We made it through our first year of marriage....not that there was any doubt :) We headed down to Margaret River on Friday and checked into our hotel around 4. The hotel was in the center of downtown..in the heart of everything! It was a great location. We did soooo much during the weekend, so I'll break it down by day. Ready go.
-Ordered from Goodfella's, a woodfired pizza joint. It was yummy and all the pizzas were named after movie gangsters....sweet.
-Visited a bunch of different pubs and stuff for some drinks and live music. There was a band at the Corner Bar which was an outdoor bar attached to our hotel, singing covers. They even sang some Creedance...double sweet.
-Friday, the end.
-Got Gloria Jean's coffee. Yes, Gloria Jean's. Why do they have this chain internationally? They have one in New Hampshire where the coffee is reallllllly good, but this one was...eh. The coffee was insanely strong, and Ben's had grounds in his. He did order a "Turbo Chiller", but grounds? Ew.
-Went to the grocery store to pick up some muffins and juice, and saw GINORMOUS ostrich eggs!!!!!!!!! Huge I tell you! We didn't have the camera, and I regret it. But they were in the "egg" aisle (they don't keep their eggs refrigerated here) in a huge cardboard box. We wanted to get one to bring home but we had too many stops on the way home on Sunday and had no way of keeping it cold. Rotten ostrich egg=most definite stank.
-Headed to Augusta, about 40 minutes south of Margaret River, and took the scenic route.
-Stopped at Mammoth Cave. We wanted to go to Jewel Cave, but it was closed for renovations or something. Mammoth Cave was amazing. It's the humongous natural limestone cave that goes underneath the road. They had ramps and stairs going through the whole thing, and we got headsets that talked about it. There was even a mammoth jawbone in the wall. It was flipping sweet. We spent a good hour and a half there!
-Stopped at a maze. We thought it was going to be cool, but we were the only people there, and there was a big can where you were supposed to pay. (We did pay, but I almost regret it now). It was really pretty, but it was tiny, and Ben's head is like a map so we found the way to the center in like 5 minutes.
-Augusta! This was one of my favorite things of the whole weekend. It was absolutely beautiful. This is where the Southern Ocean and the Indian Ocean meet...so you can literally touch two oceans at one time. There were huge patches of aqua colored water, and dark blue water (more like Maine). I fell on some gravel coming in (ow) and it hurt my pride....double ow. We saw lots of big crabs hiding in between rocks. We made our way out so we could be closer to the water, and it felt just like I was 5 at Wells Beach climbing the rock walls. AND we saw dolphins! They were so close, probably about 20 feet away. The weather was beautiful and we just sat out on the rocks talking and laying in the sun. If anyone comes to visit, we will definitely bring you there!
-By this time we were getting super hungry. We stopped at a little bakery on the way out of Augusta. It was just before closing time and she gave us half off on our sandwiches. Plus she had a gold tooth, which I just wanted to kiss. Ben got a "cream donut" which looked more like an eclair without the chocolate, and he thought about filing for a divorce because he loved it so much. But it's okay, because I basically had an affair with my vanilla square. So we're even.
-Hamelin Bay was our next stop. There are stingrays here that swim with the people swimming because they are fed so often...and no, they're not de-barbed. There weren't any when we went though. Sad face. Ben found some AWESOMEEEE shells though, and we're saving one for his mom's shell collection :) If we can find a way to get it home without it getting confiscated...
-Margaret River Beach...we like beaches, can you tell? We laid out on a blanket until sundown. And watched an awkward couple try to take their own engagement pictures (we can only assume). The guy kept setting up the camera and running around to the girl and picking her up, or having her get on his shoulders, and I don't think his delay was long enough. Silly couple.
-We decided to have a nice, relaxing night in since we had such a busy day, and were going to be touring all the next day. So we ordered "takeaway" (take out) from a place called Chow. They had a mixture of types of foods, like Mexican, Asian, Cajun, etc. It was yummy. Then we watched "Hey Hey it's Saturday!" an Australian night/talk/family/comedy/show. They have musical guests and cheesy jokes, and little games and pranks. It's as corny and hideous as it sounds.
-Met the Bushtucker bus for our wine/cheese/chocolate/brewery tour. They picked us up at the hotel and we were off! There were 20 of us in the group. We were the only ones from the US, but there were people from Singapore, Scotland, Ireland, and the East Coast of Australia. The first winery we went to was great. It was small and very personal, and you could tell they put a lot of time into making the wines--it was one of those places that you could tell the owners just loved wine, so it was genuinely good. The lady doing the testing was funny, too. The next winery we went to was a bit bigger--that's where most of the vineyard pictures are from. This is also where we had lunch. We were told we were going to get to try emu, but they're big liars. We had roo, turkey, beef, different chutneys and pestos, good bread, etc. AND THEN we tried a moth larvae. Yes, you read that correctly. I thought they were going to be like gourmet, chocolate covered or something. The aboriginal people of Australia (they're like our Native Americans) eat them. They were so gross looking. They looked like the big fat grub that Timon eats on Lion King..seriously. But Ben and I tried them and they were as disgusting as they looked. Next we went to the Cheese Factory. We bought a marinated feta and a sweet chili cheddar. It's funny because Ben and I usually don't like feta, but this is probably the best cheese I've ever had. There's herbs and olive oil and we're going to put it on salad. Yes please. Next was the BIG TIME winery. Ben and I didn't like it very much. It was HUGE and you could tell that it was all about producing wine quickly and efficiently, not about the passion of wine-making and the taste. Most of the wines tasted very mass-produced and cheap. The gift area had like handbags and artwork and stuff. We just didn't like it at all. We like the smaller, quirkier places. The Margaret River Chocolate Factory was next...it was soooo good. And huge! They had so many different kinds just lining the walls. They had islands and tables stacked over your head with different kinds of chocolate, everything you could ever think of...even chocolate massage oil...ewwww. We went to the last winery after the chocolate factory, and it was great. It was a family-owned (father-son) winery, and just quirky and small and beautiful. You could tell the owner (who was doing the tasting) loved everything about wine and wine-making. We tried a chili-infused wine that I didn't like so much, but Ben kind of did. Chili in wine is weird to me. Last but not least...the brewery. This was kind of annoying, because we had to PAY for anything here because they didn't do tastings. It was like, seriously? We just paid for these tours and tasting and now we have to pay to taste? But anyway, it was pretty good, and refreshing after a long, hard day of cheese/chocolate eating and wine-tasting :)
-When we got back, we relaxed a little and decided it would be fun to get dressed up for our anniversary dinner. We had decided to go to the Spaghetti Bowl, which is the oldest restaurant in the downtown area of Margaret River, and a favorite of the locals. It was really good! Ben got chicken parmigiana and I got Fettucini Tusciano or something like that. We split garlic bread and a salad. It's funny how different restaurants are here as opposed to Maine and the States. Here, you don't have to tip in restaurants, or housekeeping, or anything. They get paid a regular wage. But because of that, they don't really talk to you at all, and they don't come back to check and see how the food is or to see if you need anything. There's a big difference in service! Anyway, we had a really nice dinner and we were glad we decided on the Spaghetti Bowl..plus we were craving some decent Italian food (everything is Asian food here).
-We got back and toasted to a year...with Captain Morgan's. We were going to buy some champagne, but we were basically just too lazy. So, sorry Mom and Dad. Don't worry, it was just one. Or seven. Just kidding. Or am I? No I'm just kidding :) Then we ate some of our cake that we bought at the grocery store..it was lemon cheesecake. We were both STUFFED from dinner, but we had a couple bites anyway. We ate our cake topper on our 6 month anniversary since we knew we wouldn't be able to bring it with us to Australia. So...we had fake wedding cake.
-Went to the Yahava Coffee Factory and dropped an unspeakable amount of money there. It is sooooo good. And the factory has the coffee cheaper than anywhere around so we had to stock up...right? RIGHT?! We also had the best iced coffees of our lives there. There was ICE CREAM in it. I think I gained 3 lbs just thinking about it. But it was awesome. Good thing there isn't a Yahava here or we'd get addicted quick.
-Went to the Margaret River Fudge Factory. Wasn't very exciting or good. Sad.
-Walked around downtown. We actually walked into almost all the shops in all of downtown. It was nice to just see what kind of touristy stuff they have here. You know how in Maine we think we're so clever with millions of stuffed moose (meese?) and lobsters? Well, Australia thinks they're clever with stuffed 'roos. They're way cuter as a stuffed animal. Or as a steak.
-Then we left Margaret River and we were sad. We tried to do a couple of mazes/caves on our way home but they were charging stupid amounts of money for them so we said (insert fart noise.) We did do a very easy, short hike to a Whale Lookout in Dunsborough. We didn't see any whales, but we heard scary noises that sounded like children being murdered, and it was Sea Lions! And man at the lookout had binoculars and let us have a look. I never imagined they'd make children-being-murdered noises, I thought they'd sound like seals. But they don't. So now you know. And knowledge is power! We also had to pee REALLY bad during this hike (we were so dehydrated and had been pounding water) and by the time we got back Ben was walking like there was something seriously wrong with his nether regions. I found the women's bathroom fine, but getting to the men's bathroom was like an obstacle course. You could see it fine, but there was caution tape, and wires and fences, and Ben ended up running around, through a museum and two staff only doors to get to it. No, I'm not exaggerating. There was a museum involved.
Well, that's about it. Did you make it through this whole blog? You better have, because we're writing this for YOU, you know.
Also, here's a link to the pictures in case you haven't see the album already!