Posts Tagged ‘melbourne’

Reasons to visit Melbourne: great food, trams, and your own bathroom

October 1, 2012

The children are enjoying being in Melbourne this week.  They are very enamoured of the trams, and Fainjin is particularly keen to ride on an “extra-long one that is blue”.  He must have seen one go past and decided it looks especially sleek.

We went out for dinner last night, or rather stayed out as we had been out most of the day.  When I suggested we feed the children in town before going home, The Dad started looking at fast-food sort of places, but I cried foul.  Melbourne is known as a foodie city, and I wanted real food, a bit of an adventure – nothing that would challenge the kids toooo much, but something a little out of the ordinary.  Pearl readily agreed to the idea of Chinese food, as she had enjoyed going to a yum cha with friends in Canberra last week.  Fainjin was more reluctant – no surprise there – but he will and does eat plain rice, and in the end he was quite happy.  We found a likely-looking place in Chinatown, but they had no table available, so we wandered a little further and found another one.  It was very child-friendly, and had lots of Chinese people eating in it (always a good sign).  It also had a window from outside into the kitchen, so the kids could watch wide-eyed as the chefs prepared meals.  The chefs smiled and waved at them – another encouraging sign.

The Dad and I shared a spicy duck dish, while the kids stuck to fairly plain fare of rice and pork dumplings, but everyone was happy.  Dessert was very large bowls of chocolate ice-cream for the children (none of them could finish it!), and The Dad and I shared a bowl of mango ice-cream and a plate of glutinous black rice in coconut jelly – absolutely delicious!

This morning Fainjin noticed that the master bedroom in our apartment has an ensuite bathroom, and exclaimed in disgusted envy, “Babess!  They have their own bathroom!  Again!”

Babess came running to look, and tsked in sympathy with him.  “We should come to Melbourne by ourselves, when I’m a Mummy and you’re a Daddy,” she said, “without Kate and [The Dad].”  “Or Pearl,” agreed Fainjin.  The Dad and I were heartily amused that this would be their motivation to return!

Today we spent most of the day at Melbourne Museum, mostly looking at dinosaur skeletons and playing in the playground.  It’s a great museum, but the biggest attractions for the kids were the set of oversized Lego blocks in the play area and the colouring-in activity in the upper gallery.  That was fine, it gave us time to catch up with the friends who were accompanying us.

Afterwards, they played in the gravel courtyard outside, bringing us “crystals!” (bits of quartz) with great excitement and staging running races for which they devised their own handicap system to accommodate the different ages and sizes of the several children present.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.


His favourite place

March 23, 2011

Fainjin grabbed our map book this evening as we got into the car.  “Where are we, Mummy, where are we?”

I pointed out on the map where we were, and he was thrilled.  While we drove home, he leafed through the book and claimed to have found playgrounds and “this is where we went to soccer when I was a baby” and other landmarks.

Then he asked, “Where’s Melbourne on this map, Mum?”

“Melbourne isn’t on that map, Fainjin.  Melbourne’s in Australia and we live in New Zealand.”

“Yes it is.”  His tone brooked no argument, and he proceeded to look for Melbourne.  “Here!  This is Melbourne Mum!  I found Melbourne!”

He was pointing to a local suburb.  “How can you tell it’s Melbourne?” I was curious.  Perhaps he had seen an “M” and knew that was the first letter?

He regarded the map dubiously.  “I don’t know…”  Then he turned a few more pages and decided that another map was Melbourne instead.  He claimed to have located the dragon playground and told me that Heidi lives in a story tree near there.

He’s so sweet!

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Melbourne highlights

January 4, 2011

Oh, there were so many.  We had three days of perfect weather, and one day of being in a blast furnace (40 degrees Centigrade, dry, and windy, like standing in front of a fan heater all day).

We had a lovely apartment in Docklands, with great views from our bedroom of the marina, and from the living area of the tram stop:

Trams! Free entertainment every 10 min!

The free city tram stopped right outside our door, it was great.

The kids – especially Babess – loved the clock in Melbourne Central, which plays Waltzing Matilda and comes to life on the hour.  We managed to see it in action twice.

Babess' "Big Clock" in Melbourne Central shopping mall

You can’t go to Melbourne without having coffee and cake at Brunetti’s. Or at least, The Dad can’t.  We stopped at the central city cafe, although The Dad was skeptical whether it would live up to the one in Faraday St, Carlton (it did).

Coffee, cannoli and The Age - quintessential Melbourne

Each day as we moved through the city, Pearl would point out the horse-drawn carriages, and wistfully wonder whether she would ever get to ride in one.  So on our last day, we selected one fit for a princess.  Or two princesses and a prince and their parents…

All her dreams come true

Pete & Ernie did the honours

Then of course, there was the bloggy meet-up with Marita, already mentioned.  We also had a glorious lunch with friends: sausages, kangaroo and chicken on the barbecue, beautiful fresh salads, home-made lemon cordial, and the most fabulous raspberry meringue sponge cake.  Mmmmmm.  And with friends, wonderful friends who had the perfect toy-box for the kids and were so easy to spend time with even though we only see each other every few years (as well as obviously being outstanding cooks!).

Not to forget the ice-skating.

All these things more than made up for the tired, whiny, tantrums and sheer naughtiness we were sometimes witness to and targets of.  And that’s as it should be, because the memories of the tantrums etc will fade, but the looks on the kids’ faces as they climbed into that “royal” carriage will live on in my mind.

On the other hand, the horror of Babess suddenly darting under the crowd-control tapes at Melbourne Airport and nearly ending up going as luggage to who-knows-where as she tried to climb on a check-in conveyor belt will take a while to fade…  but I’ll be ready next time she makes a break for it!

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

My first bloggy meet-up

January 3, 2011

I write this blog for the benefit of far-flung family, so that they can feel they somehow “know” their grandchildren, nieces, nephew, and cousins.  It’s also aimed at our many scattered friends, and to some extent saves me writing lots of catch-up emails through the year.

But more and more I find that I have joined a community of bloggers.  We read each other’s blogs, leave comments, and form friendships, although we have never met and might never do so.

While we were in Melbourne I had the great privilege of meeting one such friend, Marita (@leechbabe) from Stuff With Thing.  We arranged to meet in a central-city playground, which was the perfect setting.  Our kids were itching for a run outside after a week in rainy Queensland, her girls love that playground, the weather was gorgeous, and Marita and I could natter away while the children occupied each other.

Happy kids and sunshine

Having arrived in Melbourne just the night before, we were ill-prepared in terms of snacks, but fortunately for us Marita had packed a wonderful picnic for everyone, an act of foresight and intelligence as well as generosity that had me regarding her with awe.

Her girls played beautifully with our kids, sharing a fabulous baby doll with an enchanted and envious Babess, and showing Pearl and Fainjin the best trees to climb and places to hide from parents when it’s time to leave.

Thanks, Marita, for everything – including the fact that I now have one more reason to visit Melbourne again!

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

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