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the view walking into our cottage. (i couldn't take the pictures at night, it was too dark and i needed the sea sun to fill the rooms with light.)  we didn't get in till around 9pm.  it bummed veca out a little.  she fell in love with the place instantly and wished we had an entire day to spend there.  we were met with a lovely welcome card, put our things down and promptly went for a couple of drinks at the bar.  everyone was beyond friendly (tourist town) and the setting was wonderful, right along the water.

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upstairs.  since i had sprung for this nice place as a birthday present for veca, i also gave her the rule of the roost.  she got the upstairs for the evening.  this place more than impressed her.  she had been looking at all the antique and refurbished furniture everywhere we went, and this place seemed to have the exact style she liked.  i couldn't have planned it better.

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i didn't know till the next morning that veca had stayed up till around 3am 'enjoying' the room.  she moved from one chair to another, lounging and taking pictures to send to friends (possibly to insight envy).

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i took the shot standing in front of the large flatscreen tv, which also had an ipod (complete with some music) plugged into a stereo system, and a wii set up.  this cozy couch was an excellent bed for the evening.

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and the bathroom of course. . . with some of the most charming toiletries.  ordered some online when i got home.

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as gorgeous as our cottage was, the keychain was the only bit i was interested in as a souvenir.  they were for sale, but i don't feel up to owning a $75 keychain fob.

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shiny. . .

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the issue of breakfast hit us in the morning.  find a place along all the shops, or eat at the hotel restaurant?  we both wanted to spend as much time as we could in this cute cottage, so we remembered we could order breakfast in!  there was an ipad in the room with a list of all the amenities. we made our selection and ordered.  we lounged, ate, and watched some show about women who didn't realize they were pregnant until they had their babies.  a wonderful morning. 

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from this view you can see the small outdoor seating area.

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super cute from the outside as well as the inside.

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leaving the lovely cottage to shop around town and look at a mansion.

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taking a drive along the scenic coast and mansions.

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there are 11 newport mansions that you can visit.  in my mind, i thought they would all be a little closer to one another and that walking along the water to see them would be nice.  however, it was a little more of a drive, but scenic at that.  

this is the breakers.  it was the grandest of the vanderbilt 'cottages' in newport.  after having such a good time at the hammond castle, neither veca nor i really enjoyed our time at the breakers.  there were amazing things; marble that had been sliced in half to give a symmetrical appearance to walls, spanish made dyed leather wall covering, etc.  i'm not sure if it seemed too ostentatious, or that it just seemed to lack charm.  impressive, sure. . . but i found myself wondering, why work so hard to keep so many of these houses?  we were both bummed that they didn't allow photos inside, which is why this exterior shot is all i have. -perhaps it was just too many big houses all at a time.


Melbourne.3.7.2014- 1

it started sometime in the fall if i remember correctly.  i was having a conversation with camille in new zealand.  i was talking through my options of places to visit as my plan before i left korea, after my contract finished.  for a long time i had thought about a nice, relaxing visit to thailand, but i wasn't finding anyone interested in joining and having friends about it a big part of traveling for me.  she casually mentioned that her and kirsty were planning a vacation to Melbourne.  i got excited because i wanted to pass along lauren's contact info so they could finally meet up.  two brighton friends of mine who had never met each other, how fun.  i imagined them laughing over their brighton exploits, wine glasses in hand.  
then i asked when she was going.  early march.  i was going to be off contract in early march.  could i visit Melbourne as well and have a great hurrah with my kiwi and australian friends?  didn't take long to convince me.  i would arrive a few days after cam and kirsty started their vacation, and leave a few days after them, giving me both time with them and with lauren.  
so, my first day in Melbourne.  within a couple hours of arriving and settling in i was able to get online, meet up with camille and kirsty, get breakfast, get a meat pie to go, set up an australian mobile, and take out some more australian money, and spend it in a shop.  everything moved so quickly and smoothly.  when i commented on it cam reminded me that being able to speak the language really makes a difference. 

after seeing the bill for a simple but wonderful breakfast and catching a little sticker shock, they also had to remind me that in new zealand and in australia waitstaff don't receive tips but make a living wage.  

after some more walking about we headed to Federation Square.

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camille, kirsty, and i spent some time walking through the (what i believe was the) modern art section.  later in the week lauren and i went back for the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, which was immense, fantastic, and (sadly) didn't allow photos.  i'm not sure why but the gamelan seems to show up regulary in my life.  the sound is interesting, but i wouldn't call it my favorite.  emerson had a professor who spent a lot of time in bali and trained some students to play as part of a production.  calarts had a gamelan room.  this one was set to play itself on a timer.  interesting. 

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couldn't tell you what it was about, but it was eye catching.

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an ultra realistic sculpture made with silicone.  creepy and beautiful.

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more creepy. . . a taxidermy room with creepy yet whimsical creations.

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not where we ended up eating, but it required an obligatory photo.

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so after our italian dinner, we walked around and started to wonder about dessert.  we asked lauren for some advice.  after naming a couple of places, she had an 'a-ha' moment.  she said we were close to this great dessert place.  after walking in (and yes, holding this face for several minutes- ps this place had 4 times the cases you see here) i wondered how this place would've slipped anyone's mind.  of course, i have been very far from a dessert shop like this for a long time. (brunetti- a must)

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a delicious end to a wonderful first day. 

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still hard to believe that this was the first time camille and lauren met each other.  their time at brighton didn't overlap, and i think the two of them were a little nervous to meet each other, i had no doubt we'd all hit it off!