I think I have died and gone to heaven and it is called Melbourne, Australia.
After flying out of Alice Springs here yesterday, it is like we landed on a new planet. Although our last day in the middle of the Australian Desert was pretty awesome in Alice Springs (we visited Alice Springs Desert Park-fabulous!), I was happy to be air born and on to new surroundings where hopefully most crawling things live outside and not in our beds. We found such a place-YAY! The Stamford Plaza Hotel, an all Suite hotel which will be our home for the next week even has a pillow top mattress-another big YAY!! It is a lovely and definitely 5 star service hotel. Nestled in the heart of Melbourne CBD, we are a walk away from most anything...
Arriving on Christmas Eve was a bit chancy, we did not know if anything would be open. Well, the streets were bustling with last minute shoppers and many businesses were still going. We headed, in the pouring rain, to the nearest grocery store, where we stocked up with our first in room foods since Busselton. I was so happy to see Oatmeal and blueberries again..my staple breakfast for the last 20 or so years...Amazing how I miss really only little things in life right now..Grocery bags in hand, we scurried home in time to take off to the nearest church down the street. I wanted to go to a Christmas Eve church service and sing Christmas carols and that is just what we did. The church was a very old and ornate Anglican Church..I was moved to tears really as the guitars played and we sang X-mas carols. Afterward, H & I went back to our room and actually had a lovely dinner in our new home, the Stamford Suite. The roasted chicken, bread and salad were one of the best meals I have had lately! We then commenced to sit and watch on TV the "Candlelight Carols" being shown live from the park band shell just down the street. There were no tickets to go down there live and glad not because it poured down rain the whole concert. Under the shell though the dry singers gave quite a Christmas musical performance which lasted 3 hours. A perfect evening for these weary travelers!
Today was a whole new day-it is Christmas here! There are not too many peeps on the streets here in Melbourne except many obvious tourists like us. We walked about 5 miles today down to and through another beautiful park and Botanical Gardens. The views were breathtaking as we wandered through a botanist's dream..People picnicking throughout the park, birds chirping, lakes, many different species of trees and plants-everything is so green here!! H and I enjoyed our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by a pond in the park and both agreed it was surreal to be here. Melbourne is a very pretty and clean city. The structures are both old and modern mixed together. Very magical place so far!
By the time we got back to the room, I was pooped! Now our task is to find a restaurant that is open on Christmas night, not a small task. Looks like we will be relegated to the "Casino" district. Oh well, everything is an adventure right?