Bridge in MelbourneFor years, my husband and I have talked about going to Australia. If you’re thinking of going, here’s the first thing I’d say to you: get a credit card that gives you airline miles and use it every chance you can. (American Airlines partners with Qantas, so we were lucky that way because we already had the American card.) At the moment, an economy class ticket costs $3500, so you will want to use miles!

After about 36 hours of travel, we arrived in Melbourne. (Actual flying time, 23 hours. Plus driving, layover and airport wait time.) Melbourne is an awesomely cool city. The architecture is amazing. Check out the bridge we went through! I love the off-center, egg-shaped opening. The city is a combination of very old and very new architecture, with none of the sort of “mid-century blah” you see all over the place elsewhere. I think my favorite example of this was right across the street from our hotel, where we saw this hyper-modern apartment building (at least that’s what I think it was) wrapped around an old home. I’m not sure whether the old home was actually incorporated Silverleaf building in Melbourneinto the new–it might have become a lobby or the like–but I love the look of the rounded mirrored glass around the Victorian house.

On a side note, I’ll say that if you have Celiac or any kind of gluten intolerance, Australia in general is a great place to visit. Unlike my visit to Atlanta, every place in Australia had accommodations for gluten-free eating. At breakfast every morning I was able to get gluten-free toast, and it was really good.

On another side note, it was a bit bizarre to walk around Australia and never, not once, see a stray cat anywhere. We rarely saw dogs, either, except when we went out to the beaches. But we saw rabbits everywhere. Probably because there were no dogs or cats.

The day after we arrived, we went out to Werribee Open Range Zoo and it was fabulous. I mean fabulous.

The Growling Grass Frogs were all over the wetlands part of the zoo. The sound they make is really cool.

More later, when I’ll write about Brisbane and our trip to the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast!