Friday, 11 May 2012

Gosh, Melbourne!

Where to start?  Melbourne is an amazing mix of old and new architecture.  It's frantically busy with people and there seems to always be something to do.  We stayed pretty close to the CBD (Central Business District) and the toughest thing was to figure out how to prioritise to get the most of our days. 

Tram passing Federation Square

I must admit I was pretty tuckered out by about 4pm, walking and standing most of the day.  It's not a matter of just striding out to get to a destination, but of dodging people and prams, waiting for lights to change, watching for the very high curbs, for cars, trams and buses, keeping one eye on Bill while trying to stop and snap a photo. 

St Paul's Cathedral

The hotel was a slight disappointment.  The rooftop pool was out of order and I could have shown the cleaning person a thing or two, which is worrying. 

The Forum Theatre

The first thing I did was to trip over the tiles that raised the threshold of the bathroom, bruising the ball of my foot.  This meant wearing my trainers for added cushioning, not very stylish with my skirts, but there was nothing for it but to get on and see the sights.  Each night I pulled the bathmat over that threshold to remind me to lift my feet during any night time excursions.

Three Melbourne businessmen

It rained a bit while we were there, but mostly it was sunny and in the 80s or lower 90s, so I generally happy with the weather.  We went to a proper restaurant in Chinatown one evening, but the rest of the time we had room picnics with grocery bought foods.  Not very low calorie food, sadly, but the walking took care of most of it.

Public Art; public purse?

Melbourne has had to battle to save her older buildings from the wrecking ball (or is it all just dynamite these days?).  In one exhibit relating the rescue stories of various buildings, it was interesting to note that even the demolition workers had a view about some of them and went on strike rather than to participate in their 'downfall'.   We saw one instance where a facade was being supported while a modern building was being constructed behind and observed a few examples where this had been done elsewhere.  Not ideal if the interior is still original, but many buildings not historically protected have been trashed anyhow and the facade is perhaps better than nothing.

Mitchell House, at Elizabeth St and Lonsdale, built 1936

There was a surprising amount of things to do for free:  a tram that circled the city centre, the galleries at Federation Square, an exhibit at the library, the Victorian Women's Centre.  We chased down all things Phryne Fisher and pretty much walked all the cross streets of central Melbourne, laid out on a lovely grid.  The street names echoed out of Kerry Greenwood's books and Bill was in seventh heaven. 

The Flinders Street Station

has to be seen to be believed.  It's so....yellow.

I would happily go back to Melbourne, to spend more time exploring the coast and further afield. 

I'm certain we've only scratched the surface, as has this post...more to come!


Carolyn said...

One of my favourite cities. Melbourne is famous for its "4-seasons-in-one-day" weather!

Beryl said...

What a great post. Your tour of the city sounds so much like what I like to do when on vacation. I just have to visit Australia.

Rick Stone said...

It's always a shame when cities tear down their historic buildings. Reminds of what happened to downtown Oklahoma City in the 1970's. All the beautiful, ornate buildings that went away. Such a shame considering the glass and steel monsters they were replaced with.

BigLittleWolf said...

I always love looking at your pictures. Places (usually) that I've never been.

That public art purse!?! Pretty wild! I would've done a double-take I think.

Shelley said...

Carolyn - Thankfully, I think we managed to stay within one season while we were there.

Beryl - Yes, you do have to! I'll look forward to hearing about your trip!

Rick - Yes, I remember all the excitement when the 'modern' approach was taken - placing explosives so that the buildings caved in upon themselves. Neat, but still distressing. Grandma & Grandpa somehow had a ceiling fan in their screened back porch that belonged to the 'old Huckins Hotel' - I'm thinking that one was before my time. I still remember the first time my Dad took me to downtown OKC being in awe of all the ornate marble on display. OKC looks wealthy and modern, but I prefer old to glass and steel myself.

LBW - Glad you like the photos. I really do enjoy sharing them, not to show off our travels (though it's probably partly that as well). More that I get so much myself out of remembering and writing about the trips. I've come to really appreciate 'public art' - it's not something I remember seeing when I was growing up.