Location:Melbourne and Mornington Peninsula
We started the day with a hour drive in our shiny and spacious Ford Everest to Ashcombe Maze and Lavender Gardens. Robin had to use the handy lane assist feature because he's still adjusting to driving on the other side of the road. We took our first picture of a kangaroo road sign, which became tired by the end of the hour. We didn't see any kangaroos though. At Ashcombe Maze, which calls itself the oldest and most famous hedge maze in Australia, we encountered big spiders, hunted hidden Gnomes, banged on some fun wind chimes and messed about in a Fairy garden. The kids enjoyed running around and stretching their legs, although Raquel made short work of the hedge maze. Fields of lavender permeated the fragrant air. Watching Raquel jump with excitement when she spotted her first Fairy statue was a highlight of the visit. She proceeded to have a long conversation with another fairy statue, because only she could hear the fairy, who told Raquel that she was lost. After lunch we headed to Peninsula Hot Springs. Mom got a fantastic (and well deserved) vine massage with Cat. Dad hung back with the kids in the different family friendly pools. Brownie points for Dad! The Spa is charming and tranquil. The staff seems happy and eager to help. 10 out of 10 for Michelle, Mom's masseuse. Although it was a scorcher of a day (over 35C) the kids loved being in the shallow pools, and goofing about with Dad under shade of a much appreciated tarp. Dad says Peninsula Hot Springs is among the best designed spas he's ever seen.
Mom had a veggie quiche at Ashcombe Cafe. The kids? Ice cream for lunch, because Mom was too tired to argue about vegetables Of course, the kids were staving a few hours after their ice cream, so we gave them some delicious cheese and hummus sandwiches. Dinner back at the hotel was a simple but homely pesto pasta. Dad says the pasta was as good as any fancy Italian restaurant. Nah...Mom disagrees.
My Favourite Pictures Today
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Oaks Southbank: Today we parked the car using the hotel's car elevator. We've never driven a car into an elevator before, much less gone up 7 stories and parked. It was pretty cool, and also pretty nerve-racking. The Everest is just under the 5-metre limit, and it seemed like a big car to drive into a little box supported by cables!
That going on a Maze, at noon, at 35 Celsius can be a bit too ambitions for a 4 year old. Good thing Dad found the way out pretty quickly We also learned that Dad will complain about the low speed limit the whole time he is driving ("look at all these Australian drivers obeying the speed limit, what is this, civilizations!") and that Raquel would rather get dropped off on the side of a freeway and walk home to Melbourne than spend one more minute in the car. We learned that you don't have to drive far out of Melbourne to find beautiful countryside. We learned that Australian flies don't listen to you when you "shoo" them away.
Reflection of the Day
Soaking in Peninsula Hot Springs.
Enduring the kids having a too-tired tantrum on the drive back to Melbourne.
Wearing UV-protective rashies (thanks Rip Curl!) is a lot easier and more effective than applying and reapplying sunscreen all day. Raquel absolutely adores Gali, and Gali adores Raquel, and yet sibling rivalry is manifesting in various ways: pleas for attention, regression into old habits, development of bad new ones. Gali is so cute it's impossible not to dote on him, much to the chagrin and unnerving observation skills of his older sister. It's not difficult to see why she feels we are always loving him, and nagging her. Raquel is a great communicator, when she wants to be, and we encourage her to tell us how she feels. We're making an extra special effort to make her feel included and important.