Sorry about the delay, finding and paying for internet is not always fun. Here is recap of what I've been up to the past couple days.
Day 4 - January 8
Drove to Melbourne today and got to see where our new home will be. We started learning all of the different areas of where to live, and I'm def excited. We went straight to St. Kildo beach for some lunch before we walked around a bit. The beach is filled with tons of shops a12facebook.com/index.php?lh=98886066cf47b5c71b2902cfe2a086dd&long the way and I can't wait to start making some money to buy some of these things. We also checked out the Crown Casino to gamble some (I didn't, but some of the guys did) and walked around some more. Its such a beautiful city with tons to do. They have millions of restaurants and each cuisine has its own area or street. For dinner we tried out China Town and ate at a place where it was BYO which I've never seen before. So we all came in with our wine ready to enjoy great Chinese food. We had a lot of Uppsala people meet up with us at the restaurant and it turned into a huge reunion. After we stuffed our faces we went to a karaoke bar. This was pretty cool because you book your own room so you are only singing in front of your friends. I def rocked out to Spice Girls.
Day 5 - January 9
More of a lazy day today with sushi for lunch and some wondering around Melbourne again. They have tons of sushi stands that are relatively cheap to buy and you order rolls that hasn't been cut in slices and eat as is. That was different and felt very weird picking the roll up with my fingers and just eating from it. We did a free tram ride that makes a big circle around Melbourne and it was a good way to see the city and kind of catch my bearings. We went to Lygon street for dinner which is a street with Italian restaurants lined up one right after another. It was absolutely delicious food. And to just pig out some more, we went to a chocolaterie for dessert where we had mousstinis and tirimisu. The best chocolate mousse I've had in my life. I was in heaven. All of these amazing meals is confirming that Melbourne truly is a food capital.
Day 6 - January 10
Woke up early to catch a flight to Mackay. From Mackay we picked up the Van that we are renting and starting our road trip. We drove to Airlee Beach which is where you catch boats to the great barrier reefs. You are not aloud to swim in the ocean this time of the year without a wetsuit because of the stingers (jellyfish). They have tons of poisonous ones right along the coast, and the second most deadliest one can be only 3mm long so hard to see. We relaxed by the man-made laguna instead for some hours before heading to our cabins where we will be for two nights. We have kitchens in our cabin so we can cook our own meals which will definitely help out keeping costs down and for some home-cooked meals. Luckily Brennan can cook well! :)
Day 7 - January 11
Once again another early morning but its for our snorkeling excursion, makes it worth it. There was 21 of us total on a sail boat heading out to some islands for snorkeling. Its not exactly the Great Barrier Reef but pretty damn close. The sail boat was nice because we kind of took our time out there and didn't have the annoying sound of a motor for 2 hours. The first island had amazing snorkeling. You could just float with the fishes near the surface and they would get so close. We saw quite a few rainbow fishes which are absolutely beautiful fish with all of their colors which just sparkle in the water. We snorkeled for about 2 hours before we headed to the second island for a quick 30 min snorkel. The wind really started picking up here so the visibility wasn't quite as clear as the first island but still amazing. This one had a lot more variety of coral with beautiful colors. We then got back on the boat and attempted to eat lunch while sailing and windy conditions. Food was flying all over the place and the wind even carried Chris' bread roll right off his plate and into the water. They had big swells as well so we were getting quite wet up front which actually was fun and entertaining. We got back to our cabin around 4 and took showers before making dinner and drinks. After some drinks we took the 15 min walk into town to check out the pub scene which included lots of live music, outdoor areas and people all over the world. Met some guys from England and girls from Sweden. It's always so fun to meet people from all over and find out what they are doing in Australia. Great fun!
Day 8 - January
Today we left Airlee Beach and made our way to Rockhampton where we will be for one night. We made a quick pit stop in who knows where and had some lunch. It was right by the ocean and it was so shallow it was hard to see where the ocean ended and the sky began. So pretty. Hannah and I wanted to see how far we could walk out but alas, those stingers got in the way. The drive was also full of tons of greenery and rolling hills, a nice change from dry Colorado. The rain has also been off and on today which makes it a little cooler, but its still pretty hot if there isn't a breeze. We were told that it reached 43 degrees Celsius in Melbourne yesterday, that's about 110 degrees Fahrenheit I reckon. Apparently Rockhampton is know for their beef so we will be eating out tonight and getting some steak. Then later I guess we are going to a pub where there is mechanical bull riding....interesting. We will see how that goes.
Love you and miss you all!