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Posts Tagged ‘Melbourne’

While Tony and I were planning our trip, Tony told me about a place he wanted to see that was a day’s drive from Melbourne.  The Twelve Apostles is a group of monoliths that have broken off of the main shore through years of erosion.  Now they stand in the Indian Ocean, a short way from the shore.  He really wanted to see it and I looked into some tours.  The tours were very pricey (over $250 for each of us) and they didn’t stop at all the places he wanted to stop between Melbourne and Port Campbell.

In the end, Tony decided to rent a car in Melbourne and drive us to Port Campbell.  He also rented a small apartment for us for the night.  He was really excited about it and through his excitement, I became excited too.  However, I was not really thrilled about the idea of Tony driving in Australia where they drive on the left side of the road.  He really wanted to do it and had made all the arrangements so that’s what we did.

Once we found the rental office, which we had to walk to from our hotel, we went through all the paperwork and got in the car.  Lo and behold, everything was reversed.  Not only is the steering wheel on the right hand side of the car, the turn signal and wiper controls and all the “stuff” on the dash is a mirror image of what we are used to.

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The interior of the rental car.

We managed to get the car out of the congested down town area and into the suburbs where we spent some time finding a place to eat and letting Tony get used to the car and driving on the wrong side.  The rental car was out of GPS units even though we had reserved one so we were on our own as far as getting around town.  It was not only scary for Tony, although he played it really cool, it was really horrible for me as the passenger.  It was the strangest feeling to be a passenger in the front seat of the car and be sitting on the left side.  It also seemed that he was getting too close to the left many times.  I would end up grabbing the seat bottom and bracing myself in case he hit the car to the left of us or the curb!  Believe me, it is not easy to get used to.

When the commute traffic let up, we found our way back to the hotel and had to find street parking because our hotel had no spots left in their parking lot.  We ended up parking about three or four blocks away from our hotel and we set the clock for 6 because the place were parked the car was a tow away after 7 in the morning.  To top it all off, it was also raining that night.

The next morning, Tony and I dragged all of our luggage downhill a block away from the hotel where I stayed with the luggage while Tony walked to the get the car.  Once he picked me up, we found our way out of town and on to the freeway to get out of the area and off toward The Great Ocean Road and Port Campbell.

It was a long day of driving in very interesting and varied terrain.  That post will be coming up.  I’m reliving the whole day’s drive just writing about it.  I feel the anxiety I felt then, almost as if it were right now.

 

 

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Melbourne is known for their street art which is encouraged and sanctioned by the government.  There are stray bits of street art all over Melbourne. We knew this before our trip but had it filed away in the furthest recesses of our minds.

Our first night in Melbourne, we tried to get reservations at a tapas bar, named La Movida, which is known as the best Spanish Restaurant in Melbourne but we couldn’t.  They were booked.  Kind of bummed about it, we headed for Federation Square anyway, figuring we would find something to eat there.  We did.  We ended up in the cafe part of Young & Jackson which is one of Melbourne’s oldest pubs.  Tony had read up on breweries and pubs so it was on his list and we ate there.  However, I was still curious about La Movida.  The next day we went walking and exploring in the same Federation Square area.  That’s when we stumbled on Hosier Lane, la Movida, and Australian street art!

Hosier Lane from across the street…

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Hosier Lane from across the street. Pretty narrow!

Once we got to the street (really no more than an alley) we could see why the restaurant was full the night before.  They seat about twelve people at this location.  There is another location a block away but we didn’t know that.

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La Movida wine and tapas bar, Melbourne.

I took a couple of steps into the alley and realized this was the place with all the street art.  I called Tony back and we spent almost 45 minutes taking pictures. Tony walked further down the street than I did and he walked back into little tiny driveways where more art was present.  I was really intrigued with the artwork and with the fact that it is respected and left up, even when it is political in nature.

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I love these colors, don't you?

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This same alley displays quite a variety of styles.

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One of several "mini driveways' or alley within an alley.

This one below is one of my favorites.  It is right outside the door of the restaurant.  You can see in the top portion what is the wooden frame where they place their menu and just to the left is the door to enter the restaurant.

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One of my favorites!

Below is a picture of the alley from the other end.  As you can see, we weren’t the only tourists admiring the artwork.  By the time we left the alley the group of tourists in there had grown more and it was beginning to be difficult to take a picture without getting in someone’s way!

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The length of the alley from the other side.

Tomorrow will be either about driving on the wrong side or about food!

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Today I’m just posting pictures with little commentary because I have had a bad case of the blahs today and I cannot seem to concentrate.

Victoria Parliament in Melbourne pictured below:

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Parliament of Victoria, Melbourne, AUS

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Lighting fixtures outside of Parliament building. Note the crowns.

Across the street in one direction is the Hotel Windsor, Melbourne’s oldest surviving hotel.  Now privately owned, it is truly a “grand hotel”.  Notice how this 1880’s building is set in the middle of modern buildings.

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Hotel Windsor

Across from Parliament in the other direction is the Princess Theatre, an ornate theater dating back to the 1850’s.  There have been numerous ghost sitings at the Princess.  Today it is still a theater.  I believe Jersey Boys was playing there when we were in Melbourne.

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The Princess Theatre in Melbourne

Detail of the front of the Princess Theatre:

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Gold angel and lions atop Princess Theatre, Melbourne

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On one of our Melbourne days, we headed over to the Queen Victoria Market, which is not open every day so we were glad to catch it on an open day.  The market is a huge area, right in the middle of the city, where one can find small temporary shops selling anything from boomerangs to totebags to veggies and fruits.  You can also find inside a covered and permanent area, several delis, chocolate shops, bakeries, cheese stores, and almost anything you’d like to eat or drink while shopping.

It was a wonderful experience.  We shopped and before leaving we each found some delicious “take away” food, some tropical smoothies, a table to sit at, and then we headed for the bakery for a cookie for each of us.  We could have gone back another day but because of our trip’s timing and the market’s hours of business, we were not able to.

Below you’ll find photos of the front of the market place from two different entrances, a shot of kangaroo meat at the meat shop, stacks of chocolate, and colorful artwork!

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Queen Victoria Market entrance

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Another entrance to Queen Victoria Market

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Kangaroo Meat (sign says Peppered Roo)

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Stacks of Chocolate!

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Boomerangs

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Aboriginal art work for sale at Queen Victoria Market

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Melbourne

Melbourne (pronounced MelBUrN by locals), is a city with a rich variety of architecture and people and experiences.  For the first two days we stayed in the CBD (Central Business District) which I liken to staying in Manhattan when visiting New York.  Although we were in the middle of the business district, we did find a free tram to take us all over and it stopped at the end of the block of where we were staying!  The only downside was that it only ran during business hours, which in Australia end at about 5 PM.  After that, we were on our own, either walking or on a taxi.  We did a lot of walking!

It’s impossible to put all of our Melbourne experiences into one blog post so I won’t even try.

One thing that is hard to miss in Melbourne is the way that the old is respected along with the new.  All over you will see old buildings from the founding of Melbourne (1835) to the present, all side by side.  It was refreshing to see that the old has not been abandoned to make way for the new.

Federation Square, Melbourne

Federation Square, Melbourne

One of my favorite  buildings is Flinders Station which is seen below and in the far back of the photo above.  It’s a bright yellow train station where one can catch a train to all parts of the city and beyond.  It is also the center for eating, socializing, and getting an internet connection.  At any given time it is abuzz with activity.

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Flinders Station

Another thing that is hard to miss in Melbourne is the presence of public transportation.  From any given point in the CBD, one will see buses, trams, trains, raised trains, etc.  There is a flurry of activity all around and if not careful, you might get on the wrong bus or tram and not have the correct pass/ticket when required!  That’s one of the reasons we stuck with the free City Circle tram…we didn’t have to worry about having the correct change or the correct bus pass.

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Tram stop with raised train in background.

 

In the picture above, notice the raised train tracks in the background and then the street with a tram stop in the middle of it.  That’s right, in most places tram and bus riders will have to wait for their transportation in the middle of the road and in many cases there is no island on which to wait as there is in the picture above.  We waited, in some instances, in the middle of the road in a spot where there was no more than about 18 inches between the cars on either side of us.  It was difficult not to be blown away onto oncoming traffic in one direction or another!  And in many cases there is no rail or divider of any kind whatsoever!

Melbourne  Gaol

Melbourne Gaol

Above is a photo of the Old Melbourne Gaol where legendary Ned Kelly was imprisoned and hung for murder in 1880.  The city has been built up all around this area with old buildings like this one right next to modern skyscrapers.

More in upcoming posts.

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G’day Mate!

Just a short post from down under…

After over an hour delay out of LAX, we headed into the wild black yonder (12:45 am) and a 15.5 hour flight.  Arrived in Melbourne at 9:15 AM local time.  Airport was a breeze, including Customs.

The tough part was trying to stay awake and active all day so we could manage the time change.  We did it.  Slept well and are now getting ready to head out for our second day down under.

More to come later tonight.  Picture below is St. Paul’s Church in Federation Square which is an awesome array of architecture, people, hustle, and bustle.

St. Paul's Church in Federation Square, Melbourne.

St. Paul's Church in Federation Square, Melbourne.

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