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Journal Entry 2
23rd December 2003
Melbourne, Australia

Land Down Under...

I love Australia. The sun, the beaches, the beer, the people...Everyone is so laid back its unbelievable. Melbourne is a fantastic cosmopolitan city with excellent restaurants, shops, nightlife and a market which is out of this world (Victoria Market). The city seems to come alive at night and the view from the top of the Observation Tower is spectacular (see photo 1). It is certainly a place where I can see myself living for a short while. I can understand why so many people emigrate out here.

We have spent time relaxing on St Kilda beach and were fortunate enought to see an international volleyball tournament. The weather although sunny most of the time is pretty variable. Melbourne is well-known for often experiencing four seasons in one day. Fingers crossed that it is sunny on Christmas Day for our BBQ on the beach!

We hired a car for a couple of days and took a trip up to Albury to stay with John and Nicky, Freya and Callum who are friends of Carolyn (see photo 4). Saw some fantastic landscapes on our 4 hour journey including a drive through temperate rainforest. Saw my first koala (a very exciting experience!) and plenty of roos, dingoes and tassie devils at an Animal Sanctuary (see photos 2&3). Made a brief stop at a winery named 'Baileys' and also saw some of Ned Kelly country (Oz's version of Robin Hood).

At the Melvilles we were treated to a delicious dinner (thanks very much Nicky!) and a few (too many) beers with the rest of the Albury crew. Big shout out to everyone - thanks v much for all your tips and advice! Also experienced an Ozzie rainstorm and the fear factor of coming into contact with a palm sized Hunter Spider. Luckily it didnt happen but it certainly freaked me out a bit (Why did you guys have to tell me there was one loose in the house?!)

Back at St Kilda we (along with the rest of the UK population out here) went to the Neighbours pub night which was a big pissup where we got to meet Harold Bishop, Michelle Scully and Connor from the wonderful TV show. Sorry to those of you who don't watch Neighbours but for me this was a big thing. Very funny night. (See photos 5&6)

Our plans for Christmas are to have a BBQ on the beach at St Kilda. Very strange as it doesn't feel like Christmas at all out here (despite the crazy men dressed up in Santas outfits in 35?C heat!) but it shall definitely be a memorable experience. Merry Christmas to everyone wherever you are. Hope you have a peaceful and relaxing break and a fun New Year.