A year ago we visited Melbourne and the Yarra River Valley; we had so much fun we knew we had to get back. ( If you haven't already, check out "Yarra Valley Travelogue" to see some amazing country and "G'Day from Melb'n" for city experiences.) We didn't get as much time this year, but we packed a lot into a few days. John and Peter worked during the week, so Pam and I played for a few days. We stayed at the luxurious Langham Hotel. Above is the view from our room and below there are the 4 of us with the signature pink hotel car:
Melbourne is located on the Yarra River; we stayed on the South Bank and got to cross this delightful bridge each day. It is decked out for the holidays with a gigantic bunch of mistletoe and hearts
and is the local spot for showing your love with a padlock on the bridge
And wonderful buskers all over town
It is the Southern Hemisphere, so December should be quite warm...but it was a bit nippy. In the photos you will see folks dressed like eskimoes and like beach bums.
And speaking of dressing up... we found Federation Square was filled with Santas one day:
And a Peppermint Candy Cane:
And my camera didn't work quite quick enough to get a good shot, but I hope you can see the Storm Troopers who were crossing the street nonchalantly...
And I don't know what she was meant to be:
The Botanic Gardens are gorgeous - I am just going to put up some of the photos of amazing trees:
And an Australian take on Santa and his sleigh at the gift shop:
One of the highlights of the trip was going to see the new musical "King Kong." They took special effects to a new high. This show HAS to get to Broadway:
One of the alleyways near the center of downtown is designated for graffiti. Here is a taste:
In the Fitzroy neighborhood, a "transitional" area with lots to see:
We learned that Melbourne has the largest Greek population outside of Greece...and restaurants to prove it! We had a wonderful meal at Jim's Tavern in Fitzroy...no menus, BYOB, and no empty seats all night long!
On Saturday we did some walking in the Dandenong region; gigantic trees, tree-sized ferns, waterfalls, and birds, birds, birds.
Back in the city for one more day, John and I went to Mass at St. Peter's Cathedral, then walked around a while and returned that night for Christmas Lessons and Carols.
We stopped for lunch at the Festive Foodie Market at Federation Square, where we watched ourselves on the jumbotron screen and sunned ourselves in the complimentary beach chairs:
Some parting scenes:
This one is for our Singaporean friends:
And on the flight back...Singapore Airlines dressed up for the season:
Next up - Christmas in Hawaii!!