Melbourne Pg 7

Friday 23rd

We slept well and then breakfasted on toasted rolls and honey, which made a bit of a change LOL We had actually had a fruit platter for breakfast the day after the ‘supermarket’ shop, but I forgot to mention it, and… what the heck!

Today we’d planned to catch the red tourist bus but the trouble was that one brochure said they ran every half hour (? don’t quote me!), and another said they ran every 15 minutes (or was it 20?, but anyway you get my drift. And even if they’d both said the same thing, neither of them told you where they started from, nor what time, even approximately, they would arrive at each stop.

So, once we were showered and ready, we headed off to the stop just the other side of Queens Bridge. Even if this was the first stop on the journey we were waaaaay too early, and hate sitting around for no reason so we decided to start walking the route it would take and stop at the bus stop we deemed the best idea at the time. We walked about 1.5 kms and ended up at the stop marked No.1 on the brochure, and there was a red bus! You know how it is when they’re at the stop and you’re still quite a distance away… we hurried to get there, but the driver got out of the bus as we got closer. To cut straight to the point, his name was David and he was a really lovely guy. We ended up having a wonderful chat to him for about 10 mins until it was time for him to go. And we chatted as we drove along too. Until the next stop. People came from everywhere and were jammed on like sardines. David came and shared my seat with me, which was built for 1½ slim people, and neither of us are quite that LOL

As we travelled along the bus driver David (not mine) made a few announcements about what we were passing and pointed out places of interest, and we were very happy to stay on with him. If he had been grumpy we probably would have got off a lot sooner and seen things along the way, but as it happens, one of the main things we wanted to see this day was the Queen Victoria Markets so we stayed on board all the way to those.

We’d been told these were large, and the idea of having any market that is open 5 days a week was quite new to us. We only have weekend markets in Perth so far as I’m aware. The QV Markets were divided into sections so that there was a massive section for clothes, knick-knacks, gifts etc; another for fruit and veg, another for meat and yet another for delicatessen items. We’d been dropped in the clothing and gift section, which suited us fine.

We really enjoyed walking up and down the long laneways between the stalls and seeing all of the very exciting things for sale. We bought a few gifts ready for Christmas as well as some ‘I’ve been on holiday’ presents for the grandchildren. The atmosphere was really good and, although it was fairly busy, it certainly was not push-and-shove country so we had a good time. We were probably walking up and down for about an hour I think and it started to get time for some morning tea/lunch. Perfect timing, and we came upon a ‘pizza by the slice’ stall that had a few small tables that we could sit at to eat, so we did.

Pizza by the Slice

Pizza by the Slice

A ‘slice’ of pizza had meant a quarter, which was a bit of a surprise.  The pizza wasn’t outstanding but wasn’t bad either, and the coffee was pretty good.  And this was a market, not fine dining, so we were happy.  It was good to sit for a while too.

This pretty much also marked the end of the part of the markets that we wanted to see.  We couldn’t buy food and bring it home, and tomorrow was flying day so there was no time even to eat anything we took back to our room.  There were a few things we’d seen on the way around that we now wanted to buy and we were pretty proud of how well we found those stalls again – and the load fitted easily into David’s backpack and my handbag.

And then we set off walking.  On the red bus we had passed through Lygon Street, which, David the bus driver told us, was the famous dining area of Melbourne.  There were over 360 restaurants on this one street!!!  I had said to David a few days before that if you decided to eat your way around Melbourne, a new restaurant or café for every meal, that it would take ‘quite some time’.  Well now we knew there was a year’s worth of dinners just in this one road!

But as we were heading towards Lygon we decided to take a look at the Exhibition Building.  Well wouldn’t you know it?  Just as we got there it was closing ROFL  We’d already walked quite a distance but carried on, and then came upon a hospital, which reminded David that we had been meaning to watch out for a hospital that’s featured on a TV show that we like named Offspring.  We walked all around this hospital but it was not the one so we checked our map and the one we wanted was way back, a little further than the QV Markets that we’d set off from!

We made the wise choice and decided to wait for the red bus to come around again.  It was quite a wait at the stop, and the seat was taken so we stood and fidgeted whilst we waited.  The driver was not David 🙁  And if we thought the last one had been packed, this one was ridiculous!  I grinned at David and said “Now you know how your passengers feel!” and he grinned back.  We could not *wait* to get off the thing, which was a lot easier said than done – there was a lady closer to the door trying to get off with her baby and pram whilst half a dozen people at the stop were totally determined that they were going to get on that bus.  I just don’t understand the mentality of these people.  Even if only for selfish reasons that they’ll have more room when they get on, you’d think they’d let people get off the bus (train/tram/whatever) first – wouldn’t you???

We walked, we found the right hospital, we circled its entire city block, but we could not find the oft-featured balcony from the TV show!  And we had to cross the road to save us from being bowled over by a hoard of senior school students who obviously needed to come past us to get to their bus or tram stop.

We were not going to get back on a red bus again, I can tell you, so we set off walking yet again.  Just as we went to cross a road, around came a red bus and it was the other David driving it.  He gave us a huge wave with a massive grin, and we returned both.  And we walked, and we walked, and we walked some more.  Always happily admiring the scenery around us, until we did finally reach Lygon Street.

It was now about 4pm, so too late for lunch and too early for dinner, but we walked along to see what there was to see and were perhaps considering an ice cream.  But you know what’s coming; most of these restaurants had kerb-side seating and many of the people walking by were smoking.  We find this a bit confusing because the laws in Australia are that there is no smoking allowed where food is served.  Yet people walking by don’t count!  All of a sudden I noticed a restaurant on the other side of the road with a really decent indoor eating area so we crossed eagerly and discovered it was an Italian restaurant.  Not David’s top choice usually, but he seemed happy so we sat down and were going to have coffee and cake.

But along came the waiter and gave us meal menus, so we had half a look and they had gnocchi which sounded very nice so we decided we’d earned an early dinner and would indeed eat here.  The waiter was gorgeous and really friendly, without being in our faces.  We soon found out that his name was Tony, and he pretended that he didn’t know where Perth was LOL  We ordered a garlic bread and our gnocchi and David started with a white wine as well.  We also got some mineral water, which we took quite a fancy to on this holiday (and since actually).  The water David was carrying around for us was quite warm by this stage.

Cheers!

Cheers!

That’s a well-stocked bar isn’t it?  The garlic bread arrived just seconds before the meals.  We prefer to have it as an entrée.  And, particularly for an Italian restaurant, it wasn’t really garlic bread as we know it.  The bread was cut through, but the garlic butter only appeared to be brushed over the top crust!

Garlic Bread - Allegedly

Garlic Bread – Allegedly

I’m afraid it was only passable.

Very, very fortunately, I ordered gnocchi pesto, because the gnocchi olive tapenade had sounded nice, but I thought the olive tapenade would have been on the side.  It wasn’t, it was mixed through and *very* generously with the olives, which I detest LOL  So we both enjoyed our gnocchi very much and it really was the freshest and most beautiful gnocchi that we’ve ever had.  For David to enjoy Italian food really is a compliment!

Gnocchi with Olive Tapenade

Gnocchi with Olive Tapenade

I don’t know if I should name the restaurant after dissing their garlic bread, but I’ve praised the gnocchi so here you are… it was named Copperwood.  And I thoroughly recommend the waiter Tony also!  Then David ordered a coffee liqueur for me – after telling Tony that I don’t drink – which he’d remembered LOL  David had another glass of wine as well and when my coffee arrived it was the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen!

Coffee Liqueur

Coffee Liqueur

Usually they’re served already made in a mug, but this one had the separate ingredients and was absolutely a picture!  I had great pleasure from photographing it, which is just as well, because I’d asked for Kahlua as my alcohol and I’m totally positive that is not what I got.  I’m no expert on spirits so couldn’t tell you what I did get, but it was not the same as any Kahlua I’ve had in the past and was a little too strong for me.  I didn’t manage to finish it and gave the last quarter to David, but had not enjoyed the rest as I should have done.

And then we could delay no more and set off again for the long walk back to the hotel.  We were kind of wondering what we’d done by having dinner so early, but such is life LOL  Or was it actually a late lunch?

We travelled different roads on the way back and saw the Old Gaol – but it was closed ROFL.  This is the gaol where Ned Kelly was held and I did read on a wall plaque that his mother was also a prisoner during the time that Ned was hanged for his crimes.  What terrible, terrible times they must have been.  I don’t care to let my mind wander there very much 🙁

Old Melbourne Gaol

Old Melbourne Gaol

I think this may have been the roof of their church, or where those sentenced to death were hung.  Because it was shut we did not get to find out.  Either way, it was sad to see this historic old place surrounded by all the tall city buildings.  We can only imagine the things that these walls have seen in all these years.

Old Melbourne Gaol

Old Melbourne Gaol

And from there we walked through the grounds of RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) and just headed in the general direction of our hotel, but when we reached one cross roads and looked up where we were on the map we had both completely lost our sense of direction.  I thought we needed to turn right on this road and David thought we should turn left.  Or was it the other way around?  We ummed and aahhed for a few moments and then decided to ask someone.  They didn’t know either, but a second someone pointed to our left and we were back on our way again.  I took a photo of the traffic lights on this intersection because I could not believe my eyes!

Signs & Too Many Traffic Lights

Signs & Too Many Traffic Lights

And the only exciting thing that we saw after this was an organised protest, which had heaps of police around just to keep an eye on things, and this row of police horses, which upset me a bit to think of how these poor, innocent animals could potentially be hurt in a skirmish.  And that got me to thinking how horses had been used for wars in the past and then it was definitely time to turn to cheerier thoughts!

Police Horses

Police Horses

Oh, look at that architecture!!!

In actual fact I did take quite a few photos of amazing old architecture in Melbourne.  There were some beautifully ornate buildings – in fact many of them!  Perth tear them all down I’m afraid to say, but the Melbourne buildings were all taller so perhaps they were still serving useful enough purposes to justify their footprint, whereas the Perth ones were mostly 1 or 2 floors and I guess they felt it better to replace them with tall modern things.  Anyway, architectural photography doesn’t seem to be my forte so I won’t show you most of them, but here’s my favourite one.

One of the many Beautiful Architectural Arches in Melbourne

One of the many Beautiful Architectural Arches in Melbourne

We finally arrived back at the hotel, a little weary of foot, but happy that we’d managed to fit a lot into this day as well, and see more of this city that we’d come to visit.  We’d come to Melbourne because it was the remaining mainland state of Australia that we had not seen, and to see why everyone raved on about how lovely Melbourne is.  And we have to agree!  We didn’t come close to seeing it all in our week.

From our room I tried to take a photo of our last sunset in Melbourne.  It didn’t turn out a prize-winning shot – it never was going to be, but it was rather pretty all the same.

Last Victorian Sunset

Last Victorian Sunset

On this day we walked, at the very least, 12 kms.

Saturday 24th

Our last morning, and we needed to check out by 10am so of course we woke early.  Early enough that we decided to run once more around the beautiful, beautiful river, stretched out below our hotel window.  Even though our legs were rather tired from all we’d asked of them in this week, we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to enjoy the Yarra views one last time.  It was early and cool – just the right temperature for running well and we made the most of it.  We took the almost 5km route of a couple of days before, Market St, right to Kings Bridge, down the south side of the river to Swan St and then along the north side of the river and back to the hotel.  We even ran up the fairly short but steep part of Market Street all the way to the hotel door.  It was our ‘victory lap’ praise to such a beautiful location.

Then we showered, checked all of the cupboards, bathroom and wardrobe for our belongings, and on checking the fridge, threw the remainder of the margarine in the bin.  We hate waste, but obviously the room service lady wouldn’t want it.

We quickly and efficiently packed our cases, with the exception, it would seem, of one pair of David’s socks and the padlock from my case – both of which seem to have completely vaporised!  In fact neither of us remembered taking the padlock off of my case when we reached Melbourne, so maybe it had snapped off in transit.  Nothing was missing, or more scary, added, to my luggage so it made no difference to anyone.

We checked out before 10 but asked the hotel to keep our cases until the airport transfer bus was to come for us at 12:30 and then went around the corner to a little café we’d noticed on the way back from our run.  Although the food was incredibly slow to arrive, the full breakfast was a good size for an incredibly small price, and the staff were friendly as well.  We were sorry we had not found this place before because we may not have bothered with all that toast LOL

After our food and then enjoying a coffee we headed to Southgate to see if we could get a new padlock for my suitcase, but there was nothing of this sort of shop there and time was beginning to get a bit short so we headed back towards the city side of the river.  Here are some things worth sharing that we saw along the way.  We’d seen the 2nd and 3rd things many times by now, but it was only now that I took the photos to share.

This item, however, we had not seen before and it made me laugh!

Yup!

Yup!

These blue bike parking stations were scattered throughout the city and the instructions said that if you swipe your credit card you can take a bike and, as long as you park it every 30 minutes at any parking station, it will only cost you $2 for the day.  You could leave it at any station when you were finished with it, you did not have to return it to the one where you picked it up.  What a fabulous idea!!!

Rent-a-Bike Station

Rent-a-Bike Station

And Melbourne is very, very famous for its ‘hook turns’.  This is because the trams occupy the centre lanes of the roads in the city block, or in fact other suburbs where they run.  So you can’t sit in the right-hand lane of a road waiting to turn right because you’ll be holding up the trams.  You can’t sit in the centre lane because you’ll be holding up the people wanting to go straight ahead.  So you sit in the left-most lane and wait for the lights to turn orange, check everywhere and then fly across the intersection quickly before the opposite lights turn green.  Everyone around Australia will warn you against driving in Melbourne city because of these and proclaim that they make no sense and are confusing or are possessed of evil but, honestly, it made every sense and, as long as you have your wits about you – and shouldn’t we all when we’re driving? – then I can’t see any problem at all.  Here’s one of the signs…

Melbourne's Famous Hook Turn

Melbourne’s Famous Hook Turn

And if you’re in a right-hand drive country, remember that our right turns are the turns where you have to cross oncoming traffic.

Back to what we were up to… we were starting to despair of finding anywhere that sold padlocks in the short time remaining to us but, on the last corner we were willing to turn, there was an OfficeWorks.  Not only that, but a really helpful lady that worked in there who walked us directly to the padlocks.  Thank goodness, because that shop was like a labyrinth!  We gratefully chose our weapon and headed back to the hotel, much relieved that we would be able to lock my case!

We had a bit of a wait for the airport transfer bus – better that than rushing and/or missing it!!!  And the driver was really friendly when he arrived.  He was even more friendly when we got to the next stop and he had absolutely nowhere to park!  He stopped in the road – and nobody beeped at him! – and there were an older couple waiting to get on so David leapt out and grabbed their cases and helped them aboard.  The driver was hugely appreciative!

We drove around a bit and picked up other people, but then got a rude shock.  This little bus drove us into, and around the back of, the main train station.  Here was an underground parking area with the longest row of angle parked coaches that I’ve ever seen (except for the buses at one station in Singapore).

At the very end of these the driver opened the door and politely booted us all out, telling us to get a ticket from the booth ‘over there’ and then line up for a bigger bus that would take us to the airport.  Oh! 🙁

David grabbed the cases for both older couples – yes, there had been another pair that he’d helped as well – as well as getting our cases, and unloaded them all.  Then went to buy our tickets whilst I stayed with our cases.  When he came back to me he asked for a bandaid.  One of the other people’s bags had gashed his finger.  That didn’t seem very fair considering he’d been kindly helping everyone, but such is life.

There was a friendly girl organising us into 2 queues and after about 10 minutes a ‘bendy bus’ showed up and she put one queue on the front door and our queue on the back.  The bus truly was little short of a cattle carter, with 2 large luggage racks that were barely up to the task and barely sufficient seating, but soon enough we were rattling along on the way to the main highway out to the airport.  I began to feel a bit sick, which is most unlike me in a road vehicle these days!  It was probably all the bus fumes from the underground bus park!  The friendly driver had told us that the country trains were all out of action this day so that’s why there were so many coaches – they were having to replace the trains.

Once we’d travelled for about 5 minutes I began to feel OK again, thank goodness, though I did have a travel sickness bag in my handbag.  Doesn’t everyone? ROFL  And then we both began to wonder if the bus stopped at only one place at the airport and we’d have difficulty finding the terminus we wanted.  And I know that David will use this whole journey as ammunition for his cause in the future that he’d wanted to take a taxi all along 🙂

Once we began to approach the airport there was an announcement, made for those with undamaged hearing, not us! – but we *thought* we’d picked out the words ‘Qantas Terminal’ and ‘mumble, mutter Terminal’ so were fairly confident we’d be OK.  And we were!

After having to ask for help at Perth Airport to do the self-serve check-in, we marched confidently up to the machines, only to have it fail on the first baggage label request.  So we had to ask for help again anyway.  Oh well.

Other than that, check-in went well and we found a Krispy Kreme donut place and determined that after nearly 10 years of hearing how fabulous these are we were going to try one each!  I chose a flavour, only to be told that they didn’t have any of these today, they’d filled that shelf with extra of ‘cookies and cream flavour’ so I said OK to one of those.  David chose an ‘apple pie’ flavour and we bought a coffee each.  Well, for all the hype, those donuts sure were ordinary!!!  But they filled the waiting time quite well.

However, while you’re waiting with us there are a few more photos that were not suitable to fit in earlier in the story so I’ll put them in here…

The hotel had a gym and the one time we tried to go to it, it was closed.  How many times have I said that during this story?  Quite a lot I think!  Anyway, you could get to the gym by going down in a lift, or ‘via stairs’.  We chose the stairs.  Now this is not strictly accurate, but it’s a decent approximation of how the journey went.  Through the door, down 3 steps, turn right, up 4 steps, turn left, down 10 steps, turn, down 10 steps, turn, up 5 steps, turn, through another door, down 4 steps, approach gym door to find it locked.  It shut 5 minutes ago!  Shrug and hope you can find your way back again!!!

But along the way we found this fire door.  Fire doors are for escaping if the building is in flames, right?  Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section ROFL

Let's Pray Not!

Let’s Pray Not!

And also 3 pictures of the Casino.  We went in here on 2 occasions for a look around and I took these shots, which I thought were quite pretty.  A shiny pillar in one foyer that reflected thousands of tiny silvery shapes suspended from the ceiling.  And this beautiful light fitting made of thick oblongs of (you guess because I’m not sure) glass/crystal/perspex…

Shiny Pillar in Crown Casino

Shiny Pillar in Crown Casino

Pretty Light Fitting in Crown Casino

Pretty Light Fitting in Crown Casino

And then this one of mirrors facing one another in the ladies room.

Never Ending Mirrors in Crown Casino

Never Ending Mirrors in Crown Casino

The flight home was rather bumpy.  Not enough for the cabin crew to have to bolt themselves down in the back of the plane, but just a bit rough, until we crossed the WA coast at Esperence and then it got bumpier still and I started to wonder if I should take another travel sickness tablet.  But there was so little time still to go – about 40 minutes I think.

The descent and landing were the roughest we’ve had in years and my stomach was getting a bit unhappy, and I was trying to keep my head in order and not worry about being sick but, thankfully we did eventually land, and did eventually stop – though we wondered there for a while as we continued to pelt down the runway!

Collect luggage, taxi to David’s parents, have a cuppa, tell them briefly about the holiday, and then start the drive home.  Well the clouds came over really dark and menacing.

Stormy Greeting to Perth

Stormy Greeting to Perth

And we’d just pulled into our garage by literally about 3 seconds when we heard what Perth had in store to greet us.  Hail stones!  And quite large ones at that!!!

Hail Stones at Home

Hail Stones at Home

The poor dog didn’t know whether to be beside herself with joy at seeing us – and she was – or worried because we were insisting on going outside to marvel at the hail.  We were under a patio looking out at it, not getting hit on the head!

And that is the end of another holiday.  Until July when we’re off to Phuket again.  I hope you’ve enjoyed reading what we got up to, and thank you so much for sharing the journey and our adventures with us.  Please do write a comment, we love to see who writes and what you all have to say!

Oh and if you’ve read the whole story of Melbourne, you’ve also viewed 122 photos.  Just thought you may like to know 🙂

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8 Responses to Melbourne Pg 7

  1. mally says:

    Just read all the way through again thoroughly enjoying Melbourne through your eyes and being delighted with your photographic show of her, I truly hopevto get your way so we can catch up again.
    Mwah!!!!
    Mally

  2. June says:

    Hi May n Dave, You would need bottle of “drink me”from Alice in Wonderland to get through that fire door!!
    Hope you had a happy Christmas. We had a great time in OZ and now back in Thailand.

    • MayL says:

      Ha ha that’s true! Such a relief to hear from you, I was getting more than a little worried! Please email and tell me all about your adventures, which are probably far more exciting than mine here.

  3. Wow! 122 photos! And I wanted even more, greedy me 🙂 Lovely travel journal May, I so enjoyed it. You really have a knack for writing these, maybe you should try your hand at some fiction. I think you’d be great at it 🙂
    I am so sorry I didn’t give you more specific tips about St Kilda and City eating because it looks like you struggled a bit a couple of times and you so shouldn’t have. Never mind, your explorations were really funny and I am sure much more fun in the end 😀

    • MayL says:

      LOL I’m so very happy that you enjoyed your ‘trip home’ Maya. I hope you didn’t mind the things that I grumbled about (whoops, was about to put DA emote code for a giggle). And yes, we usually have some amusing struggles on our holidays. I’m often laughing hard as I write about them, but we were fairly well behaved this holiday hee hee! The photos go by quickly don’t they? I was very surprised at how many I put in, because this time I numbered them in order of when I wanted to put them in the story, so I noticed!

  4. Jules says:

    Another entertaining read, May, thank you. I think I might have been in Melbourne at the same time as you. I remember that cold, strong wind, for a few days at the end of November. 🙁 You never know what you’re going to get in that fair city.

    • MayL says:

      Thanks so much for sharing the holiday with us and for commenting Jules *hug*. Everyone talks about ‘4 seasons in 1 day’ in Melbourne don’t they? But it was certainly good to us.

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