The universe seemed against us making it to the Mongol Rally Route Beers - The Australia Edition. The Melbourne GP meant that accommodation was scarce and flight prices were inflated. Our team t-shirts almost didn't make it in time, a broken down car and a last minute job meant that I almost meant a missed flight. But we finally made it to Melbourne with a bit of time to explore the city.
Wandering through the alleyways of the city, we began our hunt for lunch. This Melbourne trip was also a chance for Haylee and I to discover more about each other and I've discovered that Haylee loves donuts (my own weakness is ice cream). Whilst we looked for a venue that wasn't crammed with F1 paraphernalia, Haylee managed to buy 2 donuts from 2 different shops! We finally found a Grill'd outlet that had a free table where I decided to train my stomach in preparation for the Mongol Rally by ordering a burger...on low carb bread!
We had some time to kill and a quick search online revealed that a Korean festival was on nearby so headed in that direction. We plonked ourselves on some front row seats to watch some fantastic musical acts and soaked ourselves in a variety of Asian cultures...everything except Korean. We weren't sure when the Koreans were showing up so left the main stage to check out some genuine Korean hand made jewellery and accessories. Since we missed out on seeing any Korean acts, I bought Haylee a bracelet and got to meet the artist who came to Australia to sell her wares.
We definitely needed a drink by now so we found some trendy bars and decided on a place called "Take Me (I'm Yours) for some well deserved refreshments.
On the way back to our hostel, we found a bridge that showed when people from different backgrounds arrived in Australia. Haylee quickly found her Polish history and explained to me how her family had been displaced and then settled in Australia after the war.
We actually just stumbled into the Church of St Francis. As soon as we entered, the sounds of the city disappeared and we found a haven of silence and grace that gave us some quiet reflection time.
We got back to the hostel for a quick shower and a change into our newly printed shirts. I also learnt that sticking your hand into your toiletry bag isn't a good idea when there's a razor in there. So with a bandaged finger, we made it to our rendezvous point and there was no one there.
Well no one downstairs. After asking around, we discovered there was an upstairs and there we found a bunch of crazy people.
Finally a chance to talk to people who were just as crazy as us! We signed up a bit late so we had so many questions to ask of the other teams, especially our hosts - The Snappy Break Kids. These guys were veterans from 2013 and they had a tale or two to tell us. Whilst they warned us they a lot of teams didn't make it to the finish line, Haylee and I were determined to make it on our first attempt. So we had questions about what went wrong, what would they do if they had to do it again and any tips they could give us to ensure we stayed on the path to the finish line.
After everyone left, it was still early so we headed over to a pub we'd seen earlier across the road from our hostel. But when we got it, we were told they were closing up but if we wanted to, we could go upstairs to the Loch & Key which was open till 7am! It was nice to find a nice quiet bar with decent drinks to unwind for the day.
The next day, it was a quick trip to the airport and then before we knew it, we were back home in Sydney.
Stay tuned - we want to catch up with our fellow adventurists in Sydney next time.