Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Melbourne -- Tues., Dec. 4

A city of color, texture, design, culture, architecture, art and wind. The location of our Best Western couldn't be beat for ease of getting into the city. A city tram (electric train) stopped one block from our motel. Because of our late night last night, we didn't start out today until about noon. That meant we missed the I'm Free Melbourne Tour at 10:30 a.m. and the free Melbourne Greeter Service Tour at 9:30 a.m.

As we left the motel, it was raining, cold and windy. I had an umbrella to take, but decided against it as it would have been turned inside out by the wind. Plan B, wear the heavy duty coat with the hood. Good plan. It was a downright cold, windy day with intermittent rain showers. Bob was in shorts and a T-shirt. I asked him if he wanted to bring his coat. He said no. Oops.

When we arrived in the heart of downtown at Flinders Street Station, there was a sea of people out and about the city streets.

Flinders Street Station
Because of the weather we took the #35 Free City Circle Tram partway around downtown and exited in Docklands. Docklands is a new area of apartments and businesses being built around Victoria Harbour. It's very vibrant. (And it has Australia's first  Costco whose biggest selling item is toilet paper.)

When we exited the tram, a cold wind was blowing and Bob wanted to get out of it. I took some photos and we looked for a restaurant for lunch. The first place we checked, The Woolshed, was pretty darned expensive so we walked on. (And I snapped some more photos.)

Harbour Kitchen was our choice for lunch. The price was reasonable and the food was healthy. I had an open-face chicken sandwich with brie, avocado and cranberry. It came with a salad. Bob had an open-face turkey melt with avocado and cranberry.

After lunch we waited for a free tram to take us back to see something we saw earlier, however we waited and waited in the cold wind and no free tram. We saw one going in the opposite direction and hopped on it to go back to inner downtown.

The sun had come out and it was quite pleasant, so we hopped off the tram and walked across a bridge over the Yarra River to look at art and the city from a different perspective.

Southbank area of downtown. Eureka Building on the left.
Art on a pedestrian bridge across the Yarra River.
Art on a building.
Th Eureka Building is art!
 I love the way the awning made the shade into art.

Sate Restaurant.
Arts Centre Melbourne
St. Paul's Cathedral
Federation Square
More impressions of Melbourne from the free Melbourne Visitor Shuttle Bus. We caught the last tour of the day at 3:52 p.m. which made us happy since it was raining again.
Royal Exhibition Building
Dragon-topped building
 After our free Visitor Shuttle Tour, we set off on foot again. Here's what we saw:
Floral clock.
Beautiful Dutch elm trees for shade in summer, sun in winter.
Memorial to fallen soldiers of the Boer War.
Shrine of Remembrance framed by Bhutan cypress.
View of downtown from Shrine of Remembrance.
Shrine of Remembrance up close.

Many, many rowing clubs practicing on the Yarra River.
If you want to see street art, head to Hosier Lane. We also caught a photo shoot in progress.

Photo shoot beginning.
Photo shoot.

New art during creation phase.


More colorful buildings downtown.
For dinner we walked one block to Bridie O'Reilly's Pub and had an excellent dinner.
Bob said Melbourne reminds him of Chicago because of all the architecture and the river which bisects the city. I said also because it's a windy city.
So ended our whirlwind tour of Melbourne. There is so much more to see--museums, gardens, plays, sculptures, other neighborhoods, more architecture. I don't know if we'll ever be back, but we gave it our best shot with the time we had available.
Tomorrow we have a 10-12 hour drive back to Sydney. Then Thursday we fly back to Honolulu. I may not write a blog for a day or two.
We've had an awesome vacation. Thank you, Bob, for my 60th birthday trip! I love you.
Travel Bug out.