Melbourne {Easter Bank Holiday Weekend}

What a nice feeling it was, coming home on Thursday, knowing I wouldn’t have to be back in work until the following Tuesday. I really don’t know how I usually do a 5 day week. I was well and truly done by Thursday evening and ready for a nice restful weekend.

Well nice it was. Restful, not so much. We were busy bees and had planned a none-stop trip to Melbourne leaving the Friday night and returning on Monday evening. But before all that, we managed to squeeze in a trip to Sydney’s Taronga zoo on the Friday {post & photos up soon}

With the weather so miserable in Sydney on the Friday, and a forecast of continual rain all weekend, we were feeling pleasantly smug at boarding a plane taking us away for the weekend. On arriving in Melbourne we headed straight to our YHA hostel which was situated right in the city centre, so perfect for hopping on a tram or walking into the centre to explore. The hostel was really nice, very modern and clean. We shared a 3 person dorm with an elderly lady, who apart from her frequent night time bathroom trips and early morning wake-up time, was a pleasant room mate.

Saturday – Day 1

The first day we allowed ourselves a leisurely lie-in, followed by a stroll down the next street to a cafe called The Grain Store, for brunch. This is by far my favourite breakfast of the weekend. Alice is such a perfect dining companion as we never question the fact that we will share our meals down the middle, eating half and then swapping to try the others. That morning we chose Passionfruit, Buckwheat & Ricotta Pancakes (delicious), and Toasted Granola Parfait (equally delicious). They were both so good and really made me want to try different flavours more often. As this is Australia and the coffee is so darn good, to accompany our food we both had coffee, Alice a Cappuccino and myself a Long Black (I’m working my way through the different types with the hope of finding my favourite, and I have to say I am a big fan of the simple Long Black). Plus an amazing smoothie with all kinds of healthy and wonderful ingredients: Home made Spirulina – pineapple, pear and mint juice (so so good!!)

Now I wish i’d taken a photograph of this place. The interiors were beautiful, all wood and low hanging brass lamps. Such a nice place to spend a leisurely morning with sister. For the remainder of the day we wandered up to Fitzroy, had a nosey through the hipster shops and drank cider in the sunshine. It was a perfect Autumn afternoon.

That evening we went to the famous ChinChin’s for dinner. It is one of the ‘must visit’ eateries in Melbourne and since Alice had been before and said how amazing the food was, it was a definite for ‘Alice’s Birthday Dinner’. After a panicked 30mins after we queued and were then told there were no tables left, we decided to linger at the bar and have a cocktail, whilst frequently pestering the wait staff for a table. Our persistence paid off and we finally got our name on the list and soon found ourselves perched at the bar with 4 amazing dishes in front of us. We went with the ‘Feed Me’ menu where they bring you random dishes to try. This proved to be really nice and encouraged us to try things that we might not have otherwise chosen. We had such a variety to choose from; soft shell crab, sticky beef, calamari, pork belly, and finally managing to squeeze in a desert of sweetcorn pudding. I can tell you this place is a must if you are visiting Melbourne, the food is amazing and the cocktails equally as good!

Now quite sure how we managed to walk after eating so much, but somehow we made our way to a little hidden bar a few streets away down one of the alleys. I did a little research prior to our trip, looking for places to go for after dinner drinks/birthday cocktails and this gem, Eau De Vie came up top in most of my searches. And if you look below you’ll see why! 11088231_10152890874209315_4707375383326990402_n

^^ Espresso Zabaione – ‘Wyborowa vodka, coffee and maple syrup are stirred down. Layered on top is a saffron & vanilla mousse which we freeze with liquid nitrogen to create a frozen cap. Crack through the cap and enjoy the goods’ ^^

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^^ The Espresso Zabaione ready to drink… eat?? And The Aviator- ‘House made rhubarb and juniper puree shaken up with Beefeater gin and fresh lemon juice. Simple sophistication. Served with a paper plane on a cloud as garnish’ ^^

They were honestly the best cocktails I had ever tasted and such a fun bar and experience. From the barman man who greeted us with a shake of the hand and introduced himself by name, to the soft jazz music playing in the background, the whole evening is more of an experience than just a place to go for drinks. We were gutted to find that they also have a bar in Sydney, if only we were staying here longer!!

Sunday – St Kilda

On Sunday we caught a tram straight out to St Kilda for breakfast followed by a stroll along the sea front to the Brighton Beach Huts.

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^^ This was one of my favourites ^^DSC_0008 DSC_0007 DSC_0013 DSC_0010 - Copy^^ They’re so pretty and really make me want to visit our own Brighton back in England ^^

That evening we stayed around St Kilda to witness the ‘Penguin Parade’. Around sunset every night, a colony of Little Penguins (Eudyptula minor), make their way back from a days fishing out at sea, into their home in the rocks on St Kilda’s pier. We went at dusk and after waiting around with the other 50 tourists, we gradually started to see a few heads bobbing in the water before quickly disappearing into the rocks to a noisily awaited chick. We managed to escape the crowds, who at any sighting of grey fur swarmed at the spot blocking the view, and went up on to the top of the breakwater and were lucky enough to spot a few coming up and over the rocks right in front of us.

DSC_0039 - Copy^^ Baby penguin waiting for its mama ^^

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^^ Here they come! ^^DSC_0044

^^ St Kilda Harbour ^^DSC_0048 - Copy

^^ Penguin Paparazzi ^^

Monday – Day 3 & Alice’s Birthday

We started the day with breakfast (of course). We tried to get into the Manchester Press cafe as we had heard good things about their food, but unfortunately it was closed. So we decided to try The Hardware Societe as Alice had been previously and again it had great reviews. Now I wouldn’t say I didn’t enjoy breakfast, as it was Alice’s birthday and I hope she enjoyed opening her presents and having a leisurely brunch. However I wasn’t overly impressed with the food which was a shame. But like I said, we enjoyed our breakfast together so that’s the important thing!

After breakfast we had decided that due to the weather being a little cooler that day and that we had pretty much ticked off all our sightseeing the previous days, that we would have a tourist day and go to The Old Melbourne Gaol.

Nothing beats a good museum day, especially with some interesting history thrown in the mix. We learnt all about the Ned Kelly trial, were ‘arrested’ by a sergeant, locked up in a cell, and posed for our mug shot.

DSC_0074 DSC_0075^^ Not sure the smirking helped us pass as hardened criminals ^^

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Standing in those tiny cells, where so many prisoners lived in the ‘olden days’, it is hard to believe it was a working prison just 86 years ago.

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And then it was home time and back to reality and work. It was so nice to get away for a long weekend, I sure do love bank holidays!

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