Like many cities around the world, Melbourne all but shuts down for Christmas. So we took it easy, relatively for us, playing in the lovely Queens Park near our housesit in Mooney Ponds. We drove down Flemington Road to the wonderful Royal Park, the largest inner city park in Melbourne, which has a fantastic outdoor playground. Dad arranged a visit to the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the most hallowed sports stadium in the country, and with some great timing, tickets to the first day of the Boxing Day test match between Australia and England. Known as the Ashes, it's one of the greatest rivalries in sport, although five days is a long time for a sport match, especially when there's a good chance nobody might even win it. Dad took along Raquel, who loved the tram ride, the train ride, the walk through Yarra Park and finally the stadium itself, and then exactly four minutes after sitting down, said: "this is boring, I want to go. " Fortunately, Cricket Australia had set-up a kids cricket activity playground outside, and with in-and-out stadium passes (can't do that in Canada!) we popped out for Raquel to play with bats and balls. Fortunately, we were back inside seated when the most exciting moment of the day, if not the series, took place. An Australian batsman was caught out on 99 runs, but the delivery was ruled a no-ball, and he was allowed to continue and score a century. North Americans will have no idea what that means, but the stadium erupted several times in a few short minutes, the MCG lived up to its reputation, and Raquel had to cover her ears because the roar of the crowd was too loud.
Mom and Dad took advantage of a lovely local babysitter and visited a memorable African-inspired restaurant called Pole Pole. If the menu of what they ate doesn't make you salivate, we'll eat a crocodile rib! Upstairs, we even managed to enjoy a cheeky cocktail at Glamp. A rare, and deeply appreciated night off. Back home, Dad fried up some Haloumi cheese, which cost a lot less in Australia than it does back home, and prepared a pesto pasta.
Pole Pole and Glamp Cocktail Bar [caption id="attachment_4665" align="aligncenter" width="500"] What we ate at Pole Pole. Outrageously delicious![/caption]
My Favourite Pictures Today
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This week we're staying in a friend of a friend's house in Moonee Ponds, a suburb northwest of the CBD and famous for its nearby racecourse. Melbourne's four-seasons-in-a-day weather is living up to its reputation, especially in an old house which gets cool and hot and windy and anywhere in between. Dad was watering the lovely garden and a flock of parrots landed in a tree. Another thing you don't see back home in Canada!
Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world, but Aussie Rules Football is even more popular than cricket in Australia (and especially in Melbourne). We learned that you don't have to pay for parking at certain spots on Christmas Day, and that trains, trams and buses in Victoria are free on Christmas Day. We learned that Melbourne truly does have four seasons in a day. We learned that Australia is crazy about their sport, and Melbourne is the capital of sports in Australia. We learned that the Myki transit card has a grace period which lets you travel even if you've run out of money. We learned that young kids don't last long at five day cricket matches (although that doesn't stop parents from bringing them).
Reflection of the Day
Watching Raquel catch a cricket ball for the first time (after several efforts) and beaming with pride. For Dad, it was watching a classic moment at the MCG. For Mom, it was playing outside in the garden with the hose pipe, bubbles and squirt guns. For Gali, it was devouring his own kid-sized olive pizza at a local bakery for lunch.
Gali catching his fingers in the drawer (he's learning daily where and where not to stick his fingers). Raquel not sure if she needed a number two, which involved going through security and walking through a thick crowd three times until it was established, successfully, that she did.
We'll Always Remember
- Name: Megan
- : Melbourne
- : of People and Landscape.
- : Believe in yourself and be courageous.
- Name: Ray
- : The City of Melbourne, particularly the MCC, followed closely by Anglesea Beach.
- : Once I got the bug, I was able to show my wife the world.
- : Be easy to love. And drink beer, not spirits.
Hard to believe that due to the holiday season, this week is probably the slowest of our six month Australian journey. We've had a couple of rough sleepless nights with Gali, who is teething or growth spurting or whatever the hell-ing is keeping him up at night. We're staying in a great house with lots of games and books and art and things little hands and fingers shouldn't go anywhere near. It's keeping us on our toes, especially with the "A-layo" as he calls himself. Staying in a house in the suburbs has brought us a sense of normalcy, short-lived as it is.