After several very exciting days in Cairns, we all headed to the airport, where we said good bye to Molly and Joe. They flew to Sydney for a last few days of vacation, while the rest of us went to Melbourne to spend some time with Jeremy's parents' friends Mal and Norm.
Mal and Norm first met Jeremy's parents while traveling through England before any of them had kids, and ended up staying with them for several weeks due to a scheduling mix-up. They've been good friends ever since, but Jeremy hasn't seen them for about 20 years, so it was great to catch up.
Norm picked us up at the airport and whisked us off to their city apartment, which is in a beautiful area in the outskirts of the city. We stretched our legs with a walk through the botanical gardens and had a delicious dinner of pasta and pizza before we got back in the car for the hour and a half drive to their beach house in Sorrento.
As you have probably read in the news, southern Australia is in the midst of a severe drought, which has led to the worst bush fires in Melbourne's history. While we were there whole towns were wiped out by fire, and hundreds of people lost their lives. Everyone was clearly in a state of shock. It was very jarring to fly from Cairns, which is experiencing excessive rain and flooding, and contrast this with the situation here. Certainly makes you think about how we might be affecting the natural balance of our planet.
But fortunately we weren't directly affected by the fires, and spent three lovely relaxing days wandering along the peninsula and enjoying the views of the Pacific Ocean on one side and Port Phillip Bay on the other. We also did more than our fair share of sleeping, lazing on the beach, watching football (“Aussie rules, mate”), and drinking local wine with Mal, Norm, their son Rod and his wife Katerina. Rod and Kat are the same age as Jeremy and Rachael, and have two young and very adorable kids named Raphael and Dominique. A big thank you to Mal, Norm, Rod, Kat, Raphie and Dommie for sharing their home with us. We had a wonderful time, and feel fully recharged and ready to launch into the next stage of our adventures!