31 March 2010

Yarra Valley

This time around I have learnt my lesson to not be so kiasu and picked a car rental place very close to where we were staying. It was a short 5 minute walk to the car rental place where we picked up our car. It was suppose to be a Hyundai Getz which is the cheapest car but in the end we got upgraded and we got a.....

We picked up the car the first thing in the morning and started our journey to Yarra Valley which is our first stop. Just as we were about to reach Yarra Valley I saw a sign that says Trout Farm. It sounded interesting so we decided to stop. Unfortunately for us it wasn't open and we were about to leave disappointed until turned around towards the car and saw this...

We drove on to East Warburton to check into our accomodation for that night which was called Gundalle Cottages. We found out that it was smack right in the middle of a privately owned small vinery. The owner has built 2 small cottages which he rents out to people who comes to Yarra Valley. He was so kind as to give us some good advice on what to see in Yarra valley and even gave us a bottle of merlot which he grew and made himself. We graciously accepted and dumped our stuff in the cottage and headed out.

Our first stop was Yering Station which I know produces pretty good wine. Our plan was to actually have lunch at one of the winery.

We went for a little spot of wine tasting and left with a fantastic bottle of wine. We walked towards the restaurant and were heart broken to see how expensive the meals were. We decided it was out of our budget and we would have to find another place for lunch.

Just out from Yering Station we found the Yarra Valley Diary farm. We decided heck we should go see some cows and maybe see if we can get some lunch. There were no cows as the cows were in a different section of the farm and we are now allowed to go there. However they had alot of dairy products so we decided to have cheese for lunch.

We had their cheese platter which comes with assorted turkish bread as well as normal bread. We were recommended to completment the meal with a slice of Australian trout and finally wash everything down with a cuppa coffee. It was a trully fantastic lunch and less then half the price of what we would have to pay a Yering Station. We slowly feast on the cheese and bread while looking out towards the green pastures.

With our bellies filled, we left the dairy farm and headed to our furthest destination for that day which is the Yarra Valley Kiwi wine farm. We were almost disappointed as after about 30 minutes drive, the place was closed because they were preparing to head to the Royal Melbourne Show which was happening the coming weekend. It was a family runned business so they were short of hands. Lucky as we were about to leave the place, the owner walked out and we asked him if we could just taste some of the kiwi wine. He was gracious enough to allow us to do a little of wine tasting and we bought a bottle of very potent kiwi snapps.

The next stop is Chandon which is a premier champagne winery in area. We were told by Gunther (owner of Gundalee) to head there for a spot of champagne. Since we were not really champagne drinkers, we decided to just take in the sights and also take some pictures.

We decided to head back early before the sun went down because when it gets dark in Australia, the roads become filled with wildlife like wallabies and kangaroos and it pretty dangerous to drive around. We made our own dinner....

Dinner consisted of smoked salmon, porchetta, avacado, soup and some corn crackers. It was all washed down with the bottle of wine that we got from Gunther. All fed and drunk, I decided to walk to the balcony and it was pitch black and a little eerie until I looked up.

We were crazy enough to walk around in shorts in the freezing cold weather to get this pictures.

30 March 2010

Funniest Thing I heard all Year

Yesterday was a trully hectic and busy day for me. I came to office thinking it is a Monday and everyone is suffering from Monday Blues so it should be a relaxing day. Turned out it was packed with meetings, conference calls and RFI.

That aside around the afternoon my friend messaged me and said this....

Friend: i tell u bro my championship engineer say that degC and ferenheit is the same
Friend: die already la
Friend: sold the valve to the customer, now waiting to explode only la  

I was laughing my socks of and that really evaporated all the stress for the whole day and my friend continued to say this...

Friend: n the best thing is he is uk grad

I always tell my friends that nowadays any Tom, Dick and Harry is an engineer. It is not like in the 70s and 80s where if you tell someone you are an engineer you are almost in a God-like position.

I continued laughing until he said.....

Friend: now i dunno how la....the valve is already install at customer place
Friend: seriously dude this is not funny man
Friend: ppl can die.....n i meant it literally....its steam at 165degC @ 6bar pressure

That brought me back to reality but heck it was still a funny story and it really made my week.

29 March 2010

Melbourne Day 3

The 3rd day of Melbourne was a very relaxed day in Melbourne city. We pretty much didn't have anything to do other then walking around Melbourne city. We were told by Mervin there is an alley where there is alot of graffiti. So we decided to head there to check it out.

I am quite surprised that I didn't take any pictures at all in this alley. I must have been sleeping when we arrived there. We just walked around the city for a bit of sight seeing.

We waited until around 11.30 where we went to China town for some Dim Sum. The dim sum in Australia is slightly different from the dim sum we get in Malaysia. My reasoning is that the dim sum in Australia comes directly from Hong Kong and the Malaysian one is well Malaysianised. We were joined by Mervin and one of Mervin's friend for lunch at Shark Fin Inn which is one of the most popular place for Yum Cha/Dim Sum in Melbourne.

After lunch, we took a tram to Melbourne Uni which brings back some memories for me as I was there for my brother's graduation. After a walk around, we took the tram back for more hot chocolate. Yes Amy was in a super hot chocolate frenzy and Mervin took us to his fave choco joint.

It was by far the best cuppa hot chocolate we had while we were in Australia. The drinking was no way done as we head towards the Yarra river for some alcoholic drinks.

For dinner, we again headed toward Lygon Street for some pasta. We were told by Mervin and also my friend Ru Shyuan that there is this really nice Italian restaurant at Lygon. The funny thing is that Mervin told Amy that it was where the Ferrari team hangs out after the F1 race but he didn't tell her the name. Ru Shyuan told me the name (Corretto) but didn't mention anything about a Ferrari restaurant. When I found out I almost didn't want to go in because I am not a Ferrari supported.

Lucky Amy convinced me because the food was actually pretty good. It wasn't that very expansive and I recommend anyone in the Melbourne area to check it out. The restaurant was filled with Ferrari memorabilia and lucky we were sitting outside on the sidewalk. 

We topped off the day with some fanstastic gelato at IL Dolce Freddo. Apparently they also have durian gelato which we could smell from outside of the shop. 

Tomorrow we will be getting out car and heading out towards Yarra Valley....

28 March 2010

Melbourne Day 2

The second day we were in Melbourne, we have left all the planning to Amy's friend Mervin. We were suppose to take a tram to meet up with him for breakfast. He was taking us to one of his favourite breakfast place...

What else can you ask for breakfast other then blueberry pancakes, bacon and mash potatos. That was a very hearthy breakfast. Due to that we had to walk it off and bit and we walked around the St Kilda craft market and also some parts of St Kilda town.

We got hungry and Mervin bought us to eat at his favourite burger place. He said the reason he goes to this joint is that the burgers are grilled and healthy. Well the name of the place explains itself....

First time I had lamb burger and I can tell you it was a fantastic burger. The lamb was trully nice and juicy and the cheese melted nicely and the sauce was just perfect. I was in burger heaven.

Next stop is Albert Park which is where they have the formula 1 race every year.

As again because we were crazy, we decided to walk back from Albert Park to our hotel. On the way we found the Melbourne War Memorial. We were actually quite lucky because we were there around 5pm where they were taking down the flags. They played one of those war hymms and I could see everyone standing at attention and watching the flag come down. I am not an Australia citizen but I stood there reflecting what these soldiers have done to give us a "peaceful" world. It was quite humbling.

We walked backed to out hotel and we walked to Lygon street for some fish and chips. After the fish and chips we had super thick italian hot chocolate which I spilled my whole drink. It was so thick that even after I spilled, we could not finish Amy's drink.

26 March 2010

Melboune Day 1

For the first day in Melbourne, we planned to have a really relaxing day and take things easy. It was because we woke up early in the morning to catch the flight to Melbourne. After landing in Melbourne and checking into our accomodations, the adventure begins.

The first stop was the tourist information center at Federation Square near Flinder Street Station. It was a short walk from our hotel.

There was quite a few very cool buildings around Federations Square such as the SBS station...

Even the tourist information center was really cool.

Majority of it is actually underground and you can really get a whole load of information about Melbourne and its surrounding areas from here. There were still part of our itinerary which was not set so we had to get more information.

Next of course is the world famous Flinders Street station...

Since we had nothing really planned, we just walked around the Yarra river to take more pictures.

We were getting tired after a couple of hours and decided to head back to the hotel for some rest. We were meeting up with my friend Ru Shyuan for some kebab at Stalactites. It was really superb and we finished the night with some hot chocolate and Koko Black.