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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Girls Gone Mild – Day Two

I know what you’re thinking. You’re all wondering how much Baileys is left right? And how can I call this “Girls Gone Mild” when there’s Baileys???
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Let me educate the uninformed.
When you give a bunch of women (who normally don’t drink) a shot or two of Bailey’s, it very quickly becomes a “Girls Gone Mild” night with some of us not even making it to the end of The Bachelor (save the jokes, I get it – The Bachelor would put anyone to sleep)

But the early night meant that a couple of us were ready very early for the 24 hour gym!

 

The gym has more than treadmills but that was the only thing I was interested in. It’s a nice huge area but there are no televisions. We made do with Netflix/podcasts on our phones and we definitely appreciated the gym, television or not.

IMG_7892Like any city, there is a lot of poverty around and it just breaks your heart.
Every now and then my sister especially, is moved to speak to one of them and share what she has with them.

Yesterday she met Craig who she had a little chat with and she had some left over food with her so she left that with him.

 

Yes I know there’s a whole debate about why there’s a homeless situation in the first place but I know that at the very least, this guy’s day was a little better for that moment.

 

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Today we were adamant that we weren’t going to do anything else until we went to DFO.

It was such a nice day that we decided to walk down there.

 


Snapping a few pics along the way of course….

 


6We walked along at our own place and were soon sitting in the DFO Food Court Area.

We hadn’t thought to look up the time the shops opened and were 30 minutes early.

Perfect time for a yoghurt parfait if you ask me.

My daughter, sister and I were eager to start shopping and had been counting down the seconds to 10 o’clock.

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My mother and sister in law were more relaxed and just happy to be out and about and if a bargain presented itself, all the better.

But thankfully they were happy enough to sit and wait for us while we tried on just about everything we put our hands on.

Speaking of trying this on, here are a few pictures of things we may or may not have bought…

 

With regards to the pic on the most right, in my defense, after a couple of hours taking off and putting on your jeans, if you don’t have to take them all the way off, leaving them at your ankles is fine enough. (Have you got a certain Nickelback song going through your head right now????)

11aHubby, who tried hard to invite himself but is sadly not on this trip (I don’t think he understands what a “girl’s shopping trip” means) wanted to shout us all a birthday meal in honour of my mum’s birthday. So sweet – and as we passed Sam Sam (Korean restaurant on Swanston st) my daughter got super excited and that was enough for her nonna to say “Let’s go here” and what a good choice it was!

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Some of us had never had Bibimbap (bottom right) so four of us ordered it!! And it was just so good!!!


The next mandatory stop was the Dangerfield outlet store, with a few more pics along the way. Hubby look away now because if first base is hand holding I got to first base with this guy (below). I think he was puckering up for a kiss too. Bit forward.


After a few more hours of shopping (and some fabulous purchases) we saw this sign above a store.

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Before I knew it, the words “in other words, old and fat” came out of my mouth. What I didn’t know, was that the owner of the store whose sign this was, was standing in the doorway. Suffice to say, she was not impressed.

We were getting overdue for a drink break so found ourselves in one of the lovely malls and stopped for some dessert and drinks.


We were going to stop at Hopetoun Tea rooms (pic left) but it was too crowded so we moved on. I can’t remember the name of the place but when we told the waitress that it was my mum’s birthday, she brought out a candle and helped us sing! She was so lovely.


The desserts, coffee/tea and wine were pretty good too!


And a few more pics of us because why take the pictures otherwise?


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On the way back to the apartment I was approached for money in a unique way so I gave him a bit of time.
He told me he was an Aussie legend (yes self proclaimed) and involved or responsible for the Ocean’s Eleven movie.
He said he was trying to produce a new movie that was a comedy along the line of “Shameless”.
I didn’t have any cash on me but I was interested to hear how he was going to spin this plug for money.

My mum, being mumma bear, finally had enough and got between us and said “we don’t have anything to give you” and I’m pretty sure there were curse words being spoken behind me as we walked on without him. Ah well. Who carries cash with them these days anyhow??

I’m pretty sure it’s going to be another night of Netflix and The Bachelor but we’ve had such a full day, nobody is complaining!! Plus, we have an abundance of shopping bags strewn about the apartment that are a testament to the great day we have already had!!

So please excuse me, I have some organising to do!

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Roman Around – Day Four

We have done so much walking today!!
It was probably as much as the other days but it felt like so much more because we really went off track…

36352971_10156480851687480_5418792849602772992_n.jpgWe started the day early, walking into the historic centre.

Had to stop for a coffee first and this place was kind of interesting!!! Something to note if you come here, if you have your coffee at the “bar” rather than at a table, you will save yourself at least 2 Euro!

We wanted to take a few pictures at the Fountain of Trevi during the day, and then continue on into Travestere.

We found the fountain ok, but even at that early hour it was full of people and hard to get a decent shot.
We still haven’t thrown a coin over our shoulder into it!! Must remember to do that.

36347765_10156480856152480_8660236558026145792_n.jpgNext stop was the Pantheon!! Another site I wanted to take day photos at. We stumbled upon it by accident. Such an impressive building.


I know we’ve seen these sights before but soon we’ll be gone and who knows when I’ll get to see them again.

Found this cute little sign on a wall.

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We passed through Piazza Navona again which, in my opinion, is underrated. I looked up at the apartments and wondered who lives there!! and what are they paying to live there? Do the constant stream of tourists bother them? So many questions!


We hadn’t really had breakfast so hubby and I decided to look for more “special” pizza to have. We didn’t find it right away, but we did see this. Have you ever seen a bigger piece of Mortadella!!!!

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I should have got hubby to stand next to it for perspective.

Before we knew it we were crossing the bridge over into Travestere


That picture on the left is not Bocca Della Verita but I really wanted it to be… so we went past it and continued over the bridge.

Oh my god was it so nice over this side!!!! It was quiet, and peaceful and just what you’d expect Italy to be. We also noticed the prices were much cheaper.
We just wanted to keep ordering food!! We got coffee at one place, dessert at another. I didn’t even photograph the dessert I was so excited to eat it! It was full of this delicious custard! Oh god, it would be worth the walk over the bridge to get that again!

And it was just so pretty over there. Please, if you find yourself in Rome, you MUST go to Travestere!


I really should have taken more photos. I felt so at home in this section.

Without any plan or guidance, we started walking south and it soon turned, not so nice.
Well , in fairness, it got average, and then not so nice.

I had been looking for a handbag since we were in Greece and didn’t see anything I really liked. There was this one bag from a street vendor in Greece I kind of liked but was not in the mood to haggle.

I noticed it on the street in Travestere and while hubby was looking at the price, the guy came up and said it was a super special morning discount. The price quoted was 40 Euro but he said he’d sell it for 30 Euro. I said I wasn’t interested and for that price, I really wasn’t.. but he was so desperate and he said “What price would you pay for it” and I answered honestly “20 Euro”. I thought that was fair. It’s not leather after all, just a nice big bag I can wear on my back.

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He tried to ask for 25 Euro but when I said I wasn’t going to pay that and started to walk away, he said “Ok 20 Euro” and started to take the paper stuffing out to prepare it for sale right away, as if he was scared I was going to change my mind about the 20 Euro.

I felt so bad.

He just seemed so desperate for money and there is such poverty in the streets here.

I love my new bag though!

As we continued walking we found ourselves in an area that could be anywhere in the world. Not old, not new, just neutral. We didn’t really know where we were, we just continued walking.

We got some pizza at a pretty good price! And a couple of arancini balls.

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We needed a bathroom break so ducked into the free washrooms at McDonalds and I took a photo of the menu – Not sure if you can see it. Interesting to see a familiar menu in a different language.

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By now we were pretty tired and had no clue where we were. We crossed the bridge back over to “our” side but still had no clue. Nothing looked familiar and we were on wide roads with tons of cars streaming past. I looked on Google Maps and told hubby I thought we should be heading in a certain direction, but he was sure it was another direction and off we trotted…. and we walked, and walked and walked… and finally I said “Please for the love of God we have to ask someone or check Google Maps”
And turns out, we were walking in the wrong direction… Probably on our way to Naples.
Not that we could tell what Google Maps was saying as we had no reference point.

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When we asked the guy at the petrol stop where to go, he pointed in the direction we had just come from and said “second left after the gate”

I think he meant this gate?

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It still felt really foreign and we passed all sorts of ruins we hadn’t seen before or even heard about.

I’m sorry I didn’t take pictures. I think I was just too tired.

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I promised hubby we would stop for icecream (haha) so as soon as we hit civilisation, (as we had been walking down a freeway for quite some time up until this point) I got us some ice cream.

It was absolutely  delicious!

When we finally got back to the apartment I had a glass or two of Limoncello and I was out like a light.

No more Limoncello for me ever again please!!!

IMG_7520Although we love pasta and pizza, we were looking for something different tonight.

Am I wrong in thinking there’s only so much pasta and pizza you can eat?

We walked past a million places and finally settled on this one place that seemed ok. I think we were just tired of walking and looking.

Hubby thought he might like some risotto and this place had it on the menu so in we went.
Most people sat outside but I kind of liked the interior. It was cute.

I don’t think you can see it in the picture but at the top of the wall there is a painting of different parts of Rome. It’s really well done.

I went for something light – Some bruschetta and minestrone soup and hubby had a risotto and cannelloni.


I wasn’t a fan of the bruschetta because it had rocket throughout it and not basil.
The minestrone was ok. Hubby was happy with his.
I feel like I need a change of cuisine tomorrow thought.

The supermarkets close at 10pm here which meant we couldn’t get any sneaky snacks to bring home! Probably just as well.

Goodnight and god bless.

Roman Around – Day Two

Nobody tours like hubby and I tour. Now that we’re on our own we don’t have anyone to slow us down and that’s not a good thing. We need to be slowed down because we just walk to a site, see it, and then say “Ok, I’ve seen it now, what’s next”. We don’t go in, explore or get to know information about it.

In any case we walked many kilometres today and saw many things. Half the things I took photos of, I don’t know anything about. Or maybe I read a bit about it while we were at the site but I didn’t retain the information. It’s all on the internet if I want to know right?

So this is the uneducated version of someone’s trip to Rome.

IMG_7314We started the day with an espresso thanks to the machine in our apartment then hit the ground running fairly early, looking for a supermarket to get some goodies.
Everytime we go to a new country I’m so excited to see the supermarkets to see what foods they have, and how they differ to what I’m used to.

They had lots of pastries and lots of things I love. I didn’t take photos. I thought it was a little dearer than what I’m used to but we are in a tourist area so that probably has something to do with it too.

I tried to make a plan but it just doesn’t work with us. We walked and soon enough, we were back at the colosseum.
The crowds, as I had read, were just horrendous. I’m not even talking about the crowds to get in, just the crowds in general!!!

There were people trying to sell us water, hats, or just begging for money. They are EVERYWHERE! There are people trying to sell you “beat the queue” tickets. If you don’t like crowds or are even mildly agoraphobic, this is not the place for you.

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We walked past the Roman Forum and again, crowds, people and peddlers everywhere.

We found ourselves at this church. I didn’t get the name but the guy outside said “no charge” to enter and when he had enough people, he would give us a free tour.

Hubby and I looked inside and decided we’ve had our tour and didn’t wait for his guidance.
Not to say we made the right decision, just stating what we did.

More pictures as we walked along.

If you know what it all is, that’s great, I’m not going to trust my memory in fear of writing something that’s incorrect.

Oh and these guys were causing quite a stir!!! (above)They look pretty good don’t they!
If you think about it for half a second you can see how they’re doing it, but it still looks pretty impressive. Kids must love it!!! Be prepared to give a donation if you take a photo.

One of my favourite sites is Altare della Patria. The Altare della Patria (“Altar of the Fatherland”), also known as the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (“National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II”) or Il Vittoriano, is a monument built in honor of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy, located in Rome, Italy. It occupies a site between the Piazza Venezia and the Capitoline Hill.

I don’t know why I like this building, I just do.

A few more pics before we stopped for lunch…


Those ‘invisible’ men were pretty freaky. As you can see in that middle pic, the guy on my left held hands with me. The one on my right was saying “oh you are so beautiful I want to kiss you” then made kissing sounds. It was a bit gross. Again, you need to leave a donation if you want a picture of or with these guys.
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We needed a snack so we got some pizza. This was just so delicious!!!

I didn’t photograph mine but took a quick pic of the display inside.
It was just a pop up type store. No seating inside, just go in, get pizza, go out and enjoy!

When we did eventually stop for lunch, we probably walked into the wrong kind of place. What we did eat was so damn good but it was small and a bit expensive.
From my limited experience here, I think the street food is so much better, more authentic and cheaper.


However again, what we did eat was just delectable!!!

We decided to see if we could find the Vatican… I think we might have been going in the wrong direction (my mistake) but we saw things and I snapped pics along the way.


In the end I had to use my Italian to ask a security guy if he could point us in the direction of the Vatican and he was so nice and showed us the way…


Again, horrendously busy here. If you want to go inside, you’d be much better off pre-purchasing your tickets.

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We got some gelato…. sooo good!! Hubby was jealous because he thought mine was bigger than his but this is an argument we have often.
Mine isn’t bigger, he just wants more than his share.

Oh and I had seen this Roma cap in a few tourist stores for about 5 Euro. I went to one place and asked how much and he said 10 Euro!! I laughed and said “no way, I’ve seen it for 5”
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He then came back with “8 Euro for you” I started walking away and said, “No thank you” and even as I was away from him he was calling out “miss, miss, 7 Euro?”

And not even 100 metres down the road I found it for 5 Euro.

The exact same one.

Don’t know if you can tell how tired I am in that pic but I was nearing the end and knew we had a long way back still.

Snapped some more pics…


OH, and we’d seen movie trucks earlier in the day. When we were going through a certain area, we noticed some commotion and some girls asked us to wait as they were filming a scene.
I took a pic but couldn’t work out what was going on.

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Hubby and I bought a bottle of Lambrusco to enjoy this afternoon. Just want to have a little relaxing time before heading out for dinner. It was just delicious!  Every wine I’ve had here so far has been so good!

We had a long late siesta and didn’t leave our room to get something to eat until after 9.30pm. I was surprised to see a lot of places were closing or about to close! We walked past the supermarket about 10.10pm and found that to be closed too.

In the end we went past a sort of cafe that also sold goods and bought a variety of yummy foods to take away.

We walked more than thirty kilometres today so even though our bed here is as hard as a rock it wasn’t long before we were fast, fast asleep!

Buona notte!

Greece is the Word – Day Twelve

Today is our second to last full day here in Greece.
I’ve not been able to find diet soft drinks (soda) here apart from Pepsi Max or Sugar Free Coke.
The same thing happened when we were in Japan although I did eventually find it in the odd store here and there.

Here in Greece, I’ve looked in many places and just can’t find it.

In Australia, and I imagine in Canada and America, there are huge selections of diet drinks. These countries also have the highest obesity rates.  Makes me wonder if there is any connection.

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Had to laugh at the name of this store (left).

Wasn’t sure if I was actually reading it correctly at first!

Speaking of walking, in Australia we drive on the left side of the road and consequently, when we walk down a footpath, we also keep left.
I keep wanting to keep left while walking here, but they’re used to keeping right. Everyone sub -consciously walks on the side they’re used to being on.

We drove to Kifisia. Such a pretty place and again, different to many of the other places we have been to in Greece. Kifisia is an upscale residential and shopping district with international designer boutiques, exclusive leather goods stores and art galleries. Imagine my surprise when I saw the store pictured above because that’s where that picture comes from.
There are pretty park lands in the area too.

Here are a few pictures I took as we walked along.


Not many pictures – I thought I took more.

We stopped for lunch and the place we went to didn’t have Greek Salad on the menu so we were forced to be adventurous which turned out to be a good thing because the salad I ate was so delicious with raisans and slices of orange in it. So good!!
We also got some pizza.

I can’t remember what the dish on the far right was called but it was mozzarella wrapped with eggplant and in that delicious tomato sauce. Again, soooo good!

9B790277-B321-465F-BA12-843803D2BCD3On the way back we passed by the Original Olympic stadium. The Panathenaic Stadium or Kallimarmaro is a multi-purpose stadium in Athens.

Hubby and I went to take a look and noticed so many people posing in front of it.

Some people were doing star jumps, others were doing John Travolta style dance poses.
It was fun to watch!

Of course, that meant I had to join in. Hubby and I tried to get some star jump pics in but I failed – I should really post the fail pictures because they were way funnier than these but I guess I still have some dignity left so I better work at keeping it.


And now for some other pics we took that don’t involve posing or star jump attempts.


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I lied, there was a bit of posing involved.

Oh and we noticed you could see the Acropolis from here too if you looked hard enough!

I like how the traffic sign here tells you how long you have to wait until you get a green walk signal.

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And a few more pics from the surrounding area…


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Had to laugh at this – I don’t think it was a typo, it probably means something but it was still funny to me.

Hubby asked if that’s the type of wine I like to drink…

Tonight for dinner we were back in that Plaka area – The same area that we caught the subway from where hubby’s wallet was pick-pocketed. I noticed there were quite a few people wearing their bags and back packs in front of them so I did the same even though I felt silly doing it.
By the way, Pláka is an old historical neighborhood of Athens, clustered around the northern and eastern slopes of the Acropolis, it incorporates labyrinthine streets and neoclassical architecture

Our company chose a fantastic restaurant where two guys were providing some great Greek entertainment.

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I did take a video later on in the evening when a couple of the diners… or one may have been a server, got up to do some Greek dancing! I took my phone out to video it and then looked around and there was at least one person from every table recording it!

Tomorrow is our last full day here and then a surprise awaits…. Stay tuned.