Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Our Australia trip began in Melbourne.  I knew when I placed Melbourne in the itinerary that this would be a unique part of our trip - less vacation and more holiday.  Melbourne has a reputation as a relaxed city, full of art and beach and cafes and shops.  Less a tourist destination for keeping our kids happy, but more a city for exploring and eating and shopping.  So we scheduled Melbourne for the days before Christmas, where we could buy gifts for each other, visit Santa Claus and relax in some nice cafes.

Melbourne was chilly while we were there, so we used our jackets and found ourselves comfortable.  This was as close as we were going to get to a white jacket, so we snuggled up in our jackets and didn't complain.  Once we left the south of Australia, the weather warmed up considerably.  But it was difficult to get into the Christmas spirit without much of a chill in the air.  Going to the beach on Christmas Eve was lovely, but didn't feel at all like Christmas.

When we landed in Melbourne, our luggage was not on the baggage carousel.  It was four days before we drove back to the airport to finally gather our things.  So, we ended up spending our Melbourne time in some unexpected ways.  I sat in a GPs office to get a new prescription for my thyroid - and now always pack some pills in my carry-on.

We spent more time shopping than we otherwise would have, but we had planned to explore the streets and arcades of Melbourne anyway.  And we found many of the shops were thrift stores and Salvation Army shops, which Sophia gained a young love for.  And we still had plenty of time for the Royal Botanic Gardens,

...the amazing St. Kilda Adventure Playground...

 ...and to eat, wander and photograph our way through the parks, arcades and alleyways of the city.

We stayed in Melbourne through Christmas Day, enjoying a lovely Christmas Eve dinner from a corner deli, another corner bakery and yet another corner wine shop.

Our luggage didn't show up until we drove out of town, and the girls' Christmas stockings were neatly packed inside one of those checked bags.  So Santa had a task in front of him that each of the girls believed he was up to - deliver the Christmas presents in stockings anyway.

Santa delivered them in tall, festively colored bags.  The girls found them satisfactory, so it seems that Santa worked his magic again this year.

We left Melbourne in a rental car headed to a national park, after popping into a Hillsong church for Christmas morning worship.  We all enjoyed Melbourne, its mellow vibe and how pedestrian and walkable it was.  But the most striking thing of all may have been the brilliant blue sky, which followed us all through our travels.

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