans the day before had fallen through and Miranda summed it up by saying she would have been a lovely grandmother had she had children.

The 360 restaurant was in the tower of Westfield shopping centre and was absolutely amazing, both for the views and the food. The lift was tiny as expected and a wedge shape as it goes up the needle of the tower. The restaurant floor revolves giving a 360 view in 70 mins of the city and we had chosen a great day as the sky was clear we could see as far the blue mountains. We shared a pork belly starter, Miranda had John Dory and I had steak with wine. We were both surprised at the portions sizes being quite big so cancelled desert and enjoyed the view a little longer before heading back down. My favourite bit was darling harbour and looking over the smaller waterways you don't really see from the city. I would really recommend it to anyone who visits the city, it was $50 for 2 courses and glass of wine and a longer experience than the sky deck etc.

After getting our bearings of the city we headed to the opera house and took some pictures and then went for a lie down in the botanical gardens. It was good to see the landmarks in better weather and it is so clean everywhere.

We got the train back to Eds and cracked open the sparkling merlot for pre comedy gala drinks. Ed enjoyed the sparkling merlot with us on the balcony and dropped us to the station before he went out with his friends.

The opera house and harbour bridge looked fabulous at night all lit up and we were glad we got dress up. Although the opera house only had minimal lights as miranda said it is often fully lit in different colours. The comedy gala was great apart from the host said the F word every second word, Stephen K Amos opened the gala and we generally liked all the acts apart from a random skit couple. It was a perfect set up with each act having 5/10 mins with the idea being you book to see their full show in the rest of the gala. There were about 12 acts in total but the most bizarre thing was at the end the host was singing and out came David hasslehoff!! Such a random end to the night!!

We grabbed a cheeky Maccas before going to the apartment to bed.

Love Nikki xXx

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Ed's Eastern Suburbs tour and Bondi Drinking

It was such a different morning waking up, beautiful sunshine and gorgeous view of sydney. You can see the bridge and opera house from the balcony and it was a great spot to have breakfast before going for an explore.

Ed was keen to show us round the eastern suburbs of Sydney and took us on a very comprehensive tour of the different bays. He also knew some of the famous people's houses so we saw Nicole Kidman's place along with Mel Gibson's business partner, along with the different properties Ed had lived in and the homes of some of his enemies he had made in his years as chairman of the building he lives in. This may all sound a little mean and Ed is a lovely guy he is just very generous with his stories and conversation, he didn't even need a response from Miranda or I most of the time and often talked about irrelevant people and goes the long way round to a point.

Anyway we eventually got to Watsons Bay and had a lovely lunch at Doyles, sitting in the sun and drinking punch. Of course with more stories from Ed for entertainment! At one point I could tell Miranda had switched off and was planning her outfits for her trip with James or what to wear that evening, and I was right!! Ed dropped us at Bondi, by which time the sun had gone in so we sat in a coffee shop, with a double shot to wake us up and had a giggle about the afternoon.

It was a great little coffee/bar, bikini cafe and had wifi so I caught up on blogs and messages while Miranda phones James and her family. We then went on to wine and couldn't decide so the barman brought samples over which were pretty much glasses! We had a rose and then did the same with tasters of red and had another glass. The staff were really friendly and gave us recommendations in where to go next.

We went to Canteen on the beach front where a live band were playing, had some white sangria, tequila shots and more white wine. We chatted to a few people, Miranda met her boss's Aussie twin! I met an Aussie guy from Bondi who was cute but turned out to be a bit weird and after playing pool Miranda had a klepto moment and took $2 off the table, probably a good time to leave!

We couldn't find anywhere else that was busy so asked a couple of English guys who were heading back in the city for suggestions, they said Bondi was dead at that time and the city would be a better shout. We jumped in a taxi with them and they paid the fare which saved us $30 and then jumped in another taxi to darling harbour which was also quiet, so had a little wander and then headed back to eds as were a bit tipsy and made toasties.

Another funny day!

Love Nikki xXx