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Melbourne in a day


View Terra Australis - 2012 on Ils1976's travel map.

Maybe it had something to do with all the early wake-up calls of the last couple of days, because for some strange reason I woke up at about 6 AM in the morning. But now there was no-one telling us to get up, so I decided to snooze a little bit longer.

After a couple of hours even Tania woke up and because we both were a bit hungry, we decided to have breakfast in the hotel. Since we only booked a room for a couple of nights, we had to pay a surcharge for breakfast. We could choose between continental and a full cooked breakfast. We weren’t really in the mood for hot dishes, so we both went for the continental one and I must say it was really worth it.

It has been a while since the home front heard from us, so Tania decided to quickly skype home, while I went back to the room and organized my stuff a little more and updated my journal.

When we both were ready, it was time to go and explore the city. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t looking all that bright. At the breakfast table we noticed the many clouds and when we stepped outside the hotel later on, it was still the same grey weather.

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Our first “goal” of the day is the Southern Cross bus terminal. We have an early flight tomorrow morning and wanted to be sure we could catch the airport bus from this place and in the same time see if it was already possible to buy some tickets.

Next up is the Victoria market. It wasn’t a very long walk, just minutes before we arrived, it started to rain a bit and this wasn’t much to our liking. We hoped to have some good weather today but it looked like it was going to be grey and wet all day long.

Luckily for us the market place was covered and we quickly hurried inside. I expected lots of farmer products but instead it was just one giant souvenir market. It was huge to say the least and not surprisingly it was owned by dozens and dozens of Chinese people. No need to guess where it all comes from! :)

Nevertheless it was all very tempting and Tania ended up buying a hoodie, while I found the perfect souvenir for my dad, an original (more or less ???) Barmah hat, what is more unique than a hat-in-a-bag!

Across the street there are more market halls and this time around they contain fresh products like fruit and vegetables, they even have dairy and meat products.

We end up buying a dip at one of the many shops and together with some crackers this is going to be our lunch. Are we real Aussies or what!?

Once outside again we start walking towards Old Melbourne Goal. I read some great reviews about this place but finding it is a bit tougher. We even tried to ask for some directions, but it seems that no-one knows where it is. In the end we reach the place just by following our tourist map we got from the reception at the hotel. Are we good or are we good!

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Unfortunately there is a big queue outside and we don’t have time to see the place from the inside. Earlier on this morning Tania received a phone call from her “chat” buddy Ben. They have known each other for many years now through internet but for some reason never met in person. Now that we are in his home town he asked for a small meet-up. Tania and Ben agreed to meet at 4 PM at Flinders Station, so that means that we have some more time to see the city but not enough time anymore to see the prison. The dead mask of Ned Kelly will have to wait till we come back to this city one day or another.

We aren’t far away from one of the stops of tram 35, also known as the City Circle Tram, which makes a loop through the city at all the major places of interest, but more importantly it is free. We can’t miss out on this of course!

Luckily we don’t have to wait for too long, but getting on it is pure horror. It is completely packed with tourists and after a few stops I get a bit claustrophobic and we get out at the next stop. I am so happy to be in open air again and the thing that makes me happy the most, the sun is shining! Everything looks so much better with a little bit of sunshine!

We started to walk for a few minutes and in the meanwhile pass a few churches just to end up in a small park near the Parliament buildings. This seemed to be a good enough place as any other to have a small picnic and we started to unpack our crackers and dip while enjoying the sun. By the looks of it, we weren’t the only ones, more people had the same idea. Although it is a small park, it is a beautiful one with lots and lots of plants and different kinds of flowers.

When the food was finished and we had enough sunlight on our faces, we walked towards Chinatown, which was only a few blocks away and consisted out of a few shops and lots of restaurants. The thing that was kind of strange but beautiful at the same time were the many Christmas decorations. I never expected that.

From here it was only a block away from the main shopping street. We were definitely not alone at Bourke Street Mall. The nice weather made sure lots of people were outside and together with the many artists who performed in the middle of the street, it felt a little bit like being back home again.

We took another street to the left of Bourke Street Mall and ended up at Flinders Station. It was a little bit too early for our meet-up with Ben, so in the meantime we visited Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Federation Square and made a stroll along the banks of the Yarra River from where we had an amazing view on the skyline of Melbourne.

At exactly 4 PM we were back at the main entrance of Flinders Station. Lots of people come and go, but no Ben in sight. It turns out to be one of the busiest places of Melbourne and after a quick phone call we learn that he is still on his way towards the centre and for me it is quite fun to try and spot him because I have no clue how he looks like. Unfortunately the both of us didn’t do that great of a job because a few minutes later he stands in front of us without us even noticing it.

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We all quickly say hello and Ben takes us under his wings straight to one of the many backpackers’ to have a few drinks. He opts for a local beer and the both of us go for some Swedish cider, which is quite expensive but nevertheless delicious.

Tania and Ben talk about old times, we talk about our trip so far as well as many other things and time flies by really fast. We even have a second round, but by than I really start to feel the alcohol. After all, the only thing I have eaten today besides breakfast, is a few crackers and now with almost an entire litre of cider in my belly, I feel a little bit light headed. It turns out I am not the only one because when we said our goodbyes to Ben, the both of us had lots of difficulties walking in a straight manner back to our hotel. But on the other hand, we had a lot of laughs in the process, isn’t that the thing that counts the most!? :)

Once back in the hotel, we quickly change into some warmer clothes because by now we learned that nights are chilly in this part of the country and of we went again towards the Southern Cross station to catch the tram to Saint Kilda.

Woody, one of our former tour reps, told us that there was a possibility that we could see some penguins at the Breakwater of St. Kilda pier and we weren’t going to let this pass.

We had to hurry a bit, because we had to reach the Breakwater before sunset, something we failed to do, the sun was already setting when we reached the jetty of St. Kilda harbour. We walked all the way to the Breakwater, but it was quite a long way and by the sound of it, we weren’t the only ones there. Talking about a big crowd, it was hard to see a thing. Once in a while we saw something moving in the water, but it could as well be a big muskrat. Who would tell ???

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Tania went to one of the guards (actually they were more volunteers making sure that everyone behaved themselves) at the Breakwater and asked her when we would see the penguins. She in her time reassured Tania that we still had enough time to go and have dinner. That seemed like an amazing plan cuz the both of us were just starving, but this meant that we had to walk all the way back to the Esplanade, it was once again a dreadful long walk, but once back in “civilization” we walked towards to first restaurant along the way, which was an Italian one and ordered some pasta. It was delicious and although I am a slow eater, I even finish my plate before Tania, talking about being hungry! :)

It’s already very dark when we head back towards the Breakwater and for some reason the walk up the jetty and pier doesn’t seem to be all that dreadful anymore. Although it is still chilly out there, the walk is kind of pleasant and we see a few people along the way who are night fishing.

When we arrive at the Breakwater, we are surprised that the entire crowd is gone. Did we miss out on it??? This is just so strange, why would the guard tell us we have enough time, just to find out later on that the “show” is over and we missed the whole thing???  How rude!!

But than we notice some people using the light of their cell phone to spot some penguins and indeed, when we come closer, we notice a few of the little fellas. They are so cute, but taking pictures is very difficult because we can’t use a flash and without a tripod it is quite an ordeal. But nevertheless, looking at them is really worth the visit.

Sadly enough we have to go back to our hotel, we still need to buy some tickets for the airport bus and pack the rest of our stuff. After all, it is going to be once again an early wake up call tomorrow.

Posted by Ils1976 08:23 Archived in Australia Tagged bridges churches art buildings skylines native city sights oceania

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I'm glad you got to see the penguins and generally have a nicer and more relaxing day after the disasters of the previous few days!

by ToonSarah

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