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What a way to spend a halloween — at a murder mystery night at our favorite cocktail bar in Melbourne, 1806.  Sarah, winning best dressed for her stunning red flapper dress, even got a book with all their signature cocktails! 

It was surprisingly fun to dress up like 1920s Chicago gangsters, and surprisingly exhausting to stay in character all evening. At the end of the night, we all survived…

(Sam and Serena Siren, the well-connected Sicilians)

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We’ve had a great time over the past few weeks exploring the city with Kristin and Dami, meeting up with Maud and Steve (friends of K&D made in Paris and now residing in Australia) and Paolo and his daughter, Annabelle (Dami’s 
cousin and niece) and Kelly & Adam in their (now former) ‘hood.

We wandered around the CBD, meandered through the royal botanical gardens, took in a footy game, and spent an afternoon strolling along the streets St. Kilda.  It’s nice to take time to appreciate the city you live in…

More pictures on the photos page.

This new art installation was assembled at the Arts Centre over a couple of days by willing Melburnians and the artist – a garden of recycled art!

Art meets environmentalism meets community.  so cool!

After a Friday night of debauchery with the gals in Melbourne, we ended up at Senoritas — my new favorite restaurant in the CBD and the second restaurant in Melbourne to actually have decent Mexican food.  The decor is Day of the Dead; the food a pleasing array of small dishes (tacos and dips) and standard mains (like a perfectly spicy and sweet rich chicken mole).

When the bill came, it was adorned by this cute little skull pin, which having had multiple rounds of margaritas, we promptly ooohed and aaawwwed over. So our server gave us each one – turns out they are little costume rings that they flatten and slide onto your receipt.

We spent the rest of the night (yes, we continued to drink…) rolling around the CBD and raising our rings shouting “sister skull power!!”  Strangely, no magic powers emanated from the rings, but we had a good time showing them off nonetheless.

To commemorate the event, and take a little piece of Friday nights out with the girls in Melbourne home with me, I came up with this colorful design.

¿ que bonita, no?

It’s been a hot minute since I posted some Melbourne street art.  I took these shots of Hosier Lane when dad & donna were visiting in March.  Since then, construction at the nearby high rise has littered the laneway with scaffolding, obscuring the art.  So as a refresher, I thought I’d post some shots.

(movida)

(sad elephants)

These installations aren’t just tags; there was a definite focus on multimedia.

(horsey)

(senorita roja)

This week involved hiking it in the city at Yarra Bend Park, the largest area of native bushland in inner Melbourne.

Week 7: Yarra Bend Park
Distance: 8km (walk); 8 km (bike); plus…
Grade: easy (walk); moderate (bike, but only because I suck on a bike)
Weight: 5-6 kgs

For week 7, Kelly joined me to train for her upcoming hike in Wineglass Bay. We decided to stay in the city, so she met me at our house and we biked 4km up the river to Yarra Bend Park, which is full of mountain biking trails also prime for hiking. We hiked for an hour north along the river to a mass colony of flying foxes.

Yep, each of those little black dots, every last one of them, is a native Australian bat, also know as the flying fox. Formerly residing in the Royal Botanical Gardens and surrounding wealthy neighborhoods on the south side of the river in the CBD, the flying foxes have been relocated here over the last 10 years by the parks services to a permanent home that is supposedly better habitat for them (and for Melburians).

The colony is so large we walked for about 10 minutes among trees this thickly populated. They are numbered between 30,000 and 50,000 depending on time of year. At the end of the colony, we turned back and did the return walk and bike back to my house, and Kelly biked it back to St. Kilda.

A few hours later, we meet some friends at the south side of the Yarra River (the bats’ former home). We enjoyed a lazy Saturday afternoon grilling and chilling by the river. Bentley enjoyed himself doing laps around the BBQ and making friends with other picnickers, showing his charms in exchange for stray sausage bits. It’s another 3km (one-way) walk down to the river, so all up it was a 14km walking day.

New Zealand here we come!

Our Christmas present to each other this year was a hot air balloon flight over the Melbourne CBD.  Due to massive thunderstorms, our flight didn’t go forward on Christmas Eve as planned, so we re-booked for the morning of Jan 3.  Which turned out to be perfect, since our other Christmas present to each other was a weekend in Sydney for NYE.  The hot air balloon ride was icing on the cake.

So how was it you ask?  See for yourself; check out our morning in flight on the out and about page.

pretty. freaking. awesome.  Like, once in a lifetime, awesome. So sweet.

(the happy ballooners)

So this week I finally ate at Mamasita, reportedly the best authentic Mexican joint in the CBD.  Why you ask, has it taken me one year and 4 months since living in Melbourne to visit this reputable eatery? Because the line for Mamasita usually snakes down the second-story stairs and spills onto the sidewalks of Collins Street.  The wait can be up to an hour for a table, and if it takes that long to get a seat imagine how long it takes to get a taco. Yes, my love for Mexican cuisine runs deep, but not my (or Steve’s) patience.

Having now dined there I can tell you it is definitely worth the wait.  Grilled corn with cotija cheese; tostaditas (inventive single nacho tapas); black bean quesadilla; real corn tortillas… Be still my heart.

Last year, we had Christmas on the coast, spending a long weekend on Phillip Island and Mornington Peninsula.  After almost a year and a half in Melbourne, the coast is our good friend and so this Christmas, we spent our time in the CBD.

Strange, you might think, since virtually no one stays in the city for the holidays.  The coffee filled alleyways of the CBD grind to a halt, as does the Great Ocean Road, and the city becomes a barren ghost town as everyone heads for the beach.

But we enjoyed a few leisurely days and got out in the sun where we could.  Thunderstorms rocked the city on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (hailstones!), but the thing about Melbourne is that the weather’s always changing…

Merry Christmas everyone!