Anniversary's and Birthday's
Trip Start Feb 18, 2005
56Trip End May 20, 2006
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The 18th February was a double celebration here in Melbourne. As well as my years travelling anniversary, it was also my house mate Stefan's birthday (And my Grandad's). We decided to celebrate in typical Aussie fashion with a BBQ! In the morning Kat, Carly, Liam (Kat's new housemates now that the girls have gone) and I wandered over to the Prahan market. We wandered around the stalls drinking in the atmosphere and hunting for bargains. Prahan market is a very old established market and slightly smaller and more expensive than Queen victoria markets in the CBD. After this we wandered back through my old stomping ground of Windsor (Where Pint on Punt is) and had lunch at a pub recommended by Jim from DHS called the Duke of Wellington. It's tucked away and has the most spectacular courtyard - apparently on sundays they have live bands and are very popular with the locals.
After this we picked up Stef before wandering over to Coles (supermarket) to pick up a feast for the afternoon/evening. We started cooking about 6pm and Donna and Sarah joined us after work. About 7ish Sara Cullen, Alan, Nicola and two friends I'd met the previous evening turned up so I could repay their hospitality (unfortunately Stuart was working) and some of Stef's friends and a neighbor Cheryl joined us later. We spent the evening playing football, basketball and frisbee while chatting and celebrating
On wed 22nd I met up with friends from the Department of Human Services for some trivia. It takes place in a small bar on the Yarra, and as I was walking there it looked more like a deserted dock than an area for drinks! I grabbed a beer and sat chatting to James, Michelle and her fella Andy waiting for the quiz to begin and my brain to be taxed (haven't had to use it for 12 months now!!). The guy who runs it actually has his own quiz show on a local tv station and has all sorts of crazy rounds of which opera boy is my favourite. A guy sings a well known song in an opera style, ours was addicted to Bass, which I got! James is possibly the cleverest person I know - it's amazing how much random stuff he actually knows eg. for all you simpsons fans out there - what is principal skinners real name?
As many of you know Friday 24th was my birthday and we planned to go to Tasmania for the weekend. We were catching the last plane over so we would only have to miss 1 day of work (monday) and I didn't have a job so spent the time pottering around St Kilda, catching up with some mail and sunning myself on the beach (I've lost my tan and need to get it back before I head home to make you guys jealous!) before heading back for dinner and to catch the taxi to the airport. It's weird to think that i've spent my entire 23rd year away from British shores, the fact suddenly hit me
Stef, Donna, Sarah, Kat and myself went to Tas, we were trying to convince Liam and Carly to come to but they couldn't. We checked in and discovered our only piece of bad news for the trip. The plane was delayed by an hour - Oh well, we thought we'd find a pub and have a drink to pass the time. After frantic searching we found the closed pub and the shops were closing so we couldn't even buy a bottle - I wasn't the happiest bunny, especially as we'd heard rumours that Hobart closes early, even on saturdays. We arrived in Hobart and our taxi had collected another fair and was an hour away because of the delays. We couldn't get another 5 person cab and the shuttle bus didn't have space for 5 so we put the guys in the taxi and I caught the bus. It was 2am before I arrived in Hobart and the hostel was deserted except for Stef, he showed me to my room and then we headed out to find the girls as they'd gone to try and find somewhere to drink. We found a quaint little pub full of 14 year olds looking as though they were about to be sick and 40 year olds looking not much better! We were greeted by a young lad snogging an older lady but were desperate for a drink, we walked through the 'dance floor' to the other bar and got chatting to some locals while playing pool. The night completely recovered itself and a great time was had by all!
The next day we wandered down to the world famous Salamanca market in search of breakfast. The market was brilliant with all sorts of odds and ends available and the girls picked up some jewelry. A young girl grabbed my hand and said 'daddy daddy there's witches over there', I'm not sure who was more scared me or her finding out I wasn't her dad; I nearly leapfrogged over a stall! We met a lovely fella selling pepper mills and got a brilliant photo - he wasn't as grumpy as he looks, honest
After this we wandered down to the docks and had a beer on the picturesque waterfront before heading to the tourist information centre to try and hire a car for the next couple of days. It was here I had a phone call from Yoshi, he's been fruit picking in a remote area and just checked his mail. We met up and had a chat for an hour but unfortunately he had to head back to his farm - but not before giving us some top tips of things to do. We were walking back to the hostel along the main street when Stef decided that it really reminded him of Milton Keynes! I looked around, saw the overcast sky, pedestrianised street, dirty shop fronts and dodgy architecture, for some reason I thought of Swindon (Sorry Sore). We planned to go to the Cascade brewery, but it is only open mon-fri such as shame!
The next day we were up early and off to Port Arthur, the historic gaol site built by convict labour. We stopped off on the way for some beautiful views and luckily the early cloud began to clear. Port Arthur was $25 to enter to we decided it was a little expensive, we still got some photos and were playing with my birthday present - A vortex (so much fun), it's a mini rugby ball with a fin on the end which makes a whistling noise when you throw it. We went to the remarkable cave and had lunch on White beach, we had the beach to ourselves in the glorious sunshine and spent the next couple of hours messing around in the water and on land - it really reminded me of Fiji. On the way back we stopped off at an olde English pub called the fox and hounds (Made me think of you J) before heading back to Hobart. When we arrived back we sat down to watch Blue crush, a film about free diving that I really related to; however everyone spent most of the time taking the piss and 'funny bit' boy got his name as he was the only one to see the film before and kept saying this next bits really funny (for some reason it never was!)
Monday was my favourite day, we went on a walk to the top of Mount Wellington. We drove to the springs (about half way up) and then took 2 hours to reach the summit. It was a stunning walk with spectacular views of Hobart and the surrounding area, the weather was perfect a blue sky but not too hot. We arrived at the top and realised that we could've driven all the way, but felt a lot better for the exercise. At the moment I'm reading Tommo and Hawk, the second book in the Potato Factory trilogy by Bryce Courtney (a fantastic author, I suggest you read some of his work) which is partly set around Hobart Town and Mount Wellington - it was weird to be standing on a place where the author describes so accurately.
We planned to visit the Cadburys factory, but you needed to book a tour and we were flying out in a few hours so just ran out of time! We went instead to the botanical gardens for a picnic and to chill out for an hour before heading to the airport and flying back to Melbourne. All in all, a fantastic weekend, many thanks to the guys for coming with me and making it a birthday weekend to remember. It has inspired me to travel again, i'm itching to get the backpack on and begin the next and homeward leg of my journey.........