Waking up at 4am on a Saturday morning is never fun so I was not a happy camper last Saturday morning when S dropped me to the airport - it was still black and despite a shower, my eyes still felt sleepy and gritty.
Fast forward through an uneventful flight to Melbourne with my mum, sis K & littlest bro J during which I slept fitfully and we're at Tullamarine airport. Freezing and grey, it was pretty much what I expected and dressed for (grey wool jumper dress with black singlet & tights underneath, black scarf, black ballet flats and a heavy wool Topshop coat).
We delivered our bags to the hotel (Crown Promenade) and decided to take J on a tour of the sights (he has never been to Melbourne). We walked through the Casino and settled at one of the cafes for a ham, cheese and tomato croissant and coffees (fresh squeezed juice for me as I dont drink hot drinks). K and I wanted to get our shopping out of the way so mum and J joined us on walking to South Wharf DFO to hunt some bargains. J ended up finishing better here than us with mum spoiling him rotten (he's the baby so we are all guilty of this). I left with a new Cue tailored blazer for $89 and a pair of long Peter Alexander bedshorts for S (just $15).
Following our DFO visit , we headed back to our hotel room to drop off our bags before venturing along Southbank into the City. We had decided on DJ's foodhall for lunch and finally finding it after much wandering and the distraction of Haighs (love the coconut roughs). Unfortunately the DJs foodhall was too tricky an option as K is on a gluten-free diet so we found a tiny little Italian restaurant in one of the cafe alleyways for lunch. It was called Olios ??? and was tucked away with some rustic little decor including stainless steel strainers, mismatched cutlery and wine served in water tumblers. J & I had pizza (I know, I was overdosing on pizza after having it for dinner Friday night), mine was a quattro formagi (sp?) with brie, fetta, mozzarella and parmesan with fresh basil and tomatoes. K had hot chips with aoli (after all that) and mum had bruschetta. Delicious meal and then were were off again to find markets and explore more of the City.
After much wandering and a visit to the Melbourne gaol (see pic of J below walking on the fake grass), we decided to head back to the hotel for in-room happy hour and to prep for an early dinner before Mary Poppins. We picked up a bottle of Giesen, a selection of cheese and crackers and a few beers for J and settled back in the room to gossip and laugh while debating our dinner options.
We decided on the steak restaurant in Crown for dinner but they dont take bookings and we were informed at the door there was an hour wait for a table (at 5:30pm). Grrrr. Turns out the Pies and Carlton played that day plus the Wallabies and All Blacks were playing that night so the Crown was at capacity. We were directed to a restaurant within the sportsbar and were lucky enough to nab the final table. The staff were very accommodating and served us quickly after we advised of our theatre booking. J and I both had a huge rump steak served with diane sauce and french fries, mum had the T-bone and K had vegies and a baked potato. Including drinks, the meal was only about $130 for 4, the food was great and the servings huge!
My strange sister felt that the theatre was only a short walk from the Casino and wanted to take a stroll but was overruled when we showed her a map of the distance :) We were deposited at the theatre rapidly and spent the time before the show queuing for merchandise to add to the Broadway stock we already have.
The Show ... Mary Poppins was just magical! The actors were fabulous, truly suited to their parts and you just couldn't have hoped for a better lead than Verity Hunt-Ballard. She was Mary Poppins to a T and certainly did justice to the role - she looked and sounded the part. What surprised me was the inclusion of Marina Prior. I had no idea she was in the cast and was absolutely thrilled as she is one of my faves (loved her in Phantom). My sister and I agreed that she just stole the show everytime she was onstage as Winifred Banks.
People, I must absolutely insist ... RUN dont walk to see the show! If you love Mary Poppins, Julie Andrews or just good theatre, you will not be disappointed.
K, my mother and J were thrilled to have seen the show and did not stop singing its praises the whole way home - which unfortunately was by way of the most foulest smelling taxi I have ever been in! It was after 10:30pm and utterly freezing yet we had to have all the passenger windows down in order to breath. We were relieved to arrive back at the Casino and decided to enjoy a drink before heading to our room for bed - we were all exhausted having been on the go since 4am.
This is where the frustration began ... you could not move in the casino! Every single bar was at least 6 deep of people waiting to order drinks and we were shoved and jostled mercilessly. In the end, we gave up due to mine and K's sore feet and decided to hit up the mini bar instead. I think we were all dead to the world by 12pm (after K and I made quick goodnight phone calls to our fiancees - both at the pub).
Sunday update to come...