Yesterday we went to the zoo. I had given Oliver the choice of activities, listing all the possibilities, and he chose the zoo. It surprised me a little, as Ollie tends to be more a beach/playground kind of kid than a zoo kid (Samuel was the animal lover).
We caught the train from Ferntree Gully Station, which - if you know Melbourne - is a pretty long train ride. But Oliver handled it well. Then we caught a tram to the zoo (you can't go into the CBD and not catch a tram!) and spent an awfully long time wandering around.
It was a actually a pretty good day for the zoo. Apart from the hundreds of school kids on excursions, it was pretty quiet, and the animals were quite active. We saw the cute baby elephant, Mali, and the orang-utans were putting on a great show for us. There were a couple of monkeys carrying babies, the penguins were very cute,the lions were eating, and even the snakes were moving! Oliver was particularly amused by the gorilla that was picking its nose and then eating it.
We seem to have a bit of luck with the gorillas at Melbourne Zoo. When we took Samuel there as a baby (just over one I think), there was a baby gorilla there. We took Sam up to the glass and told him to give the baby a kiss. Sam made a 'kissing face', and then the baby gorilla did the same thing. It was so cute!! Of course we didn't have a camera handy, but it's a memory that has stuck with us for a long time. I thought of it when I watched the gorillas. It was a little sad.
After the zoo we caught the train back to Flinders Street, and caught the end of a fire juggler's performance in Federation Square. He was particularly taken by the funny looking building next to the road (the metallic one with the LED signs going in all different directions).
We walked up to Melbourne Central and found a couple of lolly shops to waste money in, then caught the train home. We were lucky (?) enough to get on the most crowded train in the world, and I thought we'd have to stand up, but luckily a wonderful mum offered Ollie the seat next to her. It was an interesting trip, but I think it was a good way for Oliver to experience the big city.
It's the first real 'touristy' thing we've done. Oliver has been pretty happy just 'touring the playgrounds': We went to Caribbean Gardens on Friday, which has a pretty cool playground, and then the playground at Maccas, and then on Saturday we went to an amazing playground just behind Stud Park Shopping Centre. Oliver's in his element when he can climb, and he hadn't really been feeling 100% (a bit of croup I think), so it was good to do things that weren't too taxing.
We spent the weekend visiting family, which was really lovely. On Saturday we saw my uncle Greg and his very lovely family (his wife Julie is a wonderful brave soul, and his daughters are so smart and interesting). Then we went to Frankston to walk along the beach and watch the sunset. Frankston has a bit of a funny reputation, but I think the beach is lovely.On Sunday we visited my aunty Michele, and her family. It was nice to see her husband Micheal, who I haven't seen for years. Her daughter Sarah was fairly close to Sam (even though they lived so far away), as her birthday was the day after his (but a year earlier), and they kept up with each other on MSN and Facebook. Then we visited my aunty Karren. She lives with my uncle Brendan on a beautiful bit of land a little way out the east, in a place called Neerim South, and we spent a lovely Sunday afternoon out there seeing them and my cousins. Every time I go somewhere like that, I really want to move to the country. It was so beautiful!
Well, we're off on a ride on Puffing Billy today. Should be fun. It's been a nice trip. I think we could have gone back a bit earlier, but it's nice to relax somewhere else. Luckily my uncle Eric and aunty Karen and their kids Calvin and Chelsea are wonderful, friendly, welcoming and relaxed, so we feel very much at home here.
It's also been pretty expensive! I thought it would be much cheaper with just me an Ollie, but we seem to be going through just as much money! I must admit, I wanted to buy Eric and Karen some wine, and I'm cooking them dinner tonight, because I get the 'guilt' thing, about staying too long (it's a genetic thing I think, I get it from my dad), so some of my money is going to good use. A lot of it is the car I guess, but it is nice having it here.
Oh well, I don't really mind. These days for me, it's all about experiences. You can't put a price on a good time, and Oliver and I are certainly having that!