Girls Gone Mild – Day Three

This morning we were back in the gym very early – even though we knew there was going to be a lot of walking today. There’s something soothing about being in an empty gym in the wee hours of the morning (trust me, there is no sarcasm in my words)

IMG_7977As I was making breakfast and going through our groceries I saw a few of our purchases from the Asian Supermarket from yesterday and realised we forgot to open the SoJu!

We saw it in the Korean restaurant we went to yesterday but didn’t drink it so bought a bottle later in the day because we wanted to have some – Will need to make room for that tonight.

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Our plan of attack today was to visit the QueenVictoria Market. This time I checked the opening time online and saw the food and veg sections open at 6am and the rest of it opens at 8am!

That didn’t sound right to me  but we got ready and walked down there. As it turned out, most of the shops were open and trading!

Melbourne has really turned on the weather for us! 22 degrees today and it was such a lovely fresh walk down there.

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We spent a bit of time clocking up steps, walking up and down the aisles but not really finding anything to buy.


I think we got more excited to go back to “our” coffee place. Last year we exhausted their supply of “free to try” chocolate coffee beans. (We bought lots of jars of them too!)

This year, we were excited to be back and wouldn’t you know it, the woman who served us remembered us from last year! She was lovely and I’m sure we were memorable not for raiding their chocolate coffee bean bowl, but because of our lovely personalities and enviable good looks.


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On the way back mumma bear wanted to stop in a kitchen store and I saw this which I thought would go perfect in my kitchen at home!

The only thing missing is the word “permanently”

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The next stop on our agenda was St Kilda so we topped up our public travel cards and hopped on a tram.

A vigorous discussion about whether you had to “tap on” and “tap off” ensued and a local woman thankfully interceded and said tapping off was not required on the tram.

We got to St Kilda and passed the various cake stores. I’m not sure how others feel but those cake stores seem to be better in fantasy than reality. Every time I go there I feel excited to try something but often it disappoints and my mum noted that the cakes at Brunetti looked better.
We didn’t get any cakes.


We ended up lunching at the same place we did last year. Well it was pretty good last year so why ignore a known entity?

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And the food was pretty good!!! Those serves were huge! In fact we were wondering whether we’d be able to take our leftovers with us so when the server came to take our plates away my mum asked “Do you do doggy style?” 
Of course she meant “Do you do doggy bags?” which the rest of us girls quickly restated.
I bet that server will have a story to tell tonight!


My mum wanted to walk to Port Melbourne. Sounds like a good idea in theory but it was so very windy and we were against the wind and walking in a warm sun the whole way.

Of course we stopped for pictures and coffee as we walked.


And finally we were there!! For a brief horrifying second we worried that there might not be a tram from there to Melbourne but thankfully there was.


I’m not sure why the “thumbs up” (Fonzie would be proud) has made an appearance in our photos but we all got into the spirit of it by the end of the day.

I’m not sure about the other girls but I’m pretty sure that I’ve had enough excitement for the day and am looking forward to getting into bed and dreaming about days with no wind.

Now, where’s that Soju…

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Perth Day Three

Sorry that this entry is coming after the fact but between the Wine Tour that we did today and travelling back home, this is the first chance I’ve had to write and upload.

1Today, Friday the 5th of January as I write, is my birthday and not only is it my birthday, but it’s a milestone birthday too so I knew hubby was not going to say anything when I wanted to get up extra early to exercise.

The gym at this hotel is quite good and if you go early enough, there’s no one in there so I get the whole place to myself!
Perfect way to start a birthday!

We took our picture before heading out! (left)

The Wine Tour we were booked on started from Elizabeth Quay so we walked down there from our hotel and had a coffee at the Riverside Cafe. No champagne this morning though as I was anticipating a heavy alcohol day!

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We met our friends and boarded our boat.

It was such a relaxing cruise down the river!

We had coffee and muffins to start off with but it wasn’t long before the wine tasting started.

Here is a picture of the wine’s we sampled on the right and a few from the cruise below.
I forgot to mention the tasting plate of local cheeses that were also provided. Each tray was for two people so it was quite a generous portion!


Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the first stop. I think it was next to Sandalwood Winery? Beautiful spot anyhow and they had the BEST cider here!! It tasted more like a sparkling white than a cider! Soooo delicious but unfortunately they don’t bottle it yet so we couldn’t buy any.

The food we had was also exceptional. Unfortunately I was too overwhelmed with the place to take pictures of the food but here are a few of our surroundings. By the way, the whole time we were there having lunch there was a line of people waiting to get in!

From here we travelled by coach to another winery.  This time I took a pic of the sign outside so I know it’s Windy Creek Winery. This was another gorgeous spot!!

I tried pretty much every wine they were offering and surprisingly for me, really loved the whites. I don’t normally drink a lot, if any, of white wine.

We were a nice group and by this time, were starting to talk to each other and were getting pretty happy! I took a few pics inside and out. So gorgeous here!

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Hubby is not a wine drinker so I ended up having a few tastings on his behalf – not that you can tell by this selfie on the left…

You can imagine where this is going to lead can’t you?

Back on the coach now to our next spot.

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As per the information from our driver, this tree had been struck by lightening, but continued to grow anyhow!

It was just outside our next stop and quite interesting to look at.

So now we’re at Twin Hill Wines and I’m feeling decidedly happy. Again, I liked the whites more than the reds (surprisingly) but not as much as our last stop. This is a family run winery though and the history behind it was quite interesting. They also provided a very tasty tasting plate for us!
Here are a few pics from our time here. By the way, the ladies behind the counter are mother and daughter.


Next stop was a brewery – Mash Brewing. They also provided us some nibbles and we were able to pick one beer from their list complimentary.

I’m not a beer drinker but it seemed like an interesting place.


I’m not sure you can read it but the pic on the right shows the beer choices we had.

We had one more stop to come and I was quite excited for this one! We were going to Margaret River Chocolate Company and were going to be sampling a few chocolate liqueurs also!

Here are a few pics. Luckily, hubby took them as I was not in any state to be taking photos at this point and was happy to be wandering around about the chocolate. We bought a few things to share later.


Not sure if you can see the interesting clocks bottom right. How cute are they!!!

The chocolate liqueurs ended up being a bit disappointing. We sampled four different kinds and they were all wine based. Although I like chocolate, I wasn’t tempted to buy any of them.

Our tour came to an end and we were dropped off back into Perth CBD.

IMG_5216We had dinner at East Village.

It looked like a really interesting place and the food wasn’t bad, but there was just something missing that I couldn’t put my finger on.


We ordered some wings to share, hubby got a burger and I had a Lamb Greek salad which was ok. The bread was probably the best thing about this. Still warm from the oven!

I had been jokingly saying I still wanted birthday cake and I wanted to see the city lights from Kings Park at night. Hubby, mostly always ready to please, began hatching a plan.

We went to the store and bought some cake. He also got some matches, candles and some sparklers. I still had no idea what he was going to do with these as we couldn’t light the sparklers in our hotel room could we?

I won’t bore you with the whole story but we never made it to Kings Park with one thing going wrong after another and eventually we just walked back to our hotel. Hubby still made it special for me by singing me happy birthday and lighting the candles on my cake!


Sadly our time in Perth was now pretty much over.

I do want to share one last treat before I finish this entry.

Hubby organised for us to fly back on the A330 in Business Class. Oh my!! Look at all this room!!! We could even lie our seats flat like a bed.
The bad thing about this is that you never want to travel any other way again!!!
Thank you Qantas and thanks for reading about our few days in Perth.

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Vay Cay to Jay Jay – Part Sixteen

Our time is coming to an end and we’re kind of running out of new things to do but I also feel like I want to spend more time around this Dotonbori area.

There is just so much to see and do!

So many different foods! So many people. It both terrifies and excites me.

This is not the place to be if you don’t like crowds!

Hubby was having a bit of a lie in this morning so I took myself for a walk and really enjoyed watching people going about their business.

Most of the shops aren’t open until 10am. That may sound late but they also stay open very late. I really wanted to get some junk cute things from Daiso. I know we have this store in Australia but I’ve never been in one in Australia.

IMG_4213.JPGI know there’s just cheap, nothing goods in there but it’s exciting!!

So are the 100 yen stores! I just love them!!
“This is really only 100 yen??” I find myself exclaiming.

It’s much easier to shop in these stores when hubby isn’t around.
Look at the cute little Hello Kitty bag I got for 100 yen. I think it might actually be a bag to carry cold/fridge foods but I’m going to use it as a make up bag for as long as I can. It’s just too cute!

When I got back to the room, hubby and I had a breakfast of coffee and naughty bakery goods (Oh god I love them so much) then set off to walk through the streets and I snapped a couple of pictures along the way.

 


I took that pic on the left to show how every apartment has an area for bike parking. There aren’t that many places for cars and usually they’re off site (not in the same area as the apartment block) but bike parking you’ll see EVERYWHERE!!!
It’s pretty stressful walking down the street. We’ve seen lots of near misses between people on bikes and cars/buses/pedestrians but never actually seen a collision. I don’t even know how we haven’t because they’re crazy on their bikes!!!

As we walked we talked about places we’ve been and foods we’ve eaten and we started reminiscing about the huge bowls of ramen we got at this particular food court. Unbeknownst to me, hubby started to walk towards it (we were about four kilometres away) I had no idea. He didn’t tell me, he just kept walking.
It was about 2pm at this stage and I was starting to get pretty hungry. I kept pointing out restaurants saying “Mmmm that looks delicious, should we go there?” but he would barely grunt out an answer.
I guess it was his little way of annoying surprising me.

We got to our favourite food court eventually but when we went to the place we ordered the ramen from, the menu looked different. We couldn’t tell what it had been that we used to order!!
The girl at the counter didn’t speak English (we were trying to ask if a particular dish had meat in it. Pork? Chicken?) So she told us to wait and got someone else who also didn’t understand us.
IMG_4206In the end, hubby pointed to some things on the menu and said we’ll just take that.
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I’m not sure that there was any meat in it. There could have been very very very pink bacon in it. Perhaps some tofu like thing… Not sure, but it was pretty delicious!
In the middle there were like fried noodles. I’m not sure exactly. They were crispy. I don’t know the name for them.

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We also chose to drink Calpis which is everywhere here and a delight to say out loud.

“Oh I just loving drinking Calpis.
Would you like to drink Calpis?
thought you’d never ask!”

It was like a more delicious version of lemonade. I really liked it. No diet version though so it’s unlikely I’ll be having it again. Diet drinks aren’t easy to come by here by the way. You will find them, but not as easy as you find them in Australia and many restaurants don’t offer any sort of diet drinks.

So although we enjoyed what we ate, it wasn’t what we were expecting.

We consoled ourselves by visiting the 100 yen bakery downstairs.
OH.MY.GOD this place!
I could have eaten the whole store but we only picked two varieties.

 

I liked the one on the right a lot more. It had a chocolate filling too! The berries were soooo sweet. I just loved it. The other was either a baked cheesecake or had a custard filling. I wasn’t quite sure.
It too was delicious but not as good as the first.

Tomorrow is our last day in Osaka and we’re capping it off with a visit to Rinku Town!! I’m so excited!! The train has taken us past this place every time we’ve arrived or left but we’ve never stopped. It’s full of outlet malls apparently!

I’m not even a shopper but I’m excited!!! Hubby, where’s your wallet??

Darwin – Day 2

I slept like a baby last night! Of course it helped that the hotel’s air conditioning was on at full blast.

gum.jpgDarwin doesn’t have daylight saving so it was still quite early when I woke. I remembered the hotel gym opened at 6am so I decided to go down there early and get in some k’s on the treadmill before hubby woke up.

At 6.01am the gym still wasn’t open so I went down to reception to see if perhaps I’d gotten the time wrong.
I wonder if a guest has ever chased the staff about opening the gym before??

Hubby ended up coming down ninety minutes later and after a quick shower, we hopped into the pool to cool down.

We wanted to stay active and looked for a few things to do. We had wanted to go to the Aviation Museum but didn’t want to use a taxi or the bus. It was probably too far to walk with this humidity, so we decided to go to the “Qantas Hangar” instead.

The Hangar was about four kilometres from where we were staying and off we trotted on foot. I think hubby perspired at least ten buckets worth only to find when we got there, that we hadn’t really researched what the Hangar was….
I was more than a little disappointed but oh well, we got to talk to a few locals at the Parap shops and that’s always nice.

We saw a man waiting at a bus stop and asked him how soon the bus was coming. Lucky for us, there was one just about due and while we waited he pretty much told us his life story. Everyone has a story here! It was really interesting talking to him and it made the trip worthwhile.

fullsizerender15The bus took us right back to the Waterfront so we hopped off there to get some lunch. This time we were NOT going to go to the Hot Tamale.

Instead we ended up at Fiddlers Green.

The staff here were fairly friendly. They work hard to entice you in.

Hubby went for a couple of entree’s. SMOKED SALMON BLINIS- Salmon on potato pancakes with dill, Sour cream, capers & red onion jam and a BASKET OF WEDGES – Served with sweet chilli sauce & sour cream


He absolutely loved the potato pancakes. “Why can’t you make them like that?” he asked. Hmmm, I’ll have to try harder. They were really delicious and I know because I was allowed a taste test! I think he allowed it so that I know how to make them….

I went for the THE BOOKIE’S SANDWICH – 150g scotch fillet steak, with onion, tomato Lettuce, mustard mayo & fries

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You just can’t go by a good honest steak sandwich. It was just what I felt like.
The steak was cooked well and the onions and mayo… just yum!
The dining room could do with a bit of refurbishment as a lot of it was looking a bit old and dated.
It was also just a little disappointing that they were so friendly when trying to get us in, but less so when we were actually in there. But, again, you get what you pay for and we couldn’t fault the food.

fullsizerender10After lunch we continued walking and found ourselves walking past Northern Territory’s Living Marine Educational Discovery Centre where outside the building it’s advertised as being Darwin’s most interesting attraction with a quality coffee shop.

I didn’t take a picture of the Quality Coffee shop sign OR the Coffee shop itself… which is really too bad. I can vouch for it though because I saw a percolator on the counter.

Eventually we walked back to our room, changed into our bathers and spent a good hour in the hotel pool along with a couple of other guests.What a nice way to cool down!

We decided to visit Sky City Casino for dinner so after a bit of a nap  refreshing ourselves in our room, we walked to the Casino.


There are a few restaurants to choose from but hubby couldn’t go past the buffet.
We walked in and asked if we could look at the food before deciding if we’d eat here. Is that weird? The server kind of looked at us strangely so I guess she hasn’t been asked that question before!


We saw SO MUCH seafood! We don’t even really eat seafood but we saw enough to know that this was the place for us.

What we did eat was so very tasty! It was really hard to slow down and enjoy but we forced ourselves because we wanted to try a little bit of everything.
My favourite was probably the special fried rice.
They topped up the food regularly and ensured everything we were having was fresh.
The views from the restaurant were quite pretty too!

Unfortunately, where our table was located, we were not able to enjoy the view with our dinner.

What we did have however, was a birds eye view of the dessert table, complete with a chocolate fountain!

It definitely was a hit with the children!
What I loved about the desserts was that they were all small serves so we got a few things between us to share.
They also had a bread and butter pudding. One diner lamented the absence of custard to go with it “How can they have a bread and butter pudding without custard???” she exclaimed to me.
I just shrugged. There was cream and ice cream so that was good enough for me.

We finished off the night with a bit of luck at the Black Jack table. Hubby doesn’t do that often and I’m always nervous when he does but it usually works in his favour.

I don’t have a full day’s worth to make a “Day Three” post but it was pretty funny to see our taxi driver flirt shamelessly  with hubby on the way to the airport. It was like I wasn’t in the car at all!! I’m half expecting a facebook friend request to come through for hubby from the taxi driver… I mean there’s friendly and friendly….

I also have lots to tell you about the Qantas Club lounge that we were lucky enough to use. Qantas club, Business class tickets… I could get used to this life!!

So we survived a couple of days in Darwin during the wet season.
Have you been there?
What your experience been like? I’d love to know!!

Spoon You Fork Me/The Dining Diaries will be returning in the regular format from Monday the 16th of January.

Thanks for reading!