Delays in actually getting (and then finding) our hire car meant we got into Melbourne pretty late, and were thrown into the traffic good and proper. They have a massive bridge with views over the city, and it all goes a bit bladerunner, which is a good look for a place.
Without a working phone (the NZ one didn't roam) we had to beg local bars for wifi to contact the airbnb host and find out where the keys were hidden, which gave us an excuse to sit in a lovely bar and drink some wine while I communicated. There was an r&b covers band playing, who were really good (they made Rihanna's "Diamonds" sound good, and I really hate that song.
We had been fed on the plane so didn't have to worry about that, and we did eventually find a key to the flat, which was tiny, but really nice.
We liked melbourne a lot. The mistakes we made were getting accommodation with cooking and breakfast/coffee making facilities, which meant we didn't have a good reason to utilise the amazing cafes and restaurants right outside out doorstep.
The first morning we went out and had some of the rocket fuel they call coffee (I swear it was doing all the wonderful things that a good wine does, dancing on the tastebuds, and changing the longer you think about it...) and some insane breakfasts. I ordered the breakfast burger, expecting something similar to a mcmuffin, but it was actually a proper massive (and really good) burger with eggs and bacon all over it. Lisa had eggs and spinach or something. I didn't pay a great deal of attention through my morning meat sweats.
We spent the day wandering in the Nelson street area, lots of cool independent clothing shops, a Marimekko store, a Vodafone shop (yay!) and a vibe similar to Park Street in bristol, but three miles long. Lisa bought some socks, and I very nearly bought the most beautiful shirt I had ever seen, but then looked at the price and remembered I don't have a job.
Knowing we had an early start the next morning, early and headed back and prepared for the big race.
Saturday morning we had the alarm set for 4am (fortunately we were still on NZ time, so it only felt like 6am) and it was up and in the car to drive off to the Rollercoaster run. Even though this hire car was brand new, and huge and didn't smell of fire and death (the NZ one did, I might not have mentioned that, it was a Nissan Bluebird and it had 330,000kms on it by the time we gave it back, 2733 of which were ours) I still worried about some of the hills we were making it climb, and also worried that they same hills might be even less kind to our legs.
My fears were completely founded. Starting at the top of a mountain, it was basically a run down the mountain, back up a bit, down again, and then all the way back up. For a 21km race to have almost a Km of vertical ascent is insane, and it finished with about 4km up a dusty track.
I only fell over once, and a rolled, so didn't damage anything. My legs were better going up the hills than Lisa's although she is better than me going down. Finishing on a hill meant I beat Lisa in a distance event for the first time since the Budapest marathon.
The medal was beautiful, and the kudos was great. The times were hopeless (about an hour and a quarter slower than a normal half marathon!) but I'd class it as one of my favourite races ever. The slices of orange at the finish line was the best thing I've ever tasted!
After a shower and a rest (and a massive lunch by the beach) we met up with Duncan, (Lisa's second cousin,) and drank and ate and admired the beautiful people in the bar we'd found on our first night.
On Sunday we met up with Duncan again (a little later than planned, as we were both very tired, and not moving especially effectively - I've never known aches like it) and we took the tram to the national gallery of Victoria, a lovely space, crammed with are from Europe and Asia. Very impressive stuff. A light lunch in the sunshine, and a tram ride back to st Kilda, and we spent the rest of the afternoon/evening (finally) booking up all the flights around south east Asia, and most of the accommodation too.