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Monday, November 30, 2009

30 Nov 2009 - Returning home from Melbourne

Our airport bus pickup was at 1pm from our hotel. So we still have sometime in the morning to have breakfast at a nearby Mcdonalds.

The entire Melbourne trip was pretty enjoyable. And what was most important is that we all had spent our times together throughout the trip which had greatly strengthen the bonding between us.

The flight back from Melbourne to Singapore was pretty smooth, although I was not feeling too well when we touched down. By the time we reached home, it was about 11pm. It's great to be home as well! Home Sweet Home!

29 Nov 2009 - Day 7 (Part 3): It's night party time

From Lygon street, we slowly walked down to russell street. As it's going to be the last night in Melbourne, we decided to have a party in our hotel room. We went over to Woolworth and Coles and bought quite a number of tidbits, drinks, poppers etc. At about 9pm, we walked back to our hotel and let the party began!

Both my little angels enjoyed the party very much and what a great way to end our Melbourne trip. After they slept, it's time for us to pack our luggage.

29 Nov 2009 - Day 7 (Part 2): Lygon Street, Melbourne's Little Italy

We departed from Shrine of Remembrance and headed towards Lygon Street. On our way, we passed by Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and the National Sports Museum.

Melbourne is very supportive of sports and it actually hosts quite a number of World class tournament including the Australian Open (Grand Slam Tennis). Also, within Melbourne, there are 3 retractable stadiums and there are only about 8 such stadiums in the world.

Lygon street is two stops away from MCG. The moment we alighted the bus, right in front of us is a shop that sells Gelato. Without much consideration, we went in straight and ordered a cup of 4 scoops. It tasted great and we all enjoyed it.

Lygon street in Carlton is the historic heartland of Melbourne's Italian community. Italian restaurants spill on to the footpaths with pasta to savour and cake to devour.
As we walked down the street, we can smell the wonderful coffee and pizza coming from the cafe. If we had more time, we will definitely explore more of Lygon street.

29 Nov 2009 - Day 7 (Part 1): Shrine of Remembrance

Time flies and today is our last full day in Melbourne. So early in the morning, we went over to Queen Victoria Market to buy all our souvenirs for family and friends. As we had quite a few bags of stuff, we decided to put them back in our hotel room before heading out for the day.

Our plan for today was to take the free tourist bus again and alight whenever we feel like it. First we alighted at the Shrine of Remembrance, which is within Melbourne Royal Botanical Garden. Initially, I thought the shrine is just a small landmark but to my surprise, it is a huge structure.

Shrine of remembrance is one of Melbourne's most recognisable landmarks. It is Victoria's memorial to the service and sacrifice of men and women in times of conflict. At that time, both Jerlene and Javier were asleep. So I walked into the shrine myself. It's quite impossible for us to carry the two strollers up the steps.

The interior of the shrine consists of many parts, which includes a hall, a crypt and a balcony. As Tracy and my two little sleeping angels were out in the sun, I quickly took a few photos and went back out.

Actually there are a lot more places to see within the botanical garden, which is considered one of the best in the world, but we are short of time. So we went back to the shuttle stop and went for our next destination, Lygon street.

28 Nov 2009 - Day 6 (Part 2): Our hotel in Melbourne

After we alighted the city circle tram, we quickly went under shelter as it was raining. We had our dinner at a nearby Nandos where the flame grilled chicken was great. Everyone was satisfied with the day outing.

After dinner, we went into Melbourne Central Mall which is just across the road. The moment we stepped in, it started raining again. Since we were trapped in this building, we found a place to sit down and wait for the rain to stop. There was a huge clock in the mall and the ceiling was very beautiful.

After waited for about 20mins, the rain stopped. So we proceed to walk back to our hotel. It was very cold after a whole day of wet weather. Once we stepped into our hotel, we finally got some warmth. Btw, here are some photos of our hotel in case anyone is interested. The room consists of a double and a single bed, with a LCD TV.

The room rates are economical but it only comes with all the basic items. Internet access, safe deposit (just to name a few) are all chargeable separately.

28 Nov 2009 - Day 6 (Part 1): Docklands, Melbourne's latest residential and recreational precincts

After the disappointing shopping trip to Chadstone yesterday, we decided to give another try for Docklands, which is currently the latest residential and recreational precincts in Melbourne. It's also well known for its shopping and more importantly, we heard that there are many retail outlet shops in that area.

We took the free Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle from Queen Victoria Market stop. Docklands is just one stop away. It was raining while we were on the bus but stopped when we reached Docklands. However, the weather still did not look good and will start raining again anytime.

Melbourne Docklands is a unique waterfront development in the heart of Melbourne, located on the spectacular Victoria Harbour and three kilometres of Yarra River frontage. It is divided into precincts, each with its own distinct character and mix of residential, retail and commercial activities. The shuttle bus dropped us off at Harbour Town Shopping Centre. Unlike Chadstone where the shops are inside a huge building, Harbour Town allows us to enjoy the open air space laneways. As it was about noon, we decided to have our lunch along the whole stretch of restaurants..

As I've mentioned, there were quite a number of factory outlet type of shops here and the price was more attractive. Other than shopping, Docklands has a hosts of other activities. There is a wonderland for the kids. A huge ferris wheel (similar to Singapore Flyer) that is under construction. Icehouse that will be opened in 2010.

A huge Costco warehouse store where members enjoy substantial discount for all sort of items. And a beautiful waterfront where you can see many yachts docking by the side and whole stretch of restaurant and cafe. Looking across the water we can see Etihad Stadium. The atmosphere was very good, especially when the weather was cool at that time.

As we missed the last tourist shuttle bus back to the city, we have no choice but to take the city circle tram, which is also free (below). It was pretty tough to get up the tram with two strollers but we just have to push through. Although getting up was tough, getting down was worse because the tram was very packed and the doors were blocked. To make things worse, it was raining when we were alighting. No matter how, we still did it.........

Overall, I think Docklands is worth visiting if you are in Melbourne the next time.

27 Nov 2009 - Day 5 (Part 2): Myer Christmas Windows

You may be wondering what do I mean by Myer Christmas Windows. Each year the Christmas windows artisans are charged with the task of creating a wonderland of excitement for children of all ages to enjoy. The theme for the windows is carefully selected from books, nursery rhymes, the theatre and ballet, and film. Some years, a special theme is developed specifically for the windows. Once selected, the theme is a tightly held secret that generates enormous interest amongst the public and the media alike. So there will be no hints...

More than one million visitors enjoy strolling along the Bourke Street mall to see the new theme every year. And this year (2009), the theme is "Olivia helps with Christmas", a picture book by Ian Falconer.

It wouldn’t be Christmas in Melbourne without the Myer Christmas windows display. After going through the windows, we walked down to Chinatown area.

There was a Target central mall round the corner and we went in to take a look. Again we were stucked at the toys department for quite sometimes.
On our way back to hotel along Swanston Street, it was still packed with people although it's about 11pm. We passed by some pubs and they were all full house.