Melbourne (pron: mel – bin)

Yep, that’s right.  As soon as we arrived Down Under we were notified that if we are going to “fit in” we better pronounce Melbourne as Melbin.  So we do!  🙂

This was our first trip after getting back from the states. We were SO excited!!

Our first stop: The Qantas Lounge a.k.a. free drinks at the airport.  The absolute BEST way to start a vacation!

IMG_8689

We arrived in Melbourne late on Friday night.  We took an airport shuttle from the airport to the bus station in the Melbourne CBD and could tell just from our walk to our hotel that it was a pretty neat city.  The next day, we woke up to this view:

photo (57)

It was SO AWESOME!

The majority of the time, we were just our own little tour guides in the city.  We went there not really knowing what we should do so we made it up ourselves!  Sometimes that makes for the best vacations, right?!

The main mode of public transportation in the city is their tram system.

IMG_8699

IMG_8716

Some of them were super old, like the first one, but they had really new modern ones too.  My favorites were the older ones.  For some reason I thought they were just really neat!

IMG_8731

This is us on the free tram.  They had a tram that just looped the city.  You can hop on and off as often as you wish so we took it for a ride!

Here are some more random pics from around the city:

IMG_8704

The city was FILLED with these little alleys.  It seemed that every single alleyway between buildings was utilized in some way, either shops, restaurants, street music.  Really neat!

IMG_8708

This is kind of a weird picture but it’s of the Federation Square in the city.  I don’t have a picture of the entire area because it was HUGE!  Tons of steps and chairs were all around this open, bricked area.  There was a big TV that showed movies and commercials and other things going on in the city.  It was really neat and a perfect example of how the city caters to the tourists!

IMG_8707

This is just to the right of the picture above.  Everywhere you looked, there were the cables for the trams and every intersection looked like an electrical fire just waiting to happen!

I feel like it is this way in all the cities we’ve visited in Australia so far, but the architecture is really mixed.  They are old cities so they have the dated architecture which reminds me of some European city but right next to the old building there will be an ultra modern building – all glass and white and bright.  It’s really neat and definitely makes the cities very interesting!

We were told we had to see St. Kilda!  It was about a 45 minute tram ride outside of the city to the coast.  Everyone that told us to go was right!  It was so fun!  I love seeing public beaches and in Australia they all seem so legit! A bunch of adults hanging out with their friends, having a beer and taking in the rays!

We just happened to show up during an air show!

IMG_8737

I think the neatest part of St. Kilda were all the boats out on the water!  It was SO cool – there were hundreds!

IMG_8734

IMG_8743

Lunch 🙂

More of the beach…I’m telling you – I love the look of a crowded beach!  And thanks to a nifty Instagram filter you might just mistake me for hanging out on the beach in 1973…

IMG_8745

The next day we woke up to boat races on the river outside of our hotel.

IMG_8747

And since we had taken in the most of what the city had to offer we decided it was the perfect time for both of us to visit our first aquarium!

IMG_8781

IMG_8786

IMG_8799

I think this little (huge) guy is at the bottom of the Lake of the Ozarks… *gag*

IMG_8818

IMG_8834

Yes, those are sharks behind my little honey bun’s head…and now I’ve officially scared myself out of ever diving again. Whoops.

IMG_8848

The sting ray was legitimately the size of a VW Beetle.

Can you tell we were like kids in a candy store at the aquarium?!  It was a blast!

IMG_8865

We ended the day, before catching our flight back to Brissy taking in some of the best sushi in Melbourne!  It was my first experience with a Sushi Train! I know, sounds a bit *ahem* fishy 😉 …but all it is a moving platform. The sushi chef prepares each plate individually and puts them on the moving platform.  Everyone is lined up and when you see something you like you grab it and enjoy! So quick, so easy and not nearly as relaxing as one would think!  Since only one or two of an item come out at once someone might pick it up before it gets to you…yeah, I know.  Stressful and totally worth it!  😉

IMG_8862

A few hours later we boarded our flight back to our ‘home for now’!

Oh, and shout out to Qantas…your free cocktails on all domestic flights during the week is still a real treat!

Our Engagement Photo Session Down Under

As soon as we got engaged, we knew we wanted to get engagement photos taken in Australia – in the city we lived in when we got engaged!  It only made sense.

So, we got a recommendation from a friend/co-worker of Ben, Lauryn.  She used the photog for her engagement photos and he came highly recommended!  Jack did a great job including our 3rd subject: The City.

I have already posted all of them on Facebook so there is nothing new here. 🙂

Enjoy!

DSC_1573 DSC_1581 DSC_1679 DSC_1715 DSC_1830_2 DSC_1855 DSC_1867 DSC_1920 DSC_1930 DSC_1979 DSC_1999_2 IMG_8637

The Floods (and a Cyclone?!)

Whoa. Yeah, I know.  I just made a mighty announcement that I’ve booked my flight to move HOME and I’m just now blogging for the first time since being back.  SO SORRY!  Not that a single one of you care since I talk to most of you daily anyway :))

Well… we’ve actually been busy to say the least.  As everyone knows, wedding planning is in full swing.  Which means so is planning for the Bachelorette (and the corresponding Bachelor) Party and pretending like I have showers to dress for (i.e. looking at Lilly Pulitzer dresses online WAY too often for anyone’s good.)  Besides that, we are spending most of the time daydreaming about our future life back in St. Louis and looking at houses for sale in our favorite neighborhoods!  It is SO FUN!

On to what we’ve been up to Down Under!

A few weeks after we got back, we experience our 2nd cyclone!  Our first was in Fiji.  And we really just thought it was a thunderstorm.  It blew in and out over night. No biggie.  This time around was slightly different.  We experienced a cyclone from 31 floors up!  Our apartment building was creaking, and swaying and whistling.  Really!  The wind was whistling. I don’t know what it was blowing through – our doors were closed but it was whistling!  I felt like the building could fall over at any minute!

After a weekend of cyclone powered winds and rain, it finally ended!  And in true Aussie style, the skies cleared completely!

IMG_8547

 

And the river flooded.

You can see how brown the water was!  They shut down the CityCat – the public transportation systems that run on the river.  There was so much debris running down the river the boats couldn’t travel safely.

IMG_8538

IMG_8553

 

This was down at the Eagle Street Pier.  I’ve shown you pictures of this area before.  It’s our favorite place to get drinks or eat out.  The water flooded a few of the restaurants and closed the pier for a few days.  It was really pretty sad to see!  There were areas outside of the city that really flooded and because of the major flood in the city in 2011 (in case you’re interested: http://www.abc.net.au/news/specials/qld-floods/) a few years ago everyone was on high alert!  Luckily it was not nearly as devastating but it was scary none-the-less!

I promise…I’ll keep updating on what we’ve been doing.  I promise 🙂