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Festive Melbourne!

Rialto Towers Hotel & Observation Deck

Xmas Day morning

Xmas Day morning

Welcomed by our Xmas Day host Gordon Jonstone (Gordy)

Paul's pre-lunch beers with James & Paul

Sophy & Rhiane

Sophy trying cricket for the first time!

Xmas Arvo Cricket Team - braving the wind, cold & rain!

We arrived in Melbourne at Midday from our flight from Brisbane. First impressions of Melbourne was that it was quite cold and after speaking to some people, we understood Melbourne can have all 4 seasons in one day! We caught the airport bus to our central 4 star hotel which was a little Xmas present to ourselves, as well as getting upgraded to a Deluxe room and a very good deal with the help of Sophy's colleague Regan (Big Thanks Regan!). We went out to explore and first point of call was the Rialto Towers which has a 55th Floor Observation deck that gave us great views of the city and gave us our 1st look at the MCG where we would be to watch the Ashes on the 27/28th. There were many impressive buildings to see: the Rod Laver arena (Melbourne Tennis Open held there in Jan), Telestra Dome (Robbie and Kylie performed in Dec) and the Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit. Although the city was very large, the tram set up made all the attractions very accesible and easy to find. Just next to the river was the Melbourne Aquarium so we spent the rest of the afternoon there, saw many sharks, stingrays, jellyfish and other fish which was pretty cool and popular. A spot of Xmas Shopping on Swanston St, then we headed back to the hotel where there were a lot of English supporters who had been congregating in the bar, so we just chilled and had a nice Xmas Eve meal there. Finally it was Christmas Day and after our top brekky in the festive hotel bar, it was over to Port Melbourne to spend the day CHEZ Gordon Johnstone and his flat mate Rob who had invited us fellow pommies over for a Barby! It only took 20mins by tram but took a little longer as we wnet the worng way from the tram and we had kept getting caught in the rain with our boxes of booze! We arrived at "Gordy's" for lunch, and we soon recognised more Maidonians than expected from our nights out at Smokies and the good old Hanks. Paul Kingston (Kingo) and James Rickman were also there from Maidenhead as well as the people they were travelling with as well as friends of Gordy and his flat mate Rob. There was plenty of food to go round (BBQ was done on the balcony instead of on the beach) and a bath full of beers to curb our Xmas thirst. As more people arrived, the party started to pick up as well as the traditional game of Trivial Pursuit which of course we were totally beaten at. In typical Aussie tradition, the party was taken outside for a game of Beach/Terrace cricket at which point, the weather took a turn for the worst but still didn't stop us all having a bat and ball, a good laugh especially with Ben Culora being caught and bowled by Paul for a Golden Duck, and another guest being caught Barnett Bowled Bowden...... oh and let's not forget.... the highlights of Gordy stacking it in the slips and the fine one handed batting from Mr Kingston (who refused to put down his beer). One of Gordy's friends Andy (looked like Chris Evans) unfortunatley ruptured his achilles playing football, but it gave Paul the opportunity to buy his ticket for the Boxing Day test. Paul enjoyed the first day of the Cricket and Sophy went shopping and to the cinema with her new friend Rhiane. A big thanks to Gordy and Rob for a great and hospitable to remember for sure! Rob - make sure you e-mail us your "Queen's speech" which you so expertly wrote and presented to us pommies!!! :O)

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