Our airport transfer was coming for us at 8.10am so we made sure we were packed and ready and waiting on the steps of the hotel fifteen minutes beforehand. As we were waiting and soaking up the sun outside we watched the comings and goings of some of the South African Cricket team who also seemed to be staying at the Travelodge although we can’t imagine for one moment it’s the actual players staying in a 3* Travelodge Hotel so have deduced it must be the crew. We were on the lookout for a green and yellow mini-bus that had Redy2go plastered all over it so imagine our surprise when a completely black mini-bus with blackened windows drove by with the driver leaning over waving a piece of paper out of the window that said Redy2go! Yes, that was our transfer pick-up.
The airport was fairly straightforward but very busy and once through to departures we had breakfast. Spinach & Feta pie and coffee. Yummy. Although the flight was delayed by thirty minutes there must have been a tail-wind as we arrived more or less on time at 13.03pm. Thankfully it was a lot warmer off the plane than on it, we were both freezing on the flight. And that’s really when the ease and straightforwardness of our day finished. We waited for what seemed like an age for the plane doors to open, then we waited for our luggage, no actually we waited for Maice’s luggage to come out, mine being one of the first out. At least if it did go missing she could wear my clothes, and yes they do fit even though there may be a height difference. Finally retrieving her bag we went outside to get the Fast Airport Link bus to the hotel which didn’t drop us at hotel but at Central Station where the bus terminated. Then we got onto a free bus to stop number three which is just round the corner from our hotel, the Ibis, Swanston Street. We checked in and asked if there was a package for us from the tour people. It took a while for the receptionist to find it, she was hunting hi and lo. She even asked us what it looked like, like we have a clue? You’d have thought that as soon as something was delivered in advance for a guest they would make a note of it on the booking, but no, far too easy to do that. Package finally located, which was much bigger than we thought, we made our way to our room, opened the door, looked in and returned straight back down to reception. We’d made sure on booking that all our rooms had twin beds, and so far so good apart from today, which was a double. They changed the room immediately and the same with the room booking on the Friday when we return and we made our back to the lift and to room 227.
Of all the rooms we’ve had so far this one has to be the most bijou. It’s spotlessly clean and the beds look really comfortable and the shower is great but where are we going to do today’s yoga challenge? We didn’t unpack as we’re here for one night only but we did check out our driving package. We’ve been given a backpack, a huge atlas of Australia, which is very heavy, our driving instructions on how to get from A to B and lots of other leaflets. It’s a shame we weren’t given all this in the UK in electronic form as there’s so much to read!
It was now 4pm so we decided to venture out, do a bit of exploring and find somewhere to study our reading material. We were also in need of sustenance in the form of food and of course a glass of wine so we made our way down Swanston street which led us to the Yarra River. It was a lovely warm sunny day but the wind was cold until we got to the river where the wind had dropped and it was quite hot. The walk down to the river was for us a bit of a nightmare. Not only were there people everywhere, it was just so crowded. The pavements were that slippy I very nearly ended up slipping over, Maice just managing to keep me upright. It was much calmer down by the river and we walked along it looking for a place to eat. It was full of restaurants and bars and packed full of office workers which didn’t appeal to us.
The other side of the river was much the same. This was obviously the area ‘to be seen’. Well we didn’t want to be seen, all we wanted was a nice little bar or restaurant where we could sit and ‘study’ and we found it in this lovely little backstreet called Degravers Street. Lots of lovely cafes and restaurant with their tables and chairs in the middle of the street. We made ourselves comfortable, ordered two pizzas and a glass of wine each and sat back and people watched. In the fashion world here in Australia it seems to be wear what you want...... anything goes, even if it doesn’t match! I must say we have seen some very strange fashions out on the streets. Onto our second glass of wine and we managed to do a bit of homework, plotting places on the map, looking at where we were going, although I have to say we both felt a bit squiffy so what we’ve plotted and where we’ve plotted it is anyone’s guess.
After our lovely ‘early’ supper we headed back to the Ibis Hotel, detouring to the Greek quarter and then to the Avis Car Hire Office to see where we had to pick the car up. We thought it was being delivered, but appears not so we’re going to have to traipse our luggage with us to pick it up. We could of course pick it up and come back to the hotel for our luggage but we weren’t sure we’d find the hotel, not driving anyway.
Back at the Ibis we set about preparing for today’s yoga challenge. It wasn’t boding too well, it was a thirty five minute session, the longest so far and in a very bijou room and on two glasses of wine that had gone straight to our heads we wondered how we’d fare. We laughed through the first five minutes, wobbled about in the second five minutes and tried to concentrate for the rest of the session. I don’t know, the things we get ourselves into!
We did some more ‘homework’ before turning the lights out. Tomorrow I’m driving and Maice is navigating although we do have GPS in the car, must be SatNav Steve’s twin. Anyway we have every confidence in our driving and navigating skills, we’ve never had any problems in the past!!!!!
See you on ‘the road’