Friday, December 23, 2011

Honeymoon Day 8: 23rd December (Friday) – Melbourne

A small correction to yesterday’s post – we’re only 11 hours in front, not 12.
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After a reasonable night’s sleep, we woke around 8.15 to a very grey morning. We unpacked the essentials and all headed down to breakfast for around 10am. Last servings were at 10.30 and it was a little obvious that we didn’t get quite the service we might have got if we’d been earlier. No matter though, we were all hungry and the wide selection offered by the Hyatt Regency was superb!

After filling our faces, we popped into the Avis rental desk to double-check arrangements for the car pick-up on Christmas Day – only to find that we will still need to visit the official office a few blocks away when we actually pick it up.
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Then we headed into town by foot. The temperature by now was heading upwards towards its promised 30 degrees – and if felt like it! Unlike Perth which was the same temperature, the humidity here was much higher and Ann and I were soon flagging, whilst the super-fit Ralph and Karen were coping well!

We discovered that there was a free Tram service that took a circular route around the the city, so we found a stop and waited. A few minutes later, the Tram arrived. It was already busy, and being a older model, it didn’t have air-conditioning – Phew!!! In fact, we had to eventually get off the Tram because it simply couldn’t cope with the heat either and eventually broke-down. Passengers were encouraged to either ‘stay-put’ or ‘get-off’. We chose the latter, only to see the Tram spring into life a few minutes later!
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We headed for the waterfront where the Bars and Cafes are. It was a little like the Docklands in the UK, and it was clear to see that plenty of money had been spent on the area.
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Next stop was a ‘must-see’ tourist attraction – The Eureka Tower, (or it’s sexier title: Eureka Skydeck 88) but more especially, the 88th floor (which boasted ground-to-top in 38 seconds). The views from the top, as you would expect, were breath-taking, and it clearly showed how big the city actually is.
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Wow! What an experience! After all that, we needed a pit-stop and by now the bars and cafes were getting packed.. We eventually found one that was a little quieter than the rest and had something to eat. By now the heat was getting to Ann, so we left Ralph and Karen to explore, whilst we took the short walk back to the hotel for an afternoon siesta!

A few hours later, we were fully refreshed and ready for anything – well, a night out anyway! We decided that four of us would try out the Chinese-quarter near to the hotel, hoping to find a Chinese restaurant for a meal. Actually the local expertise of the Concierge stepped-in and recommended the very local bokchoy tang, around a five-minute walk away. It was tricky to find with its very plain entrance, but as it turned out, very much worth it! The service and food were both excellent – and we ate heartily!!!!

Afterwards, it was a short walk around the area, that was beautifully lit and buzzing with many others on their Friday night out. We finished off at a local cafe in the Southgate Centre with coffees all round a dessert between Ann and me.

We stumbled back into the hotel around 10.15 – with plans for more exploring of the local area tomorrow.