I booked a room at this beautiful victorian hostel, the Nunnery,
in the Melbourne neighborhood Fitzroy, which is funky neighborood
filled with great resturantsand shops. Across the street from my hostel
was carlton gardens and the melbourne museum (I think this is a world
heritiage site). The biggest problem is that there is no place to park.
So I actually parked illegally for my 3 days in melbourne, and was very
lucky to not get a ticket! (Although I was stressed about it the whole
time). My first evening, I went to a good veggy resturant on Brunswick
street and walked around the neighborhood (great Victorian buildings
The next day I tried driving through the city to the royal gardens
on the other side of the river, but I could not find any place to park.
I kept driving, and soon enough I needed to go to the bathroom, and I
still could no find anyplace to park. In fact, I could not find any
place to even turn! Eventually I ran into a highway, got off at the
next exit and found someplace to park and attend to my business. Whew.
After driving around a different park of the city, I drove out to
Nicks Wine Merchants, a store I have ordered wine from a few times
before, which is located in one of the suburbs. After looking around
the store for an hour, and chatting with a women who works there, she
gave me a free bottle of wine! You just don't see this occurring in the
That evening I ate at a very good afgani restaurant on Brunswick Street
and drank the wine. The following day I drove around a bit and then met
my friend, Mark Joshi, from grad school for lunch at the Melbourne
University faculty club. I visited Melbourne University 8 years earlier
when another friend was a professor there, but I had not remembered hw
asian the school was. It seemed like a large majority of the students
were asian. Interesting. Mark said thats because they can get full
tuition out of students from abroad and it sounded like Melbourne
university does a very bad job getting donations from alumni (MIT's
Math department raised more money last year than the entire Melbourne
In my last full day I went to Victoria Market in the morning and bought
some bread and cheese and some good wine from a discount place that
refills your bottles and has absolutely amazing value wines. (Most of
the wines were great, and under $10 a bottle, and 20% less for a
refill). I visited the excellent melbourne museum, and then met my
friends Tom and Aich (who I met in Laos) for dinner where we consumed 2
bottles of wine and some good african food.
The next day I had a few hours to kill in the morning before a mid
afternoon flights. So I decided to have a picnic at a famous site
northwest of melbourne. Yes, I visited the hauntingly beautiful hanging
rock. I always thought that the cinomatagraphy of the film ("Picnic at
Hanging Rock") was a work of absolute genius. Now I know that there was
pretty good material to work with. Its really a great place.
All in all, I still love Melbourne, but transportation there sucks. Parking is a nightmare and I think trolley's are a completely outmoded
mode of transportation. Oh well. The food is amazing. And I just rremembered that I forgot to mention that I saw a great band in one of the Brunswick street pubs as well. Its just a fun place.