Aidan flew in on Monday! I met him at the train station, got him settled in, and then went to class. That evening, we took the free tram down to Lord of the Fries, a completely vegan fast food restaurant, and took our food down to the river. We could see the lights of the city reflecting on the water, and met a very friendly swan. We started to head home just as it started to sprinkle a little bit.
Thursday, I had Australian Wildlife Biology, with a lecture on bats. My professor, Pia, brought out actual bats at the end that had been rescued and currently reside at a wildlife sanctuary. They were all quite small, and looked so precious. I learned that bats serve an important role in pollination of native Australian plants, especially because many of them can fly quite great distances. Also, they’re just so cool!
After class, Aidan and I walked into Fitzroy and had lunch. He was still a little off the time zone or just generally tired, so we had a pretty chill evening. We took a little walk downtown, got a few groceries, and went to bed.
Friday was Good Friday, and lots of things were closed, including all the grocery stores. We went to the National Gallery of Victoria for their Calder exhibit, as they were open. I am a big fan of Calder, so I was a little starstruck, and Aidan was a good sport to go through the exhibit a couple times with me. I was surprised to see that Calder made not only his mobiles, but illustrations, wire sculptures, videos, and other formats of works.
Friday night Aidan and I went bowling downtown. We played two games, both of which I lost terribly, and then played some other games they had set up. We hadn’t ever gone bowling together, so it was a fun date!
Saturday, we hopped on the bus and then the train to head down the Mornington Penninsula.It was a gorgeous sunny day, and quite warm! We had booked kind of a fancy Airbnb that you stay in at a campsite, and when we arrived it was all set up for us! We got settled in and took a look at the beach we were camping next to. Many people were camping nearby due to the easter holiday, but most were RVs, or quite involved camping situations, so our little elaborate place attracted the confusion and questioning of many a passer-by.
Then, we headed off for the Penninsula hot springs, a beloved spot with a natural hot spring below, and endless pools of different sorts to explore. We spent the afternoon and evening popping from pool to pool as the sun became all golden and finally dropped from the sky. We then returned to our cozy wagon home.
In the morning, we took a really relaxing and beautiful walk along the beach. The tide was quite far out, and we saw some cute little animals that had been exposed. I got a change to apply some of my knowledge from class, and a chance to spill the tea I had carried to drink on our walk. There were lots of people out enjoying the holiday, which was lovely to see. We then headed back up north, towards home.
I hadn’t yet been to Brighton Beach, and I thought Aidan should see it while he was in Australia, so we stopped there on our way back. It was quite busy even though it was a little bit of a cloudy day, but we walked along and did the touristy thing. I knew that the beach boxes were expensive, but we learned later they cost upwards of $350,000!
Monday we took a walk to look at a mural from one of Aidan’s favorite TV shows, in Brunswick. We walked around and then headed to an AFL game (Australian Football League), because it seemed like another classic thing Aidan should do while he was here! I had yet to go to a men’s game anyway. Early on we picked a team and joined in on the cheering and exclaiming that is so typical of a footy game (strong rivalries are accentuated due to 6/12 teams being from the greater Melbourne area, so they are in quite close quarters). Our team won, and we both had a lovely time.
Yesterday, we went to the zoo! One of the things that Aidan had on his list for Australia was to see some of our classic marsupials. I had been before, but for class, so I hadn’t gotten the full experience. We saw koalas, kangaroos, birds, and all sorts of other animals. An unexpected highlight was actually the lemur exhibit, where you can walk amongst them! Although I wondered how some of the less native animals fared in the Australian climate, in general I know the Melbourne Zoo focuses a lot on conservation. We finished up with dinner at a vegetarian place in Fitzroy, and then packed up for our travels today.
Today we are headed to Cairns, which is in northern Australia, the state of Queensland. We’re staying a little ways away from Cairns, in Port Douglas, which is supposed to be a little calmer. We plan to see the Great Barrier Reef, visit the world’s oldest rainforest, get some nice sun, see some cool animals, and not to get horribly sunburnt or stung by a jellyfish. As lovely as Melbourne is, I absolutely can’t wait to explore!!!