Saturday, November 15, 2014

14 Nov 14 – Day 8 (Melbourne City)

Ditched the cotton sweater today and opted for short sleeve t-shirt with flannel shirt. I left the house at 7am with CT and her husband to have breakfast together at a café which I couldn’t recall the name now. I thought I would be able to pay for the breakfast myself and hence I ordered a ham and cheese sandwich. When I was about to make payment, CT and her husband asked me what I would like to drink. Before I could answer, they asked if I was ok with latte. Was caught off guard, so I replied ok and then CT gestured that we go look for seats while her husband placed the order for drinks and their breakfast. Again, they paid for my share. First, CT paid for the drink and tiramisu on Wednesday, then the following day, she paid for the breakfast as well as the coffee in the evening. Felt really bad about it and wanted to ask about the cost so that I could pay her back but I knew most likely she would not take the money from me.

Same as yesterday, SY dropped me off at the Federation Square and I started my walking trail on “On the Waterfront” at 8:30am. Earlier than yesterday though so I walked very slowly because I was full from the ham and cheese sandwich and latte taken this morning. Followed the trail until sight 17 and took tram 96 to the South Melbourne Market (SMM). It was smaller than Queen Victoria Market but had more interesting stalls such as a big stall selling anything related to bicycles and another slightly smaller stall selling all kinds of food for pets. There were many stalls selling pretty pastries but I was too full from breakfast to have space for those pastries. Sigh…

Explored the surroundings of SMM and wandered a little too far off till I had problem locating another tram stop for tram 96. Saw a Yarra tram customer service officer in one of the tram stops so quickly approached him for directions. The nice old gentleman directed me to Middle Park station but I could not find it. So I followed the road sign towards St Kilda for quite a while till I saw another tram stop with tram 96. Hopped on to the tram and got off at St Kilda Station. After I had gotten down then I realised that I should have sat all the way to the last stop before getting off so that I would end up at Acland Street instead of Fitzroy Street. Tried to look at the map on the directional signboard to get to Acland Street and followed the direction. Reached the end of Fitzroy Street, across the road was the St Kilda Pier, the Port Phillip Bay with the West Beach on the right and St Kilda Beach on the left.

Crossed the road to explore the pier. The sky was quite dark, very cloudy and windy. I was feeling cold so buttoned up the flannel shirt that I was wearing while cursing myself for ditching the cotton sweater. As I walked out towards the pier, the waves were crashing against the breakwater. Tried to take some photos using my NEX while trying to keep myself and my hands steady due to the strong wind. At the end of the pier was the St Kilda Pier Kiosk and from the information signboard, it stated that the kiosk was destroy in a fire on 11 September 2003 but was rebuilt and reopened in March 2006. Contemplated if I should go in to take shelter from the cold wind and have lunch but in the end, I gave it a pass because it seemed crowded. Went round the back and saw a gate that opened out to a breakwater structure which led further out into the Port Phillip Bay towards the West Beach direction. On the gate was a sign that states that the breakwater is the home of the little penguins and I recalled someone from TripAdvisor mentioned that instead of going to Phillip Island to see the little penguins, St Kilda is another place to see them. So I braved the strong wind and cold to walk out on the breakwater. Towards the end of it, there were a few people looking at cracks on the breakwater trying to search for signs of little penguins. I was fortunate to see a couple of them and took a photo of one of them.

Walked back to the kiosk and tried to take a selfie using the selfie-stick with the kiosk as the backdrop. It was a challenge because of the strong wind and also because I had to be careful to hold onto the remote control. Walked along the pier to go back to the mainland and saw a few daredevils walking on the breakwater with waves crashing on the structure. Found Acland Street, instead of cake shops, I saw mostly residential homes. Not willing to give up, I continued further on along Acland Street and finally I was in the shopping belt of the street and I saw a lot of cake shops. Wanted to find a decent restaurant for lunch before going for cakes but it was crowded everywhere. So just popped into a random fish & chips shop called Pink Flake which was opposite the Acland Cake Shop and ordered a fish & chips set that came with a bottle of soft drink. The battered fish was big and delicious, the fries were the big, chunky type and it was stated as small fries, yet the portion was large to my standard. I only managed to finish the fish, a couple of fries, a small sip of drink and I was full to the brim.

Thought perhaps after walking around for a bit I would have space for a slice of cake so popped into Woolworths to browse where I found the lamingtons and bought a packet. I was still full after I was done with Woolworths so went to browse the cakes that were on display over at Acland Cake Shop. I was really full and yet I didn’t want to miss the chance of eating at least a slice of cake along the famous Acland Street. It was almost full house at the Acland Cake Shop and I was about to give up the idea of eating when I passed by Monarch Cake Shop. It was then that I recalled that the recommended cake shop by most TripAdvisor members was not Acland Cake Shop but Monarch Cake Shop. Went in, found a seat near the entrance and ordered a slice of Cherry Crumble. It was their famous cheesecake that was on my must-eat list but I figured that I wouldn’t be able to fit it in. As I ate the cherry crumble, I admired the decoration in the shop which consisted of old photos, old fashion cash register and weighing scale. There were trays and trays of yummy cakes and people came in to buy in boxes. Took me a while to finish the cherry crumble because I was actually still very full from lunch and also because I was contemplating whether I should get two pieces of their famous cakes as a form of repayment to CT and SY. After I was done, I went on to get a slice of the Chocolate Kooglhoupf and Plum Cake. What struck me as very interesting was that the lady had to weigh the cakes before packing them into the box.

Happy with the dessert and my purchase, I went to the St Kilda tram station to wait for tram 96 to get back to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) to continue with my walking trail. By the time I got back to MCEC, it was already 3:45pm. Continued with the trail and diverted to South Wharf DFO for shopping instead of going up Eureka Skydeck 88 because it was really too cloudy for good view. There were many branded shops around, unfortunately, I didn’t need anything. Saw the shop Dotti again and popped into checked out the dresses. This time I managed to buy a nice printed shift dress. Soon I was back at the Federation Square at 5:30pm. There were a couple of stalls set up selling merchandises to raise fund for this group called CPEC and beside the stalls was photo taking session with Santa Claus for a donation and a game stall where donors get a chance to test their luck. Sat in the Federation Square to use the free wifi, wrote blog and messaged little big sis. Soon it was close to 6pm so I thought I had better text CT to inform her that I was already in the Federation Square. She replied saying that she would pick me up around 7pm.

There was a bad traffic jam and CT was only able to get to the pickup point about 7:20pm. As good hosts, CT and SY tried to think of where else they could bring me to before heading back. SY suggested Bunnings and that made CT laugh because apparently her parents, uncles and aunties enjoyed the visit to Bunnings when they visited her last year. As for me, I was puzzled as to what Bunnings was until CT explained to me that it was a very big household hardware chain store. I was ok to go wherever they bring me but CT shot the Bunnings idea down saying that I am not her parents’ generation so I may not like what they like. In the end, they brought me to a shopping mall in East Melbourne where Myer is. It was only an hour before closing so we quickly went to Woolworths to get bread for the next day before shopping around. We went into Koko Black, a chocolate place that CT wanted to bring me couple of days ago. The chocolates looked good but seemed a bit expensive compared to what I had bought over the last few days. After that we went into T2, a teashop which I saw in a lot of places. There were a lot of different varieties of tea, unfortunately, I had to stop myself from buying because I knew that I would take a very long time to finish.

We left about 9pm and after we got back, CT made a pot of tea to go with the cakes that I had bought. Both of them commented that the cakes were good and not too sweet. We talked about Korean dramas and CT showed me a drama that they watched recently. She put the first episode on and we watched together while her husband cleared the table. After I was done with episode one, the enthusiastic CT said she will set episode two on standby so that I can continue after my shower. Returned to the living room after showering, continued with episode two and CT joined me shortly. I showed her the travel booklet that I always prepare before a trip in order to show her the spelling of Chocolate Kooglhoupf. She was so impressed with my booklet that she spent the next 15 minutes flipping through it.

After she was done, she said she will have to go to sleep already because we are going to have a day trip tomorrow to Mornington Peninsular and she left me with the Korean drama episode two. It was already 1am and I struggled with another 15 minutes of the show before switching it off and headed for bed.

Thought: Felt really bad eating off from CT and her husband so I treated them to cakes. Overall, the day was good because I get to be so close to the sea and little penguins. Also I managed to eat the must-eat cakes from the must-visit cake shop on Acland Street. I only wished that I had worn the cotton sweater and the neck-warmer as hat. Getting lost was just part of the adventure.

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