31 March 2012

Queen Vic, Bugs Alive and a sunset in St Kilda

With two days packed full of sightseeing, you'd have thought we might need to slow down a little for Day 3, but not us, no sirree. In true MNM style, when you only have a week to see the best Melbourne has to offer, 'you snooze, you lose' is more appropriate for us.  

Amazingly, we gained an hours sleep as the boys weren’t up till 5.45 today and I actually woke feeling kinda refreshed. It was a warm night last night and today was our warmest day so far (about 27-28 degrees but with the stiff breeze, it wasn't too bad). First up, we caught the tram to the Queen Victoria Markets, which is an assault on the senses, some nice, some not so much. As soon as we walked into the market, we were accosted by a very jovial loud market stall owner who within seconds had whipped out a pair of plastic gloves and convinced Noah to hold a fish, grabbed my camera (not that I was best pleased about that!) and then managed to con Mark and I into holding some crabs as well.

We wandered around taking in the amazing number of stalls with meat, seafood, deli, bread, pastries, sweets, and cheeses. And that's before you even get to the foodhall with all the fresh fruit and veges in row upon row.

We simply couldn’t walk out of the markets without a purchase, and so bought Kalamata olives, a local brie recommended by the stall owner and some porchetta for lunch, and grabbed a total bargain with 2 punnets of strawberries for $2!

We stopped off at the food court for coffee and a quick catch up on the world via the free Wifi before heading a little further across town to the Melbourne Museum

The Museum is right next door to the impressive Royal Exhibition Buildings, one of the world's oldest remaining exhibition buildings built in 1880.

We made a beeline for the natural science gallery where the exact-to-scale dinosaur bones made me somewhat glad they became extinct some millions of years ago.

I think my favourite part of the museum was the animal gallery. By touching on screen the animal you could see around the room, it would bring up a little blurb about what animal you were looking at and how endangered the species was.

I could have spent so much longer here but little people's feet were fair running around the museum in awe of everything so I found myself with a need to keep up!

We found a fun set of mirrors that turned our Noah into something worth a giggle at.

And in the children's gallery discovered a cool 'touch' wall where you could leave your handprints by pushing little plastic balls into the wall. Rather therapeutic I might add.

Then it was into the Bugs Alive expedition. Some alive, some not so alive, but all totally creepy and terrifying if you allowed yourself to think about it too long. Apart from the gorgeous butterflies there were enough live and dead spiders, bugs, beetles, ants to give a person nightmares for some time to come. So it's a good thing we lot are made of tougher stuff!

By now a sit down, lunch and a nap were calling us, so we caught the free tram back to the apartment for a little afternoon rest time.

Later in the afternoon, we hopped in the car and took a scenic drive via Chapel Street. Mark still being in search of that elusive pair of the exact Havianas to match the ones he broke thought that another General Pants Company store might have them, but no! So it was off to St Kilda Beach to meet up with my brother who'd been able to get away for an hour in the midst of all the last minute wedding planning.

It's a gorgeous pier, quite reminiscent of Brighton or other English piers, and the whole place certainly has a real seaside town feel to it.

It was seriously warm by now, but the breeze kept us from completely melting into puddles on the pier.

I'd hoped that Luna Park (a very traditional looking amusement park) might have been open to take Noah for a ride on the old-school roller coaster railway, but alas only weekends and holidays, so we had to settle for admiring from afar instead.

Then we wandered down the main street of St Kilda, deciding on sushi for dinner for the boys (we'd opted for a Thai takeaway later on), and we let them choose a treat from one of the famous cake shops along the street.

The nearby park was the perfect spot to spread out on the grass and let the boys enjoy their impromptu picnic dinner. Despite Mark's 'watch out for snakes' as I sat down, I actually didn't give the creepy crawlies another thought (pretty good going given how many potential objects of terror we'd seen earlier in the day) and we had a thoroughly lovely time.

Mark made Noah try wasabi (hence the face in picture below), and then proved what a hero HE was by putting some on his own tongue and braving the extreme spicyness for a few moments.

Once again, the 35mm lens came out to play in the beautiful soft light of the evening, with the sun well hidden behind nearby buildings.

Oh how I love these boys. Smooshed chocolate on noses and dirty urchin faces included.

Then it was back to the play park across the road for sliding and swinging before the warmth of the setting sun called us onto the beach. 

In the end, we stayed and stayed, enjoying the suns rays, warm on our faces, dipping toes in warm sand and revelling in what we knew would be the last of the warmth as colder weather was due in the morning. 

Little people came home with half the beach inside their pockets...I wonder why?

This was an evening worth lingering over. Waiting and watching the sun sinking ever into it's kiss with the horizon. 

Quite simply the perfect end to this day. 

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