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Return to Oz—Melbourne

AUSTRALIA | Tuesday, 9 January 2024 | Views [70]

Melbourne Skyline

Melbourne Skyline

IN A STROKE OF PURE GENIUS, if I may pat myself on the back, I booked a room in Sanur for our last day in Bali. We had no intention of spending the night, just a chance to get out of the heat, shower and change clothes before our midnight flight from Denpasar. Umah Bagus is only a quarter-mile from the harbour, has wifi and air-con and cost $17! As it turned out the owner’s husband even offered to drive us to the airport for the price of a taxi, all of our remaining rupiahs.


    A Rainy Day in Melbourne


        Flinders Station in the Rain

It rained our first two days back in Australia, giving us a chance to recuperate from seven hours cramped on planes and six more sitting around airports. Marker Apartments looks more like an AirBnB than a hotel. It is within walking distance of all the places we wanted to see in Melbourne and right next to an Aldi Supermarket and only a $20 Uber from the airport.


               Victorian Melbourne


        Victorian Headquarters—of what we know not

Connie and “John One” spent some time in Melbourne forty years ago—they even scored tickets to the Melbourne Cup horse races—but this isn’t the city they visited. It took some redistricting but Melbourne has recently passed Sydney as Australia’s largest city. And what a city it is. 


        Like a mini-Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur


            Sparkling Patchwork in Glass


      View from Carlton Gardens

Rain aside, the weather is more temperate than Adelaide, Sydney or Brisbane. Tree lined streets of Victorian homes with filigreed wrought iron vestibules vie with modern skyscrapers that would do Kuwait City proud. Melbourne boasts a wonderful mass transit system with free trams in the central business district. And from what we could see—and hear—it is a melting pot of Asian and European immigrants.


            Melbourne Museum


                First the Blue Whale . . .


                       Dinoasurs, of course


                 Triceratops from Hell Creek, USA


                   Kids on school holiday still in uniform shirts


                  Exit Through the Gift Shop!

The Melbourne Museum in Carlton Gardens brought back memories of our time as volunteers at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. It is an example of what a modern museum should be. It combines the expected—a Blue Whale skeleton, Dinosaurs galore; Australia’s myriad rocks and minerals; exhibits especially for kids like Legos and the miniature world; and traveling specials like Titanic; the Artifacts Exhibition. There was even a Triceratops from Hell Creek where we worked this summer. During this school holiday it was packed with surprisingly well-behaved kids, as a museum should be. And of course, you must Exit Through the Gift Shop!


                    I want THAT ONE!


                     Vanilla Slice, an Aussie speciality...it sticks to your ribs—and hips

We made an obligatory stop at the Victoria Market; a bit Grand Bazaar, farmers market and boot sale. Connie was on a mission—her friend, Lynn, raved about the “Vanilla Slice” she had in Melbourne and insisted Connie try some. It looked like apiece of cake, tasted like a creampuff and had about a zillion calories. John went with a Sicilian Cannoli—low-cal, of course.


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