Melbourne Australia

View from my rental apartment

I have arrived in Melbourne Australia – a city I am really digging. The temperature is perfect and the vibe reminds me of a low-rise New York city. I think I could possibly live here some day.

I arrive at the airport and take the skybus to Southern Cross station. I take an uber from there to my airbnb.

Melbourne Airbnb

I plan to stay in Melbourne for a full week including Christmas so I wanted to get a hometown feel instead of staying in a hotel or hostel. I chose the funky neighborhood of Collingwood to stay in an Airbnb studio. The owner is an Australian artist now based out of the UK. Her specialty is imaginative collages. You can find her artwork at Collagism. Her artwork and interesting sense of style can be seen in the apartment.

I love having a “home” for the week. There are some poor neglected plants on the porch that I nurse the week I am there, giving me some sort of normalcy during my travels. Collingwood is a funky but sleepy neighborhood, I think it probably got hit by a recession in the area since it seems many places have closed nearby. There are still enough places in the neighborhood to keep me satisfied and it is nice to not stay in the middle of a tourist district. Collingwood is in walking distance to some town highlights and once I figure out the trams it isn’t hard to get to where all the important sites are.

I head out to meet with another travel buddy whom I met on my Jordan tour in September. Melbourne is her hometown and she has some spare time before the holidays to meet with me tonight. We met at a lively café on the river for a snack and and a cocktail. She has to work tomorrow so we don’t stay out late.

Once again I am very thankful once again I get to meet so many great people during my travels.

After walking my friend to the train I wander around town looking at holiday lights. The Christmas holiday is in two days so Melbourne is full of color.

When it is time to head back I couldn’t quite figure out tram in the evening so just took UBER back. Luckily by the next day I had it figured out.

I am loving the nighttime view from my apartment.

Christmas Eve

Today is Christmas Eve. If the holiday is anything like in the USA then most things will be shutdown tomorrow. I head to the grocery store to stock up on goodies for tomorrow – including Meredith Dairy Goat Feta which I am addicted to.

Coincidently a friend from high school is in Melbourne at the same time as I. She is stopping in Melbourne to meet some of her clients before she heads off to her honeymoon in Fiji. I meet up with her and her lovely husband for a day of fun. (Interestingly enough we both lived in NYC at the same time for about 4 years and for some reason we were never able to meet up. It took traveling to Australia to see each other again!)

We meet up for brunch. So many times I dine alone and most of the time I don’t mind being on my own but it is very nice to have company, especially around the holidays.

Then we head off to our river cruise down the Yarra River.

I almost wear this to my river cruise today. My apartment has fun props.
Cruise boat

We stand up in the back. There is clearance for us to stand under most bridges but at least one makes us duck down.

Our cruise drops us off at Williamstown where we explore a little bit. Williamstown is Melbourne’s first port settlement. There are stores and cafes. We settle on a outdoor seating area and chat for a while. When it is the scheduled time for our return trip we head back to the port to catch the return journey.

The fun isn’t over when we return to Melbourne city. We decide to try it out at a roof top bar for a little while. We don’t stay too long though. Each one of us seems to want to get back to our lodging for the rest of the evening (something typical for us 40 somethings). Besides it has been a long day!

This is the kind of joint we are at
Rooftop cocktails

Finally figured out the tram system and I wander back to my apartment just in time for this glorious sunset.

Tomorrow is Christmas and I have no plans. I plan to eat and relax all day long….

Thanksgiving 2014

Sorry this a delayed post but we hosted Thanksgiving at our house once again last year.
Our families live in separate cities (in the same state) and it just makes sense for us to host most of the time to bring the two families together.

Turkey is getting ready

Chestnuts

Mixed Green Salad

Shrimp and berries to hold us over until food is ready

Yams with marshmallows

Stuffing

Roasted butternut squash

Turnip Fries

Mashed Potatoes

Green bean casserole

 

Turkey

It was a nice and carbohydrate filled meal. I need a nap just from looking at the pictures. zzzzz…..

Christmas Morning

Our social calendar has been way booked up lately so when I discovered no one in the family made plans for Christmas day I was excited. I had dreams of sitting at home in my pajamas all day. We would eat while watching sappy Christmas movies all day (Most years we record a bunch of lifetime or hallmark movies but this year we had a good share of Ion channel movies. They were perfectly corny for the day).
I started my day with an Amaretto iced coffee. I love the creaminess of soymilk in my coffee.

Pinterest has ton of recipe ideas that I say I am going to try but never do and when I do they look nothing like the beautiful photos that are taken. For breakfast I prepared pumpkin French toast the night before. All that needed to be done was throw it in the oven in the morning. Some substitutions I made was multi-grain bread for French baguette, 6 eggs instead of 8, wheat flour instead of white, and I added slightly less sugar in the topping (I am not a dessert for breakfast kind of girl). It was good but some of the toast was soggy; except the part that we reheated the next day. I love savory French toast (I am the girl who asks for no powder sugar and uses no syrup) so I probably won’t make this particular recipe again. My husband seemed to enjoy it though.

 
 
After the coffee was done, I treated myself to peach bellinis.
 

 
The day would have been perfectly lazy except we realized later we had no food prepared for dinner. We had to get dressed and luckily a great Vietnamese restaurant was opened for dinner.
I hope you had a happy holiday too!