Friday, 18 January 2013

We're here!

Well, this is the start of our 4th day here in Melbourne, and I've promised myself I will be better at writing blog posts now that we are actually in Australia and (hopefully) have exciting things to blog about.
We arrived on Wednesday after our 24 hours of travel from London. It was not nearly as bad as I expected. We got to Heathrow on Monday night with the help of mrwandymcoble's dad and our massive bike bags got on to the plane with no problem.

We flew the first half of our flight with BA - 12 hours to Hong Kong. I LOVE BA. First of all you get to fly out of Terminal 5 at Heathrow, which is so much nicer and calmer than the older terminals. Also our plane was brand new, the food was pretty good, unlimited drinks - what's not to love? We both managed to sleep for the majority of the flight as well, which has definitely helped with the jet lag.
We had a 3 hour wait in Hong Kong (where we ate at Pizza Express - yum!) and then hoped on our second flight with Qantas, 9 hours to Melbourne. This was another overnight flight and we didn't manage to sleep nearly as much as on the last flight so it seemed very long.

Arriving into Melbourne I was nervous going through Passport Control, as we were validating our visas. The Australian's don't put a label in your passport for your visa anymore, it's all done electronically, so there is this little nagging doubt in your head that somehow something could have been messed up. But it was surprisingly easy, the border agent didn't say one word to us! Just stamped our passports and we were through!

We then had to pick up our luggage and our 2 massive bike bags. Poor mrwandymcnoble was stuck with both bags (I had all our luggage on a trolley), dragging them through an extremely crowded baggage area, getting lots of weird stares and whispers of "I wonder what's in those bags?!" from other passengers. Getting out of the baggage area took ages but went smoothly and we didn't have our bags searched. The Australian Government is very picky about what you can and can't bring into the country, and one thing they don't want is soil from other countries coming in. So anything that could have touched soil (shoes and our bikes namely) had to be cleaned prior to our flights. They seemed to take our word that we had cleaned the bikes and then we were out of the airport, greeted by our friend mrsweatybetty (of team Olympic Dreams) who helped us with our bikes and bags.
We're here! In Melbourne Airport

We are staying in a part of Melbourne called South Yarra, which is about 5km north of the beach but south of the river Yarra, which sort of splits the city into a North/South divide in the same way the Thames does. We are basically renting a room from a woman called April, who we found on the website airbnb.com. We have booked to stay here until the beginning of February while we sort out long term accommodation. April's flat is lovely and she is so helpful and friendly - I think we really lucked out staying here!

mrsweatybetty spent our first day with us walking around South Yarra and St Kilda and we had our first beers by the beach at The Vineyard, which mrwandymcnoble fondly remembers from his backpacking days. Later on we picked up mrssweatybetty from work and went for dinner together - Olympic Dreams reuinited!
BBQ in Albert Park
Our second day here was extremely hot - over 40 degrees. We woke early due to jet lag and went for a run around the Botanical Gardens before it got too hot. It was absolutely beautiful around there - it beat running around Tooting Bec Common, that's for sure! We had a productive day opening bank accounts, getting mobile phone numbers and starting our flat hunting, and then finished our day with a BBQ with Betty and Jon in Albert Park, where we tried Kangaroo for the first time. I'm not a fan, but perhaps its a mind over matter type of thing!
Albert Park lake
9pm and it's still almost 40 degrees!

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