Girls Gone Mild – Day Four

Today we wanted to do something different and decided we’d be Cultural. Free Cultural to be specific.

The weather was not the best for walking around so we really had to pick indoor things to do.
My daughter had been looking online and really wanted to go to the Acmi Museum. What a lot of fun that turned out to be!!!

We walked down to Federation Square, shivering and holding on tight to our scarves and hooded jackets. It was cold and raining!!

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We were super excited to find out that the Alice in Wonderland exhibition was open at  Acmi!!! (not free)

Today was going to be perfect regardless of the weather!

It’s running until the 7th of October and I highly recommend visiting if you find yourself in Melbourne!

Click on the link to find out more about it.
https://www.acmi.net.au/events/wonderland/

I don’t know what it was about ACMI but it was just thrilling to be there. We went into the free museum first, looking at all the exhibits that showed us how film and telvision got to be what we know it as today. It was all so interesting!
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There were a few Alice in Wonderland related things in the foyer. Of course, we stuck our face in the hole…


There were so many exhibits in the free museum. Much much more than I expected. I’ll share a few pictures but I could write so much about each one of these exhibits. You could really spend hours here.


And check out the video that my daughter and I made in one of the exhibits. It truly was Matrix worthy!! (after a few false starts)

 

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So then it was time for the Wonderland Exhibition.

Only my daughter and I wanted to go so my mum, sister and sister in law waited it out in the cafe.

We were exchanging photos as we went along.

This was at the top of the stairs, at the entrance to the exhibition. It was spinning and quite mesmerising…. down the rabbit hole we went!

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We couldn’t help but squeal when we saw the room at the bottom of the stairs!!!
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We grabbed our pamphlets and listened to the instructions and then were left to decide whether we were going to go through the big door or little door…

I’ll share some pictures of the exhibit which are all related to the book. Perhaps you’ll recognise some of the areas?

Towards the end we were invited to the Mad Hatters Tea Party and what a magnificent light extravaganza it was!!! The pictures will NOT do it justice! It went for four and a half minutes and they just flew by! I was so sad when it was over.
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We walked into a room that had a table set with plates and bowls. Everything was white.

The walls behind us were blank.

Then the music started and things started appearing on the walls – Quotes from Alice in Wonderland.
Then the colours started happening and the walls started filling with amazing scenes and landscapes!


As you can see, towards the end it looked like there was food on the plates! We also saw ants and butterflies flutter across the table. It was so cool!!!

We were almost at the end. We got to the craft room where there were lots of activities for kids. There was also a place you could put your face into. A camera would take your picture then when you looked on the giant screen, your face would appear on a playing card travelling across the screen with lots of other playing cards.
Big kids that we are, we had to do that!


And if you haven’t picked us out, here’s a close up of my daughter and I

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And two last pictures from the exhibitions, ending with my favourite character, the Chesire Cat.


We felt like we’d been transported into another world so it was a bit weird to come back out and join the rest of our party.

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We walked down to Crown Casino, had an overpriced lunch then walked back down to the National Gallery of Victoria.

Check out this beautiful swan with her babies!! She was gathering them under her wing.

It was just so adorable!!


Again, my mum, sister and sister in law didn’t really want to walk around there so they decided to head on back into the CBD while my daughter and I marveled at the displays.


Thank you for persisting with this photo heavy entry! We had such a great day!!!
We got back to the room earlier than planned because it was just so cold.

It’s our last night in Melbourne and we’re celebrating by eating junk, watching Netflix, and reliving our experiences. I’m a little bit nervous as the weather is supposed to be just as bad tomorrow but… I’m sure we’ll make it fun one way or another!

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Roman Around – Day Five

Today is our last full day in Rome.

img_2649.jpgIt’s taken me a while to realise that the letters on the taps here are different.
In Australia, there’s either a colour marker, or a “c” and “h” to let you know if that is a cold or hot water tap.

I kept turning towards the “c” one here and was wondering why it wasn’t getting any colder and then I realised “c” is for caldo – which means hot. The other tap has an “f” on there for freddo – cold.  Argh!

The beggars can be quite aggressive here. I don’t like walking around at night on my own. Most try to “do” something for your money. For example, one guy was sweeping the footpath yesterday. As we walked past he said “Could you spare some change for me. I’ve been making these footpaths nice and clear for you”. Something like that. We said we had no money. Which is actually true because we’ve been using credit cards, so we don’t have a lot of spare cash on hand.
The guy countered “yes you do” right away! Hubby then said “no, we only use credit card, we don’t have cash”
The guy said again “yes you do, you do have cash!” He wanted an argument!!

Twice I’ve seen little, very old, bent over ladies in black walking with a hand held out in front of them, asking for money then lashing out if you don’t give.
One asked hubby yesterday and he said “non ho moneta” or something like that and she started swearing!!

I took a few snaps of the streets as we walked. I’m going to miss this. Could you ever get used to it? So much history!! Old buildings, old roads… we just walk in amazement!

 

 

We walked back to Fontana di Trevi this morning because we STILL hadn’t thrown a coin over our shoulder into it. Tradition says, throwing a coin into the fountain over your shoulder means you will return. We will be back!

 

We stopped into a shopping centre that doesn’t have much in the way of shops. Well, nothing out of the ordinary that is, but it is a very interesting building.

 

Soon we were starting to get hungry and decided to go over the bridge into Trevestere again.
It’s so pretty to walk along the river.

 

 


The place we chose seemed to have cheap meals but the serves were pretty small and believe it or not, this selection of food we chose to share, cost us more than probably anything else we’ve eaten here.

 


That food plus a can of coke was 28 Euro. About $47 AUD. Although the food was good, I can’t say it was worth it.

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I’ve been drinking a lot of Monster Energy cans while I’ve been here and just today noticed the writing in Italian on the can.

 

 

When I’m back in Australia I’m going to have to check the cans there to see if they have the same message.

 


We were back at the Vatican again because we found out that you can enter the church for free so we thought that would be worth a look. What we didn’t realise is that there was a line for that too! That’s because they have to do a security check on you…. So we didn’t go inside. What a shame. I can’t remember it being this busy last time I was here. You can see from the pics how many people there are around. It’s just crazy!!! And everywhere you turn someone is trying to sell you something.

We walked back to our apartment late afternoon for a little siesta. There was NO Limoncello drunk, I can assure you of that!

Later this evening we took a walk to the Termini to check where the bus was going to come and get us to take us to the airport tomorrow. We’re going to have a very early start!
That area near the Termini is not good to say the least. So many unfortunate people. I couldn’t take photos because it’s just too sad.

Tomorrow a new adventure awaits.

Arriverderci Roma!

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In search of Cherry Blossom – Part Five

I feel like I need to change the title of these entries as the Cherry Blossom is just about gone and as much as I search, I don’t think I’ll be seeing any more in the Osaka area.

I went out walking early this morning and although it was still very frosty cold, there was little cloud and when the sun shone on you, it was almost pleasant.


I had been reading reviews of a couple of places just south of Dotonbori. One was the Shinsekai district and the other was the Tennoji Zoo. I’m not a huge fan of keeping animals in cages and when I read the reviews of Tennoji Zoo I was horrified. It made me more curious to see it though which probably makes me part of the problem…

Before the zoo we did see the Shinsekai area. This is what I read before going there.
Shinsekai is an old neighbourhood located south of Osaka’s downtown area. The neighbourhood was created in 1912 with New York as a model for its southern half and Paris for its northern half.

I can’t say that I saw anything that reminded me of Paris or New York. It seemed like any other district that had a lot of restaurants and a few shops.
Hubby and I have been having a difficult time (as usual) finding where to go to eat. Although I do like some things, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Japanese food. We decided to get some lunch before heading on to the zoo but walked around this area four or five times before finally going into one restaurant. We regretted it almost immediately as we couldn’t really find anything on the menu we wanted but we couldn’t just walk out…

We ended up choosing a few things.

Oh, I forgot to mention, they brought out a bowl of raw cabbage (gratis) before our food. Hubby ate it but I wasn’t a fan.
The food we had was ok, it just tastes like everything else we’ve had here. Those round potato type things in the pic on the right were the best. They had some cheesy gooey mess inside and hubby loved them!

After that we headed on over the zoo which is right near this Shinsekai district.

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It’s only 500 yen to visit (about $6.20 AUD) and we didn’t have anything else planned so hubby and I walked down there.

I didn’t think it was as bad as the reviews I’d read until I saw the cages for some of the big cats.
In any case, here are some of the photos of the animals that I took.


I felt a bit conflicted being there I must admit.

Every time we’ve been in Japan, hubby and I have visited Brooklyn Parlour and mostly it’s been a great experience. We knew there was one in the Americamura section of Dotonbori so we decided to go there for a drink.

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I normally love the atmosphere of this place. Hubby and I got a couple of drinks and watched people at tables nearby doing nothing but taking selfies for the next twenty minutes. They didn’t even touch their food and when it did look like they were going to start touching their food, it was only so they could video themselves “eating” it. Strange.

We walked around Americamura, fighting for space with the rest of the crowds.


If you like people watching, this is the place to be!!

After a bit of shopping we found ourselves being drawn to Hard Rock Cafe.
I must admit, I did like the familiarity of it all.


Lots of tourists in there!! Almost felt like I was back home.
We ordered some loaded fries. We were waiting for them to come but I needed to use the restroom. As I got up I said to hubby “If they come while I’m away don’t start eating them!” which would have been ok but an English speaking server heard me and I was embarrassed. Food ownership is serious business in this marriage!

And after a couple of sangria’s I posed for a photo.
Hubby made me do it.

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Oh and speaking of hubby, he was beside himself with excitement when we passed a McLaren dealership. The photos are taken through the glass window so they’re not the best. We’ve even seen one or two driving around while we’ve been here.


Again, we did a lot of walking today and I was glad to be back in the room, soaking in a nice hot bath.

I’ll leave you with a few more funny signs I saw today. The first one was on the back wall of a toilet cubicle.

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In search of Cherry Blossom – Part Four

We got hit by cold weather today! It didn’t rain and it wasn’t overly windy, it was just frosty cold.
I went walking early this morning and was sorry I hadn’t rugged up more.

Surprisingly, even though it’s Saturday and I was out about 7am, there were still lots of men walking around wearing suits.

There’s some sort of convenience store every few steps but I can’t seem to find diet lemonade in any of them (although there’s lots of alcohol for sale there)

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By the time I got back to the apartment hubby was ready for coffee.

The Starbucks we went to was quite full.

I’ve mentioned before that the Japanese people will put their purses/phones, or any other personal item on a table to “save” it while they go up to make their order. (See this pictured right )

We saw this even in the busy city Starbucks that we were in.

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Hubby wanted to see the Umeda Sky Tower and I was kind of curious to see the Cup Noodle Museum as last time we were in Japan, we happened to visit on the one day of the week that it was closed.

We walked over to the Sky Tower first (left)

We tried to get there by going through as many underground passageways we could find as it was just so cold!

What an interesting building this is! The architecture is just amazing and we discovered that it was designed by the same person who designed Kyoto Station (we visited this yesterday – go back one entry if you missed it!)

You can go right up to Level 39 for free. If you’re brave, you can pay 1000 yen or so (About $12.50 aud) to go up another few levels to the open observation deck.
Level 39 was more than enough for us!


The basement level has an old world Japan feel. It was very peaceful (apart from when the tour group came through) and looked out onto some lovely gardens.


It’s open quite late and we intend on coming back after dark to see the city lights!

Next stop was the Cup Noodle Museum. I didn’t really know what to expect other than we were going to get to make our own ramen at some point.

When we got in we were ushered through to a section that showed the history of ramen. All of it was in Japanese and I think there was an English guide available but we really just wanted to make our ramen so we went straight through to the back to do that.

It was pretty full in there! We were lined up. When we got to the front of the line we were told we were going to personalise our cups, then go over and choose what we wanted to put in there.

We got shown to a table that had special markers on them. The instructions on the table said “Draw your own picture”
Hubby took that quite literally and started drawing a picture of himself. I drew pictures of flowers. He looked over at mine and said “Where’s your picture?” and I said “Right here!” wondering why he was even asking me… and then it hit me, he was expecting me to draw a picture of myself! I just got the giggles so bad after that and couldn’t stop laughing.
Here are the pictures we drew. Hubby’s likeness is pretty good no?


Still giggling we went on over to the back and chose the contents.

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After it comes out, you get to put it in the air locked bag which you can wear around you shoulders.

I thought we were going to be able to eat them right away but unfortunately no.

If you go to the eating area, you have to purchase the noodles from the vending machines and… well just add hot water!

So we did that but it was a bit anti climatic.

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I’m still glad we went. If nothing else, I belly laughed like I haven’t for quite some time.

Back to Osaka station we went. I really wanted to do some shopping. So many interesting things here.

I’m not sure what this thing in the bottom left pic is??

A spaghetti pie?
I don’t know if you can read it but the empty plates in the picture on the right say “Please Wait”

And I’ll just finish off with a few interesting things and signs I saw today.

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Peach coke? I don’t think so!!

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I saw this sign in a few places. I still don’t know what it was trying to communicate.

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Jimmies

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Cracked wooden boards that give us the heebeegeebees (and hopefully nothing else)…
Fries that excite and
Raw dough and serves that make me want to cry.

Today diners we were at the famous Jimmies restaurant in Crafers. It really is in a gorgeous spot in the Adelaide hills but good luck trying to get parking there!

It was a sunny but frosty day in Adelaide but the restaurant was deliciously warm as we walked in. It was quite full and I was trying to get a sneak peak at other diners plates as we were led to our table.
We were seated by a window which gave us a nice view

It was nice to sit there sipping some wine and any chill we may have felt soon was gone.

FullSizeRender (12)FullSizeRender (16)I noticed they had decorative birdcages in just about any corner and in fact also had a feature wall with bird wall paper on it. I would have liked to have known if there was any connection to that and the name because there didn’t seem to be any.

Because we were seated in a room around the corner with only a few other tables, it seemed like we were pushed out of the way however I couldn’t see any other way they could have sat us in that place. Still, the view was nice…
It just felt like the room was not as special as the menu sounded – if that makes sense…

So onto the food! I chose one of the specials – Blue Swimmer Crabs Linguine with tomato sugo, cherry tomato, baby spinach, basil, garlic and chili.
Hubby chose a Lamb Calzone
We also ordered some fries to share while we relaxed with our drinks.

I believe Jimmies is primarily a pizza place because there were a lot of pizza’s on the menu and in fact, looking around at the two large tables next to us, they all had pizzas. The pizza’s were served on wooden boards.
I’m not a fan of wooden boards as I can just imagine all those little germs growing between the cracks and waiting to attach to any food I might eat.
The pizzas we saw were very thin crust so if you like that kind, you’d be happy here. I prefer a thicker, airy crust myself.

IMG_6654The fries looked pretty good when they came! I mean, fries are fries right? But these were presented nicely and they looked really fresh.

That paper they’re in is made to look like a front page of a newspaper and was titled “Food Review” or something like that, with cute little articles about food.

Those sauces the fries came with were amazing!!! I can’t remember how they were described on the menu but the tomato based one seemed to have a Mexican taste to it and the other seemed like a mayonnaise with garlic aioli and perhaps some other seasoning in it. That one was my favourite!

We did have to wait a little while for our mains though.
The server came up at one point to tell us they weren’t far away now but it would have been nice if she’d offered us another drink for our patience or something like that.

FullSizeRender (14)I couldn’t help but be disappointed with the size of mine when it came.
It just looked like a little heap on a big plate.
The taste however, was something else. Every ingredient in there was fresh and bursting with flavour. The sugo was delicious. Although I couldn’t see a lot of crab, the taste was strong throughout.

Unfortunately I also got a bit of shell in my dish which really spoiled it for me.
I’m normally weirded out by seafood but really wanted to step out of my comfort zone by ordering this dish and that shell didn’t do much for my bravery! However up until that point I had really been enjoying it.

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Hubby was really looking forward to his calzone as it had been a while since he had one.

Yes, it was served on a wooden board. You can’t see it in the picture but there was also a large crack on it – that’s where the germs live – at least, that how I saw it.
To make things worse, an ant came up out of somewhere, crawling along the edge of the board.
Those are the type of things you have to put out of your mind when you’re hungry.

As for the taste… the filling was delicious! The sugo was divine! the pastry? Well that was uncooked. As soon as I saw it I could tell but I tasted some also and it just tasted like completely raw dough. Now THAT was disappointing for a place that is supposed to be serving quality food.
I’m not sure if it’s able to be seen in the photo I took but that is absolutely raw dough.
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They had made us wait for that food and honestly I would have waited longer, that would have been ok, rather than have food that is not cooked properly.

Although it sounds like I’m having a big whinge, there were lots of things I liked about Jimmies. I think the chef is on track, he, or whoever  is preparing the food, just needs to pay a little more attention to detail. The quality of the ingredients and food is undeniable but shell in your food and raw dough is unacceptable.
I hope this doesn’t put you off going there though and I’d be inclined to revisit in twelve months or so to see if anything has changed.

Have you been to Jimmies?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below….

Till next we chow….