Today was our last day before our return travel, and hence, a little bittersweet.
We commemorated our last hour at the Lorne resort by breaking some rules, flouting the "do not feed the birds" sign on the balcony and drawing nearly a jury's worth to the railing for some bread. David said when he turned away to feed one, another leaned in and pecked him! Those cockatoos are ginormous up close.
After getting ready (Lorne will forever be remembered as the site where I had my first INDOOR shower while overlooking the ocean--something about the way the bathroom window is situated) we walked the Lorne beach for a bit. The sun was trying to break through, but struggling with the huge clouds. Then we stomped up and down Mountjoy Parade (I just love saying that) a couple times before settling on a breakfast place called, oddly, Arab. We enjoyed reading the paper under the cozy heat lamps, but the food was just ordinary and once again the service was strange and protracted.
From the street of shops we drove straight up a residential street until it became the rode to Erskine Falls, about nine kilometers through the Otway Forest, much less threatening by day. The hike to the falls was only 300 meters, but it was straight down some extremely muddy and wet (more like puddly) steps, treacherous going down and gaspy coming up. But the view was worth it, as you can see.
Sated with both forest and sea adventures, we hit the Great Ocean Road for the last time on our way back to Melbourne, and made excellent time, arriving in St. Kilda midafternoon. St. Kilda is a funsy, hip suburb of Melbourne, with lots of bakeries, bars and cafes, and known for its nightlife. It's also the home of my brother-in-law, Ben, which is why we chose it for our last night.
The Hotel Urban is right in the thick of things, only a couple minutes from the beach and sandwiched between bars, and inside it's completely adorable. Also the staff is so sweet, and they have free wifi, croissants and trashy mags. Love it here! Our bed is even known as "the Urban Snorer," and if you have a thousand bucks, you can get one to go. And where else does the hotel conditioner have the description: "Your hair is like a lover, ignore it and it will run off and shag your best friend?"
We'd only been here five minutes when John and Joan arrived with the young one, and we were all joyfuly reunited, at least until the crying for cupcakes began and that whole parenting thing started in again. Ben joined us, too, and since this is his hood he took us to a cafe he likes, where the popcorn chicken actually has popcorn in it, and I sat on a bar stool so high I felt like a little girl swinging my legs. We also visited his house, with his many guitars displayed on the wall, which was fun, and strolled the shops of Ackland St., ending up in a bookshop where Jarrah bought me The Great Gatsby as a "prezzie" for the plane--how did she know?
We had dinner at a yummy Malaysian place called Chinta Ria, which we all enjoyed but Jarrah had a number of meltdowns. After a childfree couple of days, David and I are a bit overwhelmed by Jarrah's constant demand for attention (and we're all tired, after all) so we called it an early night. We have to leave here in the dark tomorrow. Jarrah has just fallen asleep in her smaller version of the Urban Snorer. Hopefully I can soon do the same.