august in melbourne - day four

butterfly soldierrolling hills
Usually the last day of any holiday just sees us getting up early and schlepping out to the airport without very much time to do much beyond possibly getting some breakfast.

This time we had the whole morning free... the car wasn't picking us up until noon and the flight didn't actually leave until about 2pm (yeah, I know, I panicked a little bit when I was booking the car, but I'd rather be too early than too late.

Last night was probably more like any of the other holidays we've taken due to the fact that I was up kind of late writing my blog post (of course that was totally due to having an evening visitor, but also because we got back to the hotel later in the afternoon than we had been doing). And while I didn't sleep too badly, I am looking forward to climbing into my very comfortable bed with its firm mattress and it's warm quilt and it's pillows that haven't been squashed completely flat.

I didn't bother to pack last night, since I knew I would have a bunch of time this morning, so once I got up I pottered around the room, collected up all my junk and set about cramming it all back into the suitcase. And I know I say this every time but I always end up with more room in my case on the way back than I do on the way there due to not really giving a damn how it all ends up.

Once I was done I took my shower, packed up the last of my bits and pieces, did my final check of the room, then my final, final check and finally my final final final check and went down to Ma's room. Normally I would have taken my cases down to Ma's room, but her room was actually further away from the elevator than mine this time, so it seemed a little silly.

But we decided that since it was about 8:15 it would be silly to have to go out to breakfast, then come back in time to check out from the hotel, then go away again and then come back to be picked up. So instead we decided to check out first thing so we had the whole morning to ourselves.

Sadly the nice Kiwi lady wasn't on the desk when we checked out, but we left our cases with the rather Downton Abbey-esk older woman on reception and headed out to find adventure. Or at the very least to find breakfast.

We didn't really have a plan (which we really should have printed on some teeshirts for future interstate trips "Mostly we don't have a plan, does it show?" or something similar) for breakfast, so we headed down to Degraves Place to see what else looked decent.


And we had the good fortune to decide on Degraves Espresso... which was fun, with great food and a wonderfully United Nations feel. I think the main guy, who was very cute with his beard and his little ponytail and his great ass (sorry, but it really had to be said) may have been South American... I really don't know, except I couldn't completely place his accent. He was lots of fun however. And the other waitress was English, one of the chefs was Canadian, another was Indian and the guy that I'm guessing was the Kitchen Bitch was Australian.

If I had to take points off for anything I think they got my order wrong. I ordered the Big Breakfast, which is what I got, but I usually order poached eggs, whereas I got scrambled eggs. However I can't be certain that scrambled eggs isn't what came out of my mouth since Ma was having scrambled eggs on toast, so I could have said scrambled... who knows. I do know that the scrambled eggs were amazing though, so I'm not really all that bothered.

With a belly full of breakfast and general amusement we headed off to see what else we could find to do.

I had a vague plan to maybe take a ride in one of the horse drawn carriages that we'd seen along Swanston Street all weekend (because there's a Lifescouts badge for that), but I think they only run on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so we were fresh out of luck.

We just generally had a bit of a wander, went up to QV again (yaaay Mrs Fields Cookies... I forgot to get any when we were there the other day) and then actually set foot inside Melbourne Central, by which point it was 10am, so the big pocket watch in the atrium chimed the hour. I think we've usually been either too late or too early or just in the wrong spot to take photos of it doing it's chiming thing previously, but since we were right in front of it at 9:59 we waited the extra minute.

After a bit of a wander around the shops... well mostly it involved walking past shops... we headed back outside and after some brief indecision decided that we could just get on the Circle Line tram and do a big loop of the city.

Normally that would have been a great way to take a look at the city before leaving, but given that the tram was pretty packet at certain spots, it was mostly the city as viewed between people. But it killed about an hour or so, and it was a little better once we left most of the masses at Flinders Street Station.

By the time we got back around to Melbourne Central it was coming up on 11:30, so after a quick pit stop we headed back to the hotel. It was a little bit more of a walk than I was expecting, but we still made it back with about five minutes to spare.

Ray, our driver, was already there waiting for us, but he'd turned up early, so all we needed to do was grab our bags and we were off to the airport.

And other than a little bit of drama with the Qantas boarding computer thing only printing one bag tag so we had to go and see a real live person at a desk, and me forgetting to take my phone and wallet out of my pockets before going through the scanners, then our gate being the furthest possible gate from the entrance, it was all pretty uneventful. We just hung out and waited for plane to board while I wrote up this post and Ma had a wander and then read the paper.

Much, much later...

Everything above was written while I was sitting in Melbourne Airport waiting for the plane, and it's now more than four hours later and in some ways it feels like I've never been away.

The flight was fine... I dozed a little, listened to a couple of Adam Savage podcasts, enjoyed a cookie and a little can of lemonade... and then the plan came in to land.

The co-pilot had already said that there was a lot wind in Adelaide and we came into land from the ocean, which I don't remember us ever doing before... and then as we started our approach, the plane started to swerve sideways... not a lot... just a little and then it went straight again, and then it swerved, etc.

So that's two landings that have been more than a little rough... and there was a lot of me hanging on to the seat in front of me. Yeah, no... they can keep that bumpy crap.

Once we touched down it was all fairly standard... get the bags, get a taxi and the seemingly endless trip back to my place. It's always the longest part of any trip really... that last little bit between the airport and home.

And that was pretty much that.

Other than unpacking the rather meagre haul of goodies of course...

Although once Ma had headed home I took a trip to the shops and after spending four days walking everywhere, on all kinds of surfaces without a problem... but when I was walking back from the car park to my apartment I fell over and skinned my knee.

Typical really...

So that's how this holiday ends... not so much with a bang, more with a slip and a thump.

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