We arrive Melbourne on 15 October 2019 at 8:30am having completely missed the 14th.    It is springtime here with temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s and misty rain.  Our Airbnb is atypical for us as we have booked accommodations in a high-rise on the 23rd floor with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the magnificent cityscape.  The unit is lovely and centrally located but has the feel of living in Asia as we are on the fringes of Chinatown with mostly young Chinese residents.

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Australia gives a nod to the indigenous population at every opportunity.

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Living Room.
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Kitchen
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Master bedroom
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Guest bedroom.

We begin our exploration of Melbourne like we do with every new city by taking a run of four miles mostly along the Yarra River.

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On the way to the river we pass St. Paul’s Cathedral.
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Tons of rowers on the Yarra, especially on Saturday.
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Crossing the Yarra on the Princess Bridge looking at the Evan Walker bridge.  Crossing from North to Southside.
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We also pass by Melbourne’s huge Art Center.

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Crossing back over the Yarra from South to North on Morell pedestrian only bridge.

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Federation Square.

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More of Federation Square.
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Beautiful old Flinders Street train station across the street from Federation Square.

We arrive home from our first run just in time to greet our first houseguests, Katiti Kironde and Bill Winder, showing up exactly 24 hours after our arrival.  It’s nice to have friends that will travel half way around the world to spend time with us.

IMG_0107After showering and freshening up Katiti and Bill were ready for a walkabout.  We headed west to Flagstaff Gardens and Docklands.

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First group photo.  They don’t look bad for just having flown all the way from Boston.
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Flagstaff Gardens, just down La Trobe Street from us.
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Docklands on the west side of town.
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Melbourne architecture is very asymmetric and colorful, not always pleasantly so.  Seems to be a competition for who can be the most outrageous.
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There are many beautiful bridges across the Yarra and a surprising amount of them are pedestrian only.  That is Seafarers Bridge.
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Walking along the river heading home.

For Bill and Katiti’s first full day in Melbourne we booked a three hour private walking and driving tour of the city.   Our tour guide, Geoffrey, drove us to many neighborhoods within the city.  We started off at the famous Queen Victoria market which is only a few short blocks from our home.  We made several food purchases here and marveled at the selections available.

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We started our tour at The Queen Victoria Market which is only a few blocks walk from our home here.
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That’s $15.60 USD for a dozen shucked oysters.  They are well worth the price, very tasty.  We also tried the colorful spiny lobsters at the left edge.

After the market we drove to the Carlton neighborhood, home of the Melbourne Museum and the Royal Exhibition Building which is a World Heritage listed building and one of the worlds oldest remaining exhibition pavilions.  It was built in 1879-80.

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Royal Exhibition Building built for a great exhibition held in Melbourne in 1880.  The dome was meant to resemble The Duomo in Florence.

IMG_0905We next drove into the adjacent Fitzroy neighborhood which is a lively suburb with a bohemian reputation popular among students and young professionals.  Street art covers the narrow back streets where small galleries sit alongside corner pubs and terrace houses.  We made a brief stop at Lune a French bakery that is known for its buttery croissants made on the premises.  It was founded by Kate Reid in 2012, she is an ex Formula 1 Aerodynamicist.

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Melbourne’s most famous croissanterie, Lune.
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The croissants are made in a temperature and humidity controlled room.  All of the cutting is carefully measured with a tape measure.
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Having coffee and croissants while admiring the street art below.  We found the croissants to have too much egg wash, too slick and perfect and not flaky enough.  Just our opinion.

IMG_0145IMG_0911Our last stop of the tour was in the CBD (Central Business District) near where we live.IMG_0153

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There are many interconnecting Arcades which are part of the charm of Melbourne.
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Famous Arcade clock built to compete with a much smaller clock in an adjacent Arcade.
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This is the other clock.

 

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Now who is the guide here?
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Beautiful mosaic floors in the Arcade.  This was covered with linoleum during the world wars as it was deemed inappropriate for the times.
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Famous, fancy Hopetoun Tea Room.  Always a queue to get in, not our cup of tea, so haven’t tried it.
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Beautiful etched mirror in The Tea Room.
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First elevator in Melbourne.
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First escalator.
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Melbourne Town Hall.

For our second city run, we head to the river again passing by National Gallery Victoria to the Kings Domain which is 89 acres of parkland with an outdoor performance venue and the Shrine of Remembrance which is an enormous WWI memorial and museum. Entrance to National Gallery of Victoria is pictured below with a video of their wall of water.

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Flower clock in The Kings Domain.
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We ran up a long hill to this Shrine of Remembrance.
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Eternal flame lit by Queen Elizabeth in 1954.
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This shows how big it is, very hard to see Jim on the steps.

After the Kings Domain we ran to the tan track which is a 3.8K circuit around the Botanical Garden.  The name tan refers to the tan bark surfacing of what was originally an equestrian track established in 1901.  It is now a fun and fitness track and has been resurfaced with a mixture of rock and gravel so that it retains its tan coloring.

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Running on the tan track.

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Sandy (nee Jamieson) was pleased to see that a possible relative holds this record.

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We walked home through Queen Victoria Gardens.

IMG_0220IMG_0221After our run we were treated by Katiti and Bill to a traditional Melbourne barbie which they booked on Airbnb experiences.  Our host Aaron was from Adelaide.  His parents emigrated to Australia on a boat from Viet Nam in the 1980’s.  We met up with Aaron at Batman Park which was known for its bat population in the trees.  Fortunately we were not aware of that at the time but learned of it later from our friend Adam Caper.  Aaron lit up the electric grill, which are provided free of charge at many parks throughout the city, and cooked us juicy hamburgers, sausages and kangaroo kebobs which he served with sautéed onions and a mixed green salad.  Desert was Lamington which is a favorite sweet for Aussies featuring a fluffy sponge cake that is dipped in melted chocolate before being covered in desiccated coconut on all sides.  This was a unique and traditional experience and we were pleased to learn that we were one of Aarons first few guests on his entrepreneurial experience.

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Our host Aaron beginning the barbie.

IMG_0972IMG_0225IMG_0230On Saturday we attended a matinee at South Bank theatre for the performance of a play titled Black is the New White.  We really enjoyed this comedy which is about an aboriginal woman who introduces her white fiancé to her family.  Jim appropriately booked these tickets for all of us prior to even knowing Bill and Katiti’s dates.IMG_0233IMG_0235

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Ordering G & T’s for now and another for the interval which will be waiting for us.
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The set for the play.

So ends our first five days in Australia, off to Tasmania very early tomorrow morning.

4 Replies to “Melbourne Australia”

      1. Reliving our WONDERFUL time with you guys in Melbourne. Thank you for having us. You two are truly SPECIAL and we LURVE you…A LOT

        Like

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