Friday, June 26, 2015

Scenes From the Week

As usual, most of the pictures I took this week are food-related. At some point in my life I'm going to have to cut back on eating out multiple times a week, but that point is not now.
On Wednesday night, I hit up the Queen Victoria Night Market again with a few friends and had this awesome pulled pork dish. It kind of reminded me of a Chipotle burrito bowl which made me miss the real thing. Don't worry, Peter already looked into franchising a Chipotle in Australia and even contacted the corporate office. It doesn't sound promising...
Tonight Peter and I went to happy hour at Bluetrain, a restaurant/bar in Southgate just down the street from us. They have $4 beer (apparently not good beer, according to Peter, but beggars can't be choosers) and $5 wine. This is by far the cheapest alcohol I've seen, so this is my new favorite place. Plus it's kind of funky and has cool bathrooms, which is important. I may be alone in this, but bathrooms make or break a place, in my opinion. 
After drinks we headed to South Yarra for sushi at Ichi Ichi Ku. We also ordered some dumplings and this beef dish:
The sushi was average but the rest of the food was awesome. We really haven't found any really great sushi in Melbourne yet which is kind of weird to me. 

For the sake of a picture that isn't food-related, here's one I took on our walk to dinner: 
Look at all those bikes that probably belong to people far fitter than I am! I think the last time I rode a bike was circa 2005 and I fell over when I stopped at a crosswalk. Never again.

We still have a fair amount of winter left to go, but I have to say I'm ready for some warmer weather. Either a) 55 degrees feels a lot colder here than it does at home or b) I've become an extreme wimp after enduring an Australian summer. Either way, it's pretty chilly most days and we've had the heat on quite a bit this week. 

Travel Updates:
1) Next weekend I road trip to Canberra with Sylvie and Katie to check out the coastline between here and there and renew Sylvie's passport at the Belgian embassy. It'll be fun to check out the capital city of Australia!

2) We are finalizing plans for our Brisbane trip in the beginning of August and have come up with an itinerary, I think. We plan to stay in Brisbane for a day and a half (long enough to hold a koala and check out the city) before heading north to Hervey Bay, which is famous for whale watching. Peter really wants to see whales and August is prime whale spotting season, so we figured it's now or never. Plus, Hervey Bay is near Fraser Island, which is on my list of places to see. Apparently it's the largest sand island in the world and is home to rain forests, swamps, sand dunes, and spectacular beaches, so we've got to check it out. We then plan to drive back down the coast toward Brisbane, stopping in Noosa, a beach town, along the way. I think it'll be an awesome mini vacation!
Saturday, June 20, 2015

Winter Night Market

The Queen Victoria Market hosts the Winter Night Market each Wednesday, much like it did in the summer, complete with food stalls and entertainment. I checked it out this week with a few friends and although the popular vendors had long lines, the cooler temperatures definitely deterred some people. This was a nice change from the Summer Night Market during which I remember feeling like I was at the Minnesota State Fair. For those to whom that means nothing, imagine wall-to-wall people as far as the eye can see. And 90 degrees.  
Some ambiguous artwork I don't "get" but looks cool nonetheless. I always wonder who had the idea for this kind of thing. Like "hey guys let's hang a bunch of wood crates (?) from that pole". Or something. 
Creepin on the people next to us. 
Some of the permanent shops were open for the night markets as well. There's a photographer in one of these stalls that sells the most amazing pictures of Melbourne and the surrounding area. We will definitely end up purchasing a print at some point.

The lines for the barbecue I was eyeing were a bit lengthy, so we settled for Sloppy Joe's. I was curious to see what they would look like, as it's not a food that really exists here (my Australian friends had never heard of a sloppy joe). Turns out these were more like bolognese on a hoagie bun with french fries on top. So, not a sloppy joe. 
Sure that these poser sloppy joes wouldn't compare to the real deal, I ordered the macaroni and cheese instead. 
This was literally Kraft macaroni with crumbs on top and it was glorious. At home I would probably revolt if I ordered macaroni and got Kraft, but I was actually happy about it since I essentially lived off Easy Mac in college and haven't really had it since.

The Winter Night Market is on every Wednesday until the end of August, so if you're in the area I'd definitely recommend checking it out!
Sunday, June 14, 2015

Whitehaven Beach

Today I'm finally wrapping up our Whitsundays/Great Barrier Reef vacation. After our epic scenic flight on Thursday morning, we spent the afternoon on an ocean rafting tour, which consisted of snorkeling, hiking Hill Inlet and a visit to the world-famous Whitehaven Beach.
Packed a bit tight on the boat.
Beautiful scenery along the way. 
After snorkeling, the boat dropped us at Hill Inlet. For those who aren't familiar, Hill Inlet is located on the north end of Whitehaven Beach and changes with the tides to create really cool swirls of sand.
Whitehaven Beach is famous for powdery white sand and crystal clear water and it definitely delivered! Something about the sand makes it so that it doesn't get hot, so it felt nice and cool on our feet.  
 There were thousands of these little crabs running all over. I wanted to bring one home!
 We hiked across the beach and about 15 minutes up to a lookout where we had amazing views of Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet.
 It's a little bit hard to believe this place actually exists in real life.
On our way back down to the beach we stopped at the restroom and I spotted the single biggest spider I've ever seen in my life. It was literally the size of my face and I was terrified.
Just in case you wanted a close up. 
Pulling up to Whitehaven Beach!
We had a really good lunch on the beach and it was all perfect until we looked behind us and this unidentified creature/monster was making its way toward us:
 The thing was NOT scared and apparently can smell food from miles away. I think it could also sense fear because it was only interested in my plate and left everyone else alone.
Literally terrifying. 
Once we were done eating the lizard thing left us alone and naturally we took selfies. 
One more selfie before heading back to the boat!
If this isn't paradise I don't know what is. Definitely the best beach I've ever been to, and I've seen some good beaches!

And that officially concludes our trip to The Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef. Peter and I agreed it was the most amazing place we had ever been and we will definitely be back in the future. 
Friday, June 12, 2015

Saturday Snaps

Today was a beautiful winter day in Melbourne, so I wandered around the city a bit en route to my usual Saturday errands. After being away for a week, I found myself really appreciating all the little things that make this place so great!
Bourke Street Mall, home of lots of shopping and street performers
I don't even know the name of this little laneway right off of the Bourke Street Mall, but I like it.
The Block Arcade laneway
Shops in the Block Arcade
Centre Place, one of the most famous Melbourne laneways. I stopped for a smoked salmon crepe at the place on the left-so good! I was pretty proud of myself for ordering a real crepe instead of the Nutella one.
Foot traffic in Centre Place
Saturday lunch crowd
Inside the creperie
Centre Place from the other end, where it meets Flinders Lane. 
Southbank on the right and the CBD on the left 
My favorite stretch of the Melbourne skyline 

Overall not a bad backdrop to run errands to! 
Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Minnesota Trip

I returned to Melbourne yesterday from my brief trip home to Minnesota. Someone remind me next time that one week is really not enough time to adjust to the time difference before turning around to go back again! The jet lag didn't stop me from having a great week with friends and family, though. Here are some photos from the trip!
I hoarded all the raspberries at my mom's of those little Driscoll's packages is $8-$10 in Australia!
I was so excited to see my mom's dog, Leo! He's so cute and my sister and I talk semi-seriously about cloning him.
On Wednesday we had a birthday dinner for my mom, whose actual birthday was on Tuesday. I failed to take any pictures other than this cute one of my sister and my cousin's baby, who I got to meet for the first time!  
Hanging out with my college friends is always a highlight-these people are the greatest and always make me feel welcome when I come home!
My youngest sister's graduation party was Friday, so my middle sister and I gave her a graduation gift beforehand. Everyone needs a good selfie stick! 
Testing out the gift. It's sure to be a hit at college parties. 
Kathryn's graduation shrine-a staple at grad parties. I'm not sure if these things are a big deal in other parts of the country/world, but our grad parties tend to be a big production. You generally order tons of food (my sister chose tacos and ice cream) and invite everyone you know to stop by. Side note: I made that 'Kathryn' sign so I'm basically a creative genius...follow me on Pinterest!
My sisters and I before the party started. 
The pianist, who added a really classy touch to the party! 
Near the end, we ran out of cheese for the tacos. My amazing high school friend Jenny jumped right into grating more.
Jenny sent me this timehop today. My most vivid memory from my own graduation experience (8 years ago-scary) was eating these cheese sandwiches at Jenny's house on the last day of high school. Good times. 
One of the best parts of going home is digging up old photo gems like this one. I think I was 6, somewhere in London, and was a complete gangster. 
Saturday was the actual graduation. I can't believe my youngest sister is a high school graduate! Time flies. 
The scoreboard in the gym, set to 2015. I remember this exact same touch at my own 2007 graduation from the same high school. I am old. 
Blurry photo of Kathryn accepting her diploma! The iPhone camera is just useless as soon as you try to zoom in.
The graduate. 
One of my high school friends has a sister graduating this year as well, so she was in town from Washington DC. The best part was that she brought her baby, who is now more like a toddler, but I finally got to meet him this weekend! He's super cute. So glad I got to see a few high school friends!
More blurry photos! My parents live in a suburb of Minneapolis, but get a large amount of wildlife for a city. I saw a big turtle crossing the road a few minutes before this random deer ran through the cul-de-sac. 
On Sunday night, my stepmom made these amazing pork burgers. Very hipster/Melbourne! 
Monday came way too soon and before I knew it I was back at the airport, at the gate with this unattended cat. 
The lady finally came back and then let the thing out of the carrier for some unknown reason. I dislike cats, and this one was especially creepy. Look at its eye!

I was so happy to be able to make it home for my mom's birthday and sister's graduation and hope to see some of these people in Melbourne in the next year (hint: come visit us, people!). Now I'm off to sleep for a few days.


Welcome! I started Laura and Peter Down Under in July 2014 when my husband and I moved from the States to Melbourne, Australia for his job. I blog about expat life, our travels, food, and whatever else comes to mind. Follow along on our adventures Down Under!



Search This Blog

Popular Posts



Powered by Blogger.



Email *

Message *