Brrrrr. First of all, it was freezing. We probably would have been in heaven if we had come from the U.S., but we came from the equator and we thought we were going to freeze to death the first couple days until we finally acclimated. Thankfully I thought to bring a couple jackets and a fluffy blanket for Jonathan.
Lions are J's new favorite thing. We started the trip in Melbourne and while Fabio conferenced, J and I hit the zoo. Jonathan discovered lions and now he is in love. The enclosure had three young male lions and they were quite the show-offs. We watched them for almost 20 minutes, and Jonathan would have watched longer but I got tired from standing.
Aussie-Rules Football is J's new least-favorite thing. Fabio and Jonathan surprised me for Mother's Day with tickets to an Aussie-rules football game at Melbourne Cricket Ground for our trip. We met up before hand with our friends, the Moores, for dinner since they were also in Melbourne and going to the same game. As we walked from dinner to the game, who did we run into but... Elmo himself playing the trumpet! Who knew he lived in Melbourne?!?
Jonathan is not impressed. He smells an impostor.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground is incredible. Huge is an understatement, and everyone there is so excited to be there. We went to a particularly intense game (the two teams from the finals last year, the Cats and the Pies), and the crowd was deafening. Which brings us to why Jonathan regretted his Mother's Day gift. Each time someone would score, or foul, or miss, or fall, the crown would erupt, Jonathan would get scared, and this would happen:
We covered his ears and I held him close, which helped a little. The people sitting behind us realized that Jonathan would get especially scared when they booed. There they were all dressed up in Cats gear with their faces painted and when the Pies scored, they started to boo, saw Jonathan's face and smiled and clapped. Which calmed Jonathan down to on the verge of tears. It was so sweet and kind of them. I really believe Australians are the nicest people we have ever met.
It was electric to be in such a passionate crowd, and we had a great time. The people sitting next to us explained the rules of the game, and everyone did everything they could to help Jonathan, but when it became obvious nothing short of leaving would make the poor fellow feel better, we couldn't stay for longer than two quarters and feel like good parents. As we left the stadium he let out a big sigh and fell asleep. He really is the best baby.
Aussie Food is my new favorite thing. In particular, veggie pies and hedge-hog slices. If you go to Australia you MUST have one of each. Ooooooh... my mouth is literally watering now as I upload the pictures.
St. Kilda Pier, a funky little beach and pier, was absolutely gorgeous at sunset. We went on a whim for our last night in Melbourne, and I'm so glad we did.
Phillips Island is a little island about an hour and a half southeast of Melbourne, and home to a giant community of the world's smallest penguins, less than a foot tall. Each night right after sunset, literally thousands of tiny penguins come in from the sea with full bellies. They hop along the beach and up the hill to their little homes and the Australian parks department has set up a stadium and a board walk so you can watch them. They don't allow photography to protect the little guys' eyes, so I must borrow from the internet for a visual.
It is one of the most adorable things I have ever seen. The boardwalk follows one of their little "highways" and so we just walked alongside them until one by one they veered off to their respective homes. Jonathan has the vision of a T-Rex (if you don't move, he doesn't see you) so he really appreciated this wildlife encounter. He was completely and totally mesmerized watching them waddle along, less than a foot away from him.
We had to chuckle when we parked under this sign. That's really how small they are!
There was also a koala reserve on the island, where we saw our first koalas of the trip. That's right. We saw a lot more later.
And I fed wallabies and kangaroos--so touristy and cliche, but who cares? It was still awesome! We basically pinched ourselves the whole two weeks every time something like this would happen.
Then we pack up and started on our great Australian road trip...