“Mellbin”

That’s what it sounds like when an Australian person says “Melbourne,” and now of course that’s how I feel I must say it. (Sigh…) Australia. It’s still hard to believe I was actually there. While I don’t have a bucket list per se, going to Australia is one of those things that people always have a tendency to say they are going to do some day before they die, and I was absolutely one of those people. Check!

The city itself was spectacular. If you were take the big city feel of New York, the cool public transportation and “pretty city” feel of San Francisco, the cafés of France, and the trendy folk of London, then you would have Melbourne–or something very close to it. The people were nice, the city was clean, the beaches were beautiful, the food was excellent, the wine and beer were tasty, the shopping was fun and eclectic…I could go on and on. The only “bad” thing about the trip was that I never fully adjusted to the time change, which really messed with my head sometimes, but flying for 20 hours and passing through 4 times zones can do that to a person. Still, I kept my dizziness in check with oodles of walking, eating, drinking, and window shopping (oh, alright…and a little actual shopping).

I did experience and learn some things about Melburnians that I thought were interesting and notable:

  • They love to smoke. It was crazy to me how many young people were smoking!
  • They love cafés and bakeries, which was fine by me as I also love cafés and bakeries and am often wondering why we don’t have more of them around my house.
  • There was no Foster’s beer–anywhere. I think it’s an American lie.
  • They have an affinity for 7-Elevens.
  • I never saw one pick-up truck, but they certainly seem to like the style of the El Camino.
  • They make amazing bread! (See point number 2.) Even the bread in our hotel was ridiculously tasty, which was lucky for me because I love toast (I’m a butter AND jam kinda girl).
  • I don’t think there is such a thing as dessert pie; their pie is a savory meal-on-the-go (like an old-timey pasty).
  • They take latte-making very seriously. Every latte I drank was strong, frothy, and beautifully crafted.
  • Melbourne is great for vintage shopping.

One of the really great opportunities Mark and I had while we were there was to go running in their lovely parks. We Googled the best places to run, and the “Tan Track” along the Yarra River came up as “THE place to run in Melbourne.” Naturally we had to check it out, and they (whoever “they” are) were right. The crunchy, wide, tan path ran along the river and then around a large park and botanical garden. It was lovely, and I made sure to log it on my Nike GPS watch so that I could watch my run overseas once I returned home. Yes, I realize how dorky that is, and I embrace it.

While it will most likely be a very long time before I return to Australia, if ever, this trip will certainly be remembered as one of the greatest vacations/experiences of my life, and I feel so very lucky to have shared this amazing adventure with Mark.

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