Home of the Australian Open Tennis Tournament.
We left Sydney on the countrylink train - service to Melbourne.
It was a nice trip, and seeing the countryside from the ground was great, but an 11 hour train trip
was a little much. Kim enjoyed the opportunity to spot sheep as we were riding along. She took
Sheep in the Countryside
pictures of the sheep, and goofy shots of me.
Dinner was at the Spaghetti Tree, just a block or so from the hotel,
and was quite pleasant. We got back to the room and watched some rugby on the tube. Luckily, Kim was
coaching the rugby players from a secluded room. In a public place, she might have started a riot.
Saturday was our day for the Queen Victoria Market in downtown Melbourne.
I'm not sure what we were expecting, probably something along the lines of the big market in Krakow, Poland.
The QVM is not that. It is a giant produce, meat, cheese and live poultry market combined ith garage sale type
booths. We picked up bananas for AUS$1.5 per kilo. There were some riper bananas available for AUS$1 per kilo,
but they weren't green enough for us. We also bought some other fruit and a poppy seed roll, as well. I
recommend against the poppy seed roll from the Polish booth inside, it didn't have much flavor. We're going to
have to stick to homemade. Nothing else matches it.
We got to the market by riding the free trolley that runs a circular route
around central Melbourne. This mass transit stuff could get addictive.
We stopped in at the Fitzroy Gardens and took pictures of Begonias and,
possibly, Peonies. It was amazing the number of weddings that were occurring that day. Fancy cars were
all over town.
That evening we went to see Fairy Pengiuns come in from their daily
excursions to the sea. Because of concerns about exposing the pengions eyes to bright lights, no pictures
can be taken of them. But, it was neat to hear them chattering as they came in to the sand dunes, trying
to locate their exact burrow.
Sunday was our day for travelling the Great Ocean Road. It has spectacular
scenery and is a fabulous ride! During a break in the ride, the driver made up some Billy Tea ( regular tea
with eucalyptus leaves thrown in for good measure ), and Kim spent the rest of the trip trying to find some
pre-packaged Billy Tea. She had no luck.
Loch Ard Gorge
One of the most famous stops on the Great Ocean Road is the formation known
as "London Bridge". With the formation comes a great story. Back in 1990, there were still two arches to
the London Bridge and two hikers walked out onto the formation to look out to sea. As they crossed the first
arch, they felt some rumbling underfoot. They made a mad dash to the nearest solid rock (away from the
mainland) that was not over an arch. Just as they left the rock that created the first arch, it collapsed,
leaving them stranded. In about two hours, the police sent a helicopter out to rescue them. It would have
been sooner, but the police did not take the first calls to their office seriously. After all, everyone was
calling in saying "London Bridge has fallen down."
The Twelve Apostles
Monday we did some walking around town visiting: Australian Open tennis courts,
the Royal Botanical Garden, the Crown Casino (they wouldn't let us in to play the one-armed bandits because we
weren't dressed properly), the National Gallery of Victoria and Chinatown.
Melbourne Tennis Center
The Botanical Gardens were great! We saw several plants that we want to try to
grow here in Texas and a huge colony of flying foxes ( a type of bat ).
Dinner was at Waiter's Restaurant, a relatively hidden (down an alley, in
through a concealed door, and up to the second floor), definitely quirky, local-flavor Italian restaurant.
Next stop, Coober Pedy.