We arrived safely at the Melbourne airport in the late afternoon on Thursday, and Tyler's second cousin Barry was there to pick us up as soon as we'd grabbed our bags. We hopped in his car and immediately started marveling at everything. The landscape is pretty hilly so you can see quite far into the distance. Barry lives about half an our from the airport, in Gisborne, a cute neighbourhood full of sprawling bungalows. The houses here have no basements. Their place is beautiful and full of art (which I love) and guitars (Tyler was happy to try out Barry's collection).
We had a quiet dinner of Australia's most popular fast food - fish and chips wrapped in paper. I had battered butterfish and the chips as well were delicious. We had a drink and talked until my eyes were closing on their own around 9pm. We're ahead of Ottawa time by 14 hours, but after a 20 hour flight you could have told me it was any time and I'd believe you!
After a decent sleep we both woke up pretty early and had some coffee and watched the sun come up, hanging out with the amazing variety of birds chilling on the edge of the balcony. There were about 6 large white cockatoos and 4 green and red parrots, magpies, and even some brown and white birds. The view off the balcony is amazing, too.
We hung around and took it easy all morning, trying to finalize the rest of our trip plans and checking emails and such. We went into the local town of Gisborne to walk around and had lunch at the Jolly Miller bakery. It’s a pretty small town, and since it is autumn here, the leaves are turning yellow and starting to fall. We stopped in at a local gallery to check out some artwork and had a chat with the owner, John (Sullivan!)
Then we set off to Melbourne to meet up with Jane, Barry's wife, for dinner. First we walked around North Melbourne, and then returned to Lygon street, which is a food lovers heaven. On the sidewalk, the left is filled with restaurant after restaurant, mostly Italian, and on the right are tables and chairs, with heaters overtop so that you can eat outside all year round despite it being "cold" (about 16 degrees C). Barry calls it "Preston Street on steroids" and I can see what he means!
As the sky begins to darken, the owners come out to the street and offer more and more to get you to eat at their place. We had one man offer us champagne, garlic bread, then even a date!
We ended up eating at Tica Tera, outside under the awning - a perfect place to people watch. Jane was thrilled that Tyler loves oysters as much as she does. The pasta and hand-made pizza was amazing as well. Tomorrow we are planning to drive up to the Grampions and will hopefully spot some kangaroos!