How I managed to take a mini-holiday on a pension

Recently I took a little mid week break and headed off to Melbourne to see a show with a friend. I was really looking forward to it and had planned it since April. You can actually get away for a few days, even if you are only on a pension, if you plan well ahead and look for all the specials. 

Anyway. my friend lives on the north west coast of Tassie and I live in the Hobart area so we hopped on budget flights at different ends of the state and met in the middle. Nothing usually goes as planned, and this was no exception.  

I was running terribly late as there was an accident on the highway which held up the traffic for an hour, but finally, after setting off all the alarms at the airport due to a titanium hip, I was on my way. The plane was a little late but the Hobart airport had no extra security as was indicated because of the terror scare. I don’t know whether thats’s a good thing. It seems we are not important enough in this state – budget cuts they call it. 

Finally I arrived in Melbourne, only to learn that I would have to walk one and a half kilometres from the drop off to the outside of the airport. Oh my. As someone who can’t walk six feet without huffing and puffing and having to gasp for air, this was pretty daunting. The little buggy thing that you can hitch a ride with was gone, and I would have to wait another thirty minutes so I set off on foot, slowly but surely. My friend Karen was calling, wondering where I was. As I reached the outside of the terminal I could see her soaking up the sun. It had been a long walk but here I was!

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Of course, then we learned that the shuttle company we had booked with picked you up another kilometre down the road and guess what? We had to find our way through the extensive renovations going on at the airport. So off we toddled – and I mean toddled. Karen has two bad knees, which need operating on, and me with my little breathing problem. Oh well, the sun was nice.

Upon arrival at the hotel, the fun started. The staff were wonderful and the hotel a bit “swishier” than I am used to. We were given VIP treatment with wine and breakfast vouchers thrown in and a very attentive, and good looking bell boy. Ooh la-la!

After lunch I had a date with a young man I had not yet met personally. He is a staff member with Discovery Holiday Parks. We headed out to Richmond for coffee. James Tang from Discovery Parks was a lovely young man. We talked and laughed and laughed and talked about Discovery, Starts at 60, the fact that we were seniors and he was a sweet young thing and we generally had a ball.

Thank you Travel at 60! Without you, I would not have this new young friend. He was a true gentleman with Karen and myself and a future lifelong friend. We love you James!

We had a dinner date that night, and the following night was the real reason we had hit the bright lights of Melbourne, although we nearly didn’t make it as Karen succumbed to a mysterious illness for a few hours, but then recovered.

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See, things don’t always go as they should. The Ten Tenors were absolutely amazing. Ten young men, singing like angels in a beautiful theatre for three hours. I was in heaven. We clapped and hooted and clapped and whistled and sang along and even cried. Unchained Melody never sounded more beautiful or haunting. And all of this from these sexy young men!  

After meeting them when the show was over and having a few laughs, my trusty bad influence and I headed out for supper at the Crown. Having never been to the Crown casino I had a little flutter on the pokies and although only small, I doubled my money and ran. The peppermint crisp cocktails we had as a nightcap were well worth my winnings and then it was time to head off to bed.

Of course, we couldn’t sleep without having a chat with the doorman at the hotel. What did we discuss? AFL of course; we were in Melbourne after all. At 2am, we laughed our way wearily to our ninth floor rooms, tired but happy.

The next morning it was time to leave this beautiful hotel with its fantastic staff, and we farewelled this amazing city. Of course, the transport back to the airport was fifteen minutes late, which was like hours in importance because of the terrorism scare but hey, things never go as they should. And of course I held up a very long line while I was searched twice and patted down because I tripped the alarms – again! I was virtually on time though and still the plane was late as the crew were delayed at security. True story!

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So my little mini trip came to an end. I flew home, collected my little dog – another story – and drove on home. Did we have a good time? It was the most fun I have had all year. Was it taxing? Yes, a bit, but well worth the effort. 

All I can say is don’t let any disability or age or anything stop you from getting out there and having a go. I would not have missed this experience for the world. Thank you James Tang, my new young friend. Thank you to the staff at the hotel and a huge thank you to The Ten Tenors, I fell in love ten times. Thank you to the people of Melbourne who made our stay memorable and to our dinner dates on Tuesday night. Most of all thank you Karen for being my companion for an amazing two days of fun and laughter.

My advice? Don’t ever stop living or let anything stand in your way. And girls, a couple of days together with your bestie, no matter what ails you is well worth a little effort, believe me. 

What has been the best time you’ve had recently?