In June, after spending a month visiting our families in the US, we headed down to Melbourne, Australia. Our plan was to spend a couple of days in the city doing a little sightseeing before taking a train out to a tiny town called Romsey, where we were scheduled to do a two-month house sit.
The City of Melbourne
Melbourne is a very easy city to get around—everything is fairly close and walkable, and there’s even a free tram system available throughout the city center. A day of sightseeing in Melbourne is much easier on the legs than one in a place like Prague. If you ever get a bit tired, just hop on a tram. There’s even a special historical tram just for tourists that tells you facts about the city and each area as it does a big loop.
My favorite part of the city had to be Chinatown, for one very good reason: cheap, amazingly delicious food. Melbourne is an expensive city to visit, and Chinatown is a wonderful reprieve from the constant barrage of high prices.
During our two days in Melbourne, we visited the botanical gardens (not too impressive in the middle of winter), the big library (I’m ALWAYS up for checking out a good library), the Victoria markets, and, of course, Chinatown. We also wandered through a couple of parks and the city streets, enjoying getting lost in a place where it was so easy to get found again.
We tend not to be huge into big cities, but Melbourne was great.
Housesitting in Romsey
After our Athens house sit, we couldn’t wait for another one. Our next sitting gig came just a few months later took the form of two months on a hobby farm in a little town called Romsey, about an hour’s train ride from Melbourne (yes, that’s an actual picture of the house in this post’s featured photo, above).
We weren’t entirely sure what alpacas were, but thought they were something like llamas, and it probably would be no big deal. Luckily, we were right on both counts. For two months, we fed a few animals, ate A LOT of eggs, and walked into town every couple of days for groceries or to go to the library for “Rhyme Time” for our growing infant. Mostly, we hung out in front of a fire and watched Annabelle get bigger, smiley-er, and more animated.
(Click any of the thumbnails to enlarge the images or read their captions. The last one–of Joe feeding Alpacas–is my favorite.)
We even celebrated Annabelle’s 6-month birthday by letting her eat, which to her meant “smash,” a bunch of “healthy” cupcakes (i.e. rather tasteless muffins made of grated carrots, beets, and apples).
We also were able to take a few different side trips while we were there. We out to see nature sanctuaries, penguins (in the wild!), climb Hanging Rock (which I had never heard of, but apparently there’s a movie about it that’s a big deal to Australians), and meet up with people from the MrMoneyMustache forums that Joe frequents. Mostly, though, we settled into a nice house for the winter and didn’t get a whole lot done. Overall, a very successful house sit.
After we wrapped up, we headed northeast to The Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef.