Friday, September 29, 2006

AFL Grand Final Parade

Tomorrow is the AFL Grand Final match between the West Coast Eagles and Sydney Swans. Melbourne has been inundated by interstate fans of both teams and as is the tradition, today was the Grand Final parade through downtown Melbourne. Since the parade finished around the corner from my building, Adam and I decided to watch the speeches in front of Old Treasury Building before heading to grab lunch. There was a big turnout- around 50,000 people along the whole parade route. The players greeted the crowd and at the end a player from each team held up the trophy they will all be playing for tomorrow at the MCG. I really don't care who wins, as long as it's a good game.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Fun with Cake

Here is Katie celebrating her 1st birthday in June. Very cute!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

St. Kilda

Today is my parents last day in Melbourne, so I decided to take them out to St. Kilda Beach. We started at the Esplanade Market and looked at all the arts and crafts for sale. There was actually some decent stuff there and it wasn't too expensive. I may have to head back in the future to get some art for my walls. We also passed by the great music venues on the street- the Espy, Palace and Palais Theatre. Luna Park was hopping with screaming children on the roller coasters. It definitely has that Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk feel to it. Plus the entrance is always amusing to look at.

After working up an appetite looking at all the cake shop windows on Acland Street, we decided to eat at the Stokehouse. It was a good and filling lunch, although I don't remember it being that noisy in there (could be because we were downstairs). Next we walked along the beach and headed towards the pier. There were some great views of the city skyline and the sun was finally shining. We walked to the end of the pier to see the St Kilda Pier Kiosk, which has been completely restored after burning down in 2003. Since it was windy and the clouds had started moving back in, we decided to head for home.

It has been so nice to have my parents here with me this past week. Tomorrow they head off to Canberra, and then on Wednesday they will be in Sydney for four days until they head back to the States on September 17th.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Meet the Tourists

My parents have been keeping themselves busy the past few days by exploring the city. On Tuesday they participated in the Foodies Tour at the Queen Victoria Market. The two hour tour included samples from the booths in the meat and fish hall, fruit and vegetables aisles, and dairy hall. My dad was blown away by the wide selection of items available and wished he had a market like that back home. After the tour they walked through the rest of the stalls, which sell clothes and touristy items.

On Wednesday it was off to the Yarra Valley for a winery tour by the Australian Wine Tour Company. They visited four wineries- Yerling Station, Rochford Wines, St Hubert's, and Domain Chandon. Unfortunately, it was a rainy day, so they didn't get to wander around outside too much. When they returned to the city they came and met me at work, and then we headed off to Brunswick Street for dinner. I decided to take them to The Fitz Cafe, since they weren't too hungry after their day of wine and cheese.

On Thursday, my parents went up to the Melbourne Observation Deck on the 55th floor of the Rialto Tower to get a 360 degree view of Melbourne. They really enjoyed it because it gave them a feel for how big Melbourne is and what the city looks like. After that they headed to the Melbourne Aquarium, and got there in time to catch the shark and sting ray feeding. My Dad's other mission of the day was to get a shirt for my brother from a Melbourne Fire Station. They went up the road to the local Brunswick station and got lucky- 1 shirt down, 2 more to go. That evening we had dinner at Michelle and Ruth's house along with Michelle's parents and sister. It was a fun evening, and Michelle's parents got some tips of what to visit when they are in San Francisco in October.

Today they headed out on the Yarra River for a sightseeing cruise with Melbourne River Cruises. They went past the Arts Centre, Royal Botanical Gardens, and Melbourne Olympic Park. After the cruise they explored the stores and wandered through Myer and Melbourne Central.

The weather is not looking too good for tomorrow, so it may just be a relaxing day in front of the tv watching the footy. On Sunday I plan to take them to St. Kilda.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Touring Melbourne with My Parents

On Sunday my parents arrived in town from San Francisco. They survived the long flight in one piece and it was great to see them outside my front door. After they had a shower we headed out into the city. My parents experienced the same weird sensations I did when I first arrived in Australia about the traffic going the opposite direction. We got on the tram and headed to Flinders Street and then got on the free City Circle Tram so that I could orient them to the city grid and different things to see. After completing the loop we headed back for my place since they were getting tired. I was impressed they stayed up as long as they did, although 7:30 pm is the earliest my Mom has ever gone to bed.

Today I took the day off work so that I could show them around Carlton. We started at Melbourne University and stopped in to say hello to Suzie and Rosemary in the Economics Office. Then we wandered around the campus, admiring the older architecture of the buildings in the center of campus. My parents really liked the atmosphere of Lygon Street, and we had lunch at Nyonya's Malaysian Restaurant. My Dad finally got to try the curry laksa that I have been raving about for years. After lunch we headed down to Medley Hall on Drummond Street, where I lived when I was studying here 10 years ago. It still looks the same as it always has.

Our next stop was the Carlton Gardens and Royal Exhibition Building. It was built for the Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880-1881. We had a great tour of the inside of the building, and our tour guide gave us lots of fun facts about the history of events that have taken place there. The hall is huge and full of intricate murals and stencils on the walls. It is painted in Federation colors and looks as it did in 1901 when it hosted the opening of the first Australian Federal Parliament. I was really glad we got to go inside and explore the building- it would be great to hold an event in there.

After our tour we went into the Melbourne Museum and looked at the two floors of Australian exhibits. There's lots of great stuff there, including Phar Lap, the champion racing horse from the Great Depression. We learned he actually died in Menlo Park, which is in the Bay Area. How's that for a strange connection? Before leaving my Mom got a few things at the gift shop, and then we traveled back to my place.

While I am working the rest of the week my parents are going to continue to explore the city on their own. Tomorrow they will be doing a Foodies Tour of the Queen Victoria Market, and then on Wednesday they have an all day wine tour in the Yarra Valley. I wish I could join them!
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