31 December 2010

Christmas with Kylie!

James trying out the farm quad bike
From Sydney, we took our last journey on the Greyhound bus (hooray!) to Melbourne to see my U-Mass partner in crime Kylie! We broke up the journey with a brief visit of Canberra before starting a week of festive fun, Ozzie style!

Moments before dropping it...
After a day exploring the city, we loaded up the car - surfboards and all - and headed out of the city towards a farm where we spent Christmas Eve with Kylie's dad Bryon, sampling some delicious fresh-from-the-farm lamb and a little vino!

Delicious spread
On Christmas morning, we reverted back to our childhood days of jumping out of bed at 6am, however, this time, it was not to check if Santa had filled our stockings but to feed hungry cows! James quickly fell in love with the farm quad bike (and became the self-appointed designated driver) while Kylie attended to a poorly calf. I, not being the best with animals, helped where I could then baked muffins while the other two finished things off!

James and his new best friends
James and I were welcomed into the Christmas celebration at Heyfield with open arms, being showered with gifts and an amazing spread of food with everything from turkey to king prawns! Our celebrations continued the next day in Seaspray with more delicious food and more delicious wine (can you see a pattern developing?) We also got the chance to spend some time with Kylie's five horses on the second family farm, although I think James took a bit of a liking to Blackie and Pita: the dogs who followed him devoutly after working out he would give them the most attention!

Oz Christmas gifts
Our weekend of festive fun continued with an afternoon of champagne and a spa at Rose and Steve's house and a lovely meal cooked by Diane. Then, it was time for the highly anticipated trip to the Melbourne Cricket Ground to watch the third day of The Ashes Fourth Test courtesy of Kylie.

At the MCG - what a day!
The 100,000 capacity stadium was incredible to see and with our near front row seats, there was nothing left to do but sit back in the sun and enjoy the game (after learning the rules, of course!) The match was virtually decisive in the series (or so I am told anyway) so it was a great atmosphere, which helped when James and I wandered amongst the Barmy Army to interview some fans for STV.

Bryon and Kylie cheering on Oz
Unfortunately, Kylie had to return to work the following day but this did not stop the three of us having a great time in the evenings, with lots of laughter, yummy food and a couple of films creating the perfect holiday atmosphere. Our last night in this cosmopolitan city crept up on us fast and we were both sad to say goodbye to our wonderful host and friend, but as if all the Christmas fun hadn't been enough, Miss Liburne had another trick up her sleeve, courtesy of Tennis Australia - opening night tickets to see Le Grand Cirque!

I was so excited when we arrived at the elegant Regent Theatre and gobsmacked when watching the spellbinding show although we were all gripping the edge of our seats when one performer on the final act stumbled while running around a spinning wheel while blindfolded. Luckily, he pulled it off, earning a roaring cheer!

On Hogmanay, we took a quick flight back to Sydney and followed the crowds into to the city to see in 2011 with the famous fireworks. 


U-Mass buddies at Melbourne's Regent Theatre


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