My Dutch parents have been here for six weeks and time has flown by. It was their first visit, but it is safe to say that they have been infected with the Australia virus. They were already talking about coming back before they even left.
Can I put six weeks in one blog post? Probably not, but here’s a short impression of what we did with them.
Participate in our daily live
Most importantly they experienced much of our normal daily routine here. As they are one of our most loyal blog readers, they already knew our house from a tour to our house blog post. Although almost two years later, our house has filled up a lot since then. It is amazing how much a family can collect in a short amount of time.
One of the highlights was the Grandparents Day at Luka’s Primary school. And they got to celebrate the victory of Kai’s team at the end of the summer tennis competition.
Kai participated in a under 12 tournament on the Australian Open grounds. It was almost like being at the Australian open. OK, maybe the crowd was just a little bit smaller.
Activities around Melbourne
Melbourne is a city that hosts a lot of major sports events, one of which is the Formula 1. The first weekend in Melbourne the race was on, so an early rise for the three men and they took the train and tram to Albert Park to see the Formule 1 live.
One of the biggest sports here is footy. Therefore going to a footy match is an activity that we did not want them to miss out on. Oliver is a 2-year member of one of the footy clubs – you can almost not get more local than that. Before heading to the Etihad stadium for the St Kilda vs Colingwood game we bought caps of the Saints, which made us blend right in. Footy is a very exciting game to watch, as there is a lot of action. The Ethiad stadium has over 53.000 seats and the field is about the size of 2 1/2 soccer fields. My father already did his homework and watched a couple of matches on TV. So with a brief explanation of the rules we were all set to go. All fans are screaming and yelling to the players on the field and since the fans of both teams are sitting together you can constantly feel the excitement, joy and disappointment.
Next to all the sporting event, we also came up close with the local wildlife. After sunset a large penguin colony comes ashore on the St Kilda Pier. There are volunteers that make sure that you do not use flash photography and keep a safe distance to the penguins. Most of the volunteers have a lot of knowledge and are willing to tell you all about the colony. This time we learned that the first three penguins were spotted at the pier in 1973 and the colony is growing so large that they are now also nesting on the other (seaward) side of it. The side of the pier at the harbor is sheltered and calm, the other side can get quite rough.
Usually Port Phillip Bay is quite calm, but it can get windy here too. This is what the St Kilda pier looks like in rough weather. Kai, Luka, Opa and Oma went for a walk in the storm. The day before we had been sitting on this same beach in out swim gear. But as always, if you do not like the weather in Melbourne, you just wait five minutes!
And we saw Australian wildlife at Moonlite Sanctuary.
Great Ocean Road and the Otways
We planned to go on a camping trip during the two week term break, however since it was impossible to find an affordable camper van and probably also campsites since it is a peak season we postponed our tour to the weekend after Easter. Anzac Day was on the Tuesday after, so we kept the children out of school for a day. Where this is a large offense in the Netherlands, it is a common thing in Australia.
We got to see many birds, kangaroo’s and koala;s in the wild. My father got really good at spotting koala’s, but he did not get to see a snake in the wild as he hoped. Although I doubt that he is too disappointed about it.
Now my parents have a good idea of what our live is like here in Melbourne. It was great seeing them again and to catch up with them. They have safely arrived back home again, when we Skype now they know a lot better what we are talking about.
We will have traces of them in our house for a while, since they brought all different Dutch goodies that you can spread on bread. No shortage on typical Dutch meals for quite a while.