Today I started off the morning going to the Picasso Exhibit that Melbourne is hosting at the moment. It was a great exhibit showing the decade of works during 1930’s-1940’s. For the listening guide, they had little ipods that would guide you around giving you background information about the artworks. I thought it was a great thing to do, and I’ve heard about those touring companies that have ‘podcasts’ that do walking tours around cities. It’s a great idea! After the exhibition, I headed to lunch and enjoyed walking around the shopping arcade. After walking around a bit more trying to find some interesting pictures, I headed for the free tram that circles the city. It takes you the full circle and tells you places of interest along the way. It’s a great way to see the sights and have the freedom to hop on and off at your leisure. So all in all, Melbourne is a great place, yet with better weather, could be even more enjoyable for the visitor :) I did miss one thing while I was here.. the colorful beachouses down at Brighton Beach– may be well worth one last trip here just for a weekend jaunt!
What a rotten turn of events :( The weather not only didn’t get better, but it also got worse. After leaving Warrnambool and heading back through Port Campbell for a stop at the lighthouse, the weather continually declined and I was worried I might not get a better look at the Apostles. I did get to see the London Bridge, which was a huge rock formation with a hole in the middel, yet the weather continued to deteriorate. By the time I got to the lookout for the Apostles, it was raining and misting so badly, that I didn’t even feel it was worth stopping! A tree which had fallen blocked off the rest of the Great Ocean Road, so the only route back to Melbourne was to take the freeway (which of course was the faster option anyhow) which cut up through Simpson and led back to Melbourne. Such a disappointment, but at least I got to see them at all!
Today the weather in Melbourne started to get bad, and I have been wanting to see the 12 Apostles, which is a rock formation out near the shore. There were 12 ‘tall island’ formations that stood near the coastline just off the Great Ocean Road. However, through the years, erosion has taken its toll, and they’ve been tumbling down one by one. On the windy drive out there, the scene was just like California’s own Pacific Coast Highway, and I found myself getting car sick from the turns. After passing the 12 Apostles, I decided the best thing to do was to wait until tomorrow to get a closer look, as the weather wasn’t so great. I ended up in the little town off the coast called Warrnambool. After arriving at 3pm, I was amazed to see all shops closed all around the town center. I didn’t quite understand how a town that became a ghost town at 3pm, would still have so many cars driving around the little town center. It reminded me of New Zealand’s Houkitikka town of Jade. Oh, another bizarre thing? The only store that WAS open was Target. Who would have thought that Target could permeate down under as far as Warrnambool?
I had a great dinner of Lamb and lentils with accompanying dessert of Creme Brulee. What a treat! The food has been really good out ‘west’ which is always an important aspect of any trip for me :) Especially desserts.
Today I went out all around Melbourne. I first headed to the Prahran Markets which is a marketplace selling all sorts of fresh goods from coffee, flowers, to meats and fish. The scents were alive with the commotion of people, and I found myself having a flashback to being in Russia. It’s funny how scents do that. After having lunch nearby, I headed to Melbourne’s own Luna Park down toward the water. It’s an amusement park just like Sydney’s with the same entrance. It’s right next to the water’s edge, so I wandered down to the pier and took some pictures along the bank where a shipwreck sculpture had been created. I’m still surprised that Melbourne isn’t as cold as I would imagine. I then headed back to St. Kilda where there’s a palm tree lined street with tons of shops and boutiques. Melbourne has a huge tram network, and these cars can be seen all throughout the city. The city I thought of in comparison, was Hiroshima with all of its trams.
The short flight over to Melbourne went by quickly. I’d never flown this direction from Sydney before, so it was interesting to see the landscape below. Australia is really a fascinating continent and I’m glad I’ve been able to explore so much of it. We flew over Canberra, which is Australia’s capital, a planned city. It was very geometric looking from above, and I will venture down there sometime next month to see it first hand. When we started to approach Melbourne, the clouds hid the city, and from what I had heard, the winter is quite cold here. However, upon descent from the clouds, I was surprised to actually see how green it was. The landscape looked lush, wintery, but lush.
After I arrived, I headed for the skybus which connects you to the city from the airport. The woman who happened to sit next to me was also American, traveling on her own from Chicago for her school vacation–she was an 8th grade science teacher.
Once I arrived in the city, I started to tour all around finding it quite easily to keep my bearings. I wandered to Bourke Street Mall which is familiar with Pitt Street Mall in Sydney, and saw all the find shops. Stopped and had some amazing soup, and I bought a scarf to keep warm. It was 10C, not terribly cold, but enough to start feeling it after a while.
I got a map to see some places of interest, and continued wandering around. I took some shots around the city especially the Flinders Street Station, which has some good traffic in front. I then walked all along the Yarra River to see the great scape of Melbourne at night.
All in all, my first impressions compared to Sydney are:
There are more smokers on the streets here.
The food is better, and less ‘hit or miss’
The fashions scene is higher
While planting palm trees to line the streets, it still doesn’t and won’t ever have a ‘beach feel’ like Sydney.
Wow it seems like ages since I’ve been to the airport for a trip! I guess in actuality it has been almost 6 months! Today I’m off to Melbourne, supposedly the more cultural of the two Australian rivals — Sydney / Melbourne. It’s to be quite cold there, so I’ve packed a lot of warm clothing along with my photography equipment as I’m planning to visit the 12 Apostles. These are land formations out on the southern tip of the continent that are jutting out of the water. Actually there are no longer 12, 4 have fallen down in the recent years, so I will see 8. Anyhow, off to the airport and I will be writing my adventures on here!