Milliners and mad hatters. Tram up Elizabeth. A zoological experience.

I had been promising to take The Princess to the Melbourne Zoo for a couple of years and today I was determined to stick to my promise.  So, after rising around 7.00am and getting ourselves ready, we packed our camera gear and clothes and went off in search of a different breakfast venue.

We chose to eat at Essence Cafe in the Marriot Hotel this morning.  The buffet breakfast looked very inviting when we walked past so we ventured in and enjoyed some pleasant service and some very tasty food.

We also enjoyed “people watching” while we sat at the breakfast table.  One of the biggest events in Melbourne’s sporting annual calendar (if not Australia’s sporting calendar) is the Melbourne Cup - one of the richest horse races in the world.  The Cup is held on the second Tuesday of every November and leading up to the big day the Victorian Racing Club organises the Spring Carnival. Today was another one of the many big events on the carnival calendar and the ladies that attend the day go to town with their head dress.  The milliners in town must make a fortune!  We enjoyed seeing some of the stunning (and not so stunning) creations that adorned the heads of the women that were heading to Flemington.

We left the Marriot  around 10.30am and went in search of the tram that would take us in the direction of the zoo.  Not long after leaving the hotel we found a Starbucks.  The Princess didn’t take too long to decide that she “needed” a Chai Tea Latte so we took a seat outside on one of the roadside tables and continued to watch the world go by.

Being conscious of the time we continued our search for the tram stop we needed.  As we approached the right area we found some great photographic shops so we dropped in and took a look around.  It was worth the effort because we found an excellent camera backpack and purchased it.  We asked the staff if they could give us directions to the tram stop we needed and it turned out that the stop was right outside the door!

We didn’t have to wait too long for a tram to come by and before we knew it we were getting off near the zoo.  Indeed, after a short stroll we arrived at the ticket counter and purchased our passes.  I tried to convince them that we were eligible for a child pass but to no avail.

It was a very warm day (for spring in Melbourne) so we de-robed before setting out on our tour of the zoo. I can’t remember the last time I went to the Melbourne Zoo but I do know I enjoy it.  The zoo had changed quite a lot since my last visit and it was a real pleasure to be able to see the new exhibits – they have done a fabulous job.

We really enjoyed being able to get up close to wonderful collection of birds, insects, reptiles and the vast array of native and non-native animals.  We took a lot of photo’s but we also spent time just watching the antics of these beautiful creatures.

Fortunately I didn’t get mistaken for a monkey and we were able to get around the zoo without being approached by a keeper.

We ate a late lunch inside one of the air-conditioned lunch venues and continued our tour with renewed energy.  We finished our visit to the zoo just on closing time and as we were leaving we were treated to the incredible roars of the big cats, the screeching of the birds and the incessant chatter of monkeys.  A great way to finish the day.

For some unknown reason we (me) decided to walk back to the city.  It seemed like a good idea (and it was) at the time.

We took the opportunity to walk through the Melbourne University grounds.  We walked into the grounds of Trinity College, an incredibly beautiful place.  The buildings here are some of the original buildings on the university grounds and they are very easy to photograph.

After adding substantially to our digital media storage we went off in search of Lygon Street - Melbourne’s little Italy.  Fortunately for these two foot sore travellers, Lygon Street is located close to Melbourne University so it wasn’t long before we sat our rather worn bodies in a roadside table and kicked back with a glass of red.  Ahhhhh.

The crowd of punters, their hats and their winnings (or losses) filtered into Lygon Street as the sun dropped lower into the western sky and we enjoyed the eclectic mix of people that wandered past our vantage point during our two glass visit.  Punters, students, families and the disadvantaged graced us with their presence.

The temperature turned positively negative (??) in a less than 40 minutes after we started sipping our wine and The Princess chilled down rather quickly.  The southerly change came through quite quickly (Melbourne in renown for it weather changes) so we finished off our “grape juice” and headed off in direction of the hotel – not too far from Lygon Street.

We arrived back at the hotel around 7.30pm and it wasn’t too hard to convince The Princess to dine in again.  She was (as was I) absolutely spent.  I tempted her taste buds with an offer of take-away Indian and she melted into the comfortable lounge chair at the thought of it.  And so it was that I returned to the pavement and took a short walk to the nearest Indian take-away.

We enjoyed a very tasty Korma, some red wine and lots of stories about our day out over our in-room supper.  We spent the evening on the bed (get you minds out of the gutter!) watching Toy Story 2. A very funny and relaxing way to see out the day!

Our well exercised bodies were ready for rest around 10.30pm and they didn’t take too long to melt into the comfortable mattress and even more comfortable pillows.

Until tomorrow’s post we bid you and yours a wonderful goodnight.  Ciao.

Roey and The Princess

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