Well, I did it!
I finally left the UK and went abroad for the very first time... and it was FABULOUS!
In my last blog post of 2022, I mentioned I was off to Australia in January and that's exactly what I did. Melbourne, to be precise. Two weeks of great weather (and yes, I include when it was raining - I was thankful for the rain at that point), great company and plenty to see!
Jetlag was horrible though despite travelling for two days (incl. Frankfurt and Singapore) it didn't last too long. I was staying in the Collingwood area of the city so I certainly got used to Smith Street, in particular, and Coles became my supermarket of choice (though it was strange to see Woolworth's there, and that it was a supermarket - the Woolies, now long-gone, in the UK were more akin to Home Bargains or B&M).
I didn't get the time to see and do everything I wanted (another visit beckons perhaps?) but I can say that my time included visiting the Mornington Peninsula - including a trip on the skylifts at Arthurs Seat, attending Drag Karaoke where my friend Alex belted out his best Britney, saw the initial rehearsals of a play the aforementioned Alex is directing, came SECOND in a Doctor Who Trivia Night (losing by ONE point, I should add; the winning team- which included Melbourne-based comedy duo, Innes Lloyd had eight members opposed to my team of two), seeing a free live gig at Fed Square which was headlined by upcoming Australian surf rock band, King Stingray. We also indulged in a spot of boogying at Club Retro and The 86. I also walked along St Kilda beach and saw a lot of kites.
One Saturday, we went to Queen Victoria Market where I treated myself to four Agatha Christie books and had my first ever Dim Sim (no, not Dim Sum as my sister assumed). On my last evening I had some Moreton Bay Bugs which does sound like something from I'm A Celeb but it's a type of crustacean. I was also lucky to attend the Alexander McQueen exhibition at the NGV before checking out the rest of the gallery.
I also found my new favourite drink in Melbourne - Lemon, Lime and Bitters. It's a popular, common drink in Australia and New Zealand but not known that well elsewhere in the world. Indeed, I was told by Emily, an actor I met during my stay, that when she was in the UK and asked for Lemon, Lime & Bitters she was met with blank faces by the bar staff. I think it should be more widely available here in the UK (and it's so easy to make - some lemonade, lime cordiale and several drops of Angostura Bitter).
I'd love to return to Melbourne one day, and see more of Australia. I think I need a few more shorter journeys under my belt first but as a timelord once said: "One day I shall come back."