Oh the excitement of exploring a new city……
Yesterday was a very long and exhausting day. I have to admit there were times I definitely thought to myself, I will never ever do that flight again. 12:30am scheduled time with a 90 minute delay, it was hideous, what was I thinking booking that when traveling with a child?! (I was thinking about my hip pocket of course!). But, in the light of day with 11 hours sleep under our belt, it doesn’t seem that bad.
When we arrived, we were met by an old friend of mine. On our walk to her car we realised it was 11 years since we last saw each other. There are some people you meet in life, that you know no matter how long between meetings, it will always be the same and she is one of them. She took us to a lovely suburban cafe where we enjoyed a strong Melbourne coffee, a big breakfast and a great catch up. For me, she managed to wash away the tired and grumpiness of the flight (maybe not for everyone!).
After a little rest at her lovely home, we were on the train and heading into the centre, ready to check into our accommodation. When we did, we were met by an amazing view over the city. The 46th floor!!!
I then had to force us out the door in a bid to keep in the right time zone. It started off feeling like I was torturing my daughter, dragging her through the streets in a rather cold breeze and the faintest of drizzle. There was all the usual kid questions and comments, how much further? Where are we going? I can’t walk anymore, I’m hungry.
We reached an area where there were more people about, the buzz was increasing, there were more lights and quirky signs. She started to perk up, ever so slightly. Then I found my target, Hardware Lane, we were in Italian Precinct.
The minute we turned the corner, I was transported back to my days traveling in Europe. The waiters jostled to draw us into their restaurant. They were all Italian and telling us about their pasta, pizza and kids menu. Again I felt my daughter relax just a tiny bit more.
We settled on a restaurant and chose to sit outside under the awning with an outdoor heater, on the edge of the cobbled lane. I was determined not to miss any action. The service was quick, efficient and friendly. With only a small delay, there was calamari in front of my daughter and suddenly all was well in the world again!
With my glass of red and risotto and my exchange daughter with her delicious meal the three of us relaxed into the vibe of the street around us. We watched the musician arrive with his little case and the waiters set up his seat. We listened as he played chilled out music. We watched other people arriving in the lane and choosing their restaurant. We sat and filled our tummies.
We even let the waitress convince my daughter she needed to try the chocolate brownie (not much arm twisting needed). We all commented on the way the Italian’s said the word brownie, so exotic and romantic the way they accentuate the o (my daughter informs me it is because their is no w in Italian).
I had one last thing up my sleeve to sell Melbourne to my daughter on night one. She had been cold and coming from the West we really have no need for big coats. We hit the shops!
In her new warm coat, she almost skipped up the hill and back to our apartment. She is hooked! With the big sleep under her belt there will be no stopping her today! I can’t wait to get out and enjoy the hustle and bustle of one of the most cosmopolitan and cultural cities I know. The girls are going to love it.