25.10.2013 - 30.11.2013 20 °F
On the car trip from Narooma to Melbourne, I mentioned that Teresa spotted a Roo. She sent me this photo that she took.
That evening we arrived in the city. We were dropped off at our hotel, thanks to Neil and Teresa. It was the Ibis on Little Bourne and is not to be recommended. Had I not paid in advance for the first night, we would not have remained. We moved after two days to the other Ibis Melbourne on Therry Street and it worked very well for the rest of our stay.
The next morning we went to the Queen Victoria Market, a favorite with locals and tourists. Everything you need to have a picnic can be found: fresh local (Coffen Bay) oysters, cheeses (Tasmanian Brie and Adelaide Blue, meats, baked goods, fruits, and wine. And that's what we did for our lunch. Then onto the center of activity at Federation Square.
It is here that most of the museums (free except for special exhibits) are clustered including the Ian Potter Centre (closed), NGV International, and the Australian Center for the Moving Image. We went to ACMI...boring. Then we walked over the nearby Princess Bridge which crosses the Yarrow River to visit the Edward Steichen and Art Deco Fashion special exhibit at the National Museum..interesting.
(Steve walked around instead). Together we went to the Immigration Museum to see the regular gallery and a headscarf special exhibit...informative. (We learned the Aussies interned the Germans and Austrians during the world wars and there was a whites only immigration policy in the past). All of that was more than Steve could bear so we had a brew in a quaint old pub and all was well with the world. Speaking of brews, it is important to learn the terminology. A "pint" is what we all know. A half-pint is a "pot" and in between is called a "schooner." For those who give a damn, our favorite was Chancer Golden Ale.
Melbourne has a very adequate city transportation system. There are trams that take you everywhere you need to go. There is a free trolley that does a loop around the city center stopping at a number of key attractions. And there is a tourist bus that does much of the same but with a few more attractions thrown in. Take the free trolley and save $5.
One of the days we met Teresa and Neil for lunch at one of there favorite spots, the Chocolate Buddha. They both know the city well and took us on a guided tour providing commentary interesting tidbits and some history. They took us for a walk along the Royal Arcade on Collins Street, the exclusive shopping street. We visited the Royal Exhibition Building, one of the greatest exhibition buildings constructed in the Victorian era (about 1884). It was used as the National Parliament for 20 years before the capital was moved to Canberra.
I think you get the picture that Melbourne is a cool city and there is lots to see and do.
Even with all of this, our favorite day was when we to Teresa and Neil's home in Albert Park. It is a beach community 3 km south of the CBD and is characterized by wide streets, heritage buildings, terraced houses, open air cafes, and parks. Here is an example of a terrace home...
We were invited to a family dinner and it was one for the best meals we had in Australia. Their home has several floors with balconies which overlook the city and the ocean.
With two daughters, one son-in-law, two grandsons (one 10 and the other 6 months), three dogs, our hosts and us, it was a party. As you can see, one of the group tired sooner than the others.
I have to admit Steve and and I weren't too far behind!
The next day Steve had to depart for the US and I planned my next and final leg of our RTW trip. I had two weeks left on my own and I considered visiting another area in Australia or going to New Zealand. My next blog entry supplies the answer.