Monday, April 30, 2012

Australia Day Weekend: the Penultimate Trip Before Baby

Cape Schanck
Over Australia Day weekend this year, Mickey and I took a quick trip to Melbourne. We enjoyed a long day at the tennis watching back to back semi finals matches and then spent the remainder of the weekend on the Mornington Peninsula, a wine-producing region two hours south of Melbourne.

Fortunately for me, this trip coincided with what you could almost call a sweet spot in the pregnancy. The morning sickness had eased significantly and I wasn't yet so large that I couldn't get around. I guess there's no part of a pregnancy that's ideal for wine tasting, but the Mornington Peninsula has a lot to offer beyond its wineries.
Victory for the Bryans

Yet again, the tennis in Rod Laver Arena at the Australian Open didn't disappoint. We were able to cheer on Team USA as we saw the brothers Bryan win their men's doubles match. Mickey snapped a well-timed photo of their mid-air chest bump. Our afternoon seats afforded us with a great view of the action during the next couple of women's matches, but I fried my skin in the dangerous Australian sun. I was pretty upset about this because I had reapplied my sunblock several times to no avail. Cheering for one of my faves Aussie Kim (Clijsters) was worth the time in the heat, but I probably should have spent the Sharapova match in the shade. Seriously, Maria, I'm sick of the grunting.
I love you, Roger!

The main event was the Roger versus Rafa match that evening. I should have enjoyed the match more because I love both players, but I'm a terrible tennis fan in that I'm not interested in any outcome other than Roger winning every time. He could have won, too, as he started out strong, but I think Rafa and Djoko get under his skin in a way that other players don't.

Brekkie at Big Blue Backyard
After a quick breakfast with Kate in Melbourne, we leisurely drove south down the Mornington Peninsula and checked into our B&B, Big Blue Backyard. Our cottage was decorated beautifully with handmade furniture and art by local artists and we found it very romantic and private. Indeed, the proprietors wouldn't have it any other way; when we asked about a wireless internet connection, we were told that "guests come here to relax, not stay connected." Not having access to the internet (our phones didn't have reception there) feels ever more foreign these days, but we were able to play by their rules of relaxation for the weekend.

Fortunately what Big Blue Backyard lacked technologically, it made up for in luxury and comfort. Having our gourmet breakfast delivered directly to our private patio was a huge treat. Likewise, we spent two evenings stargazing from the sunken outdoor spa tub. There was a moment of panic when we heard a creature rustling around in the bushes approach the spa tub, but it was only a possum and Mickey shooed him away by flicking water in his direction.
Laney at the vinyard

The weather that weekend was warm and gorgeous and we were able to enjoy as many outdoorsy activities as my condition would allow. We had a wander through a sculpture garden at a winery and took two lovely bushwalks: one around Arthur's Seat and another at Cape Schanck. My slower than normal walking pace served us well when I spotted a tawny frogmouth perched on a branch immediately next to the trail. She was a good sport about posing for pictures while Mickey changed camera lenses.
Tawny frogmouth

We caught up with Kate and Michael briefly in Melbourne before returning to the airport. I'm thrilled that this trip was such a success because it was probably our last one to the tennis for years to come.

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