Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The New

Melbourne is unlike any city I’ve ever been into in my life; not only Australia. Half of this city is straight Aussie- a Pieface on every corner, every other block has a shopping mall area,
and there are pubs and Asian restaurants everywhere. But, the other half of the city is more like Europe. The city is broken down into sections and precincts. There is an arts district that has museums for every kind of art buff out there, sculpturesalong the river walk, and historical churches and buildings to tour. It’s an amazing city with so much to offer and with only a limited amount of time, I’m not sure mom and I aregoing to get a chance to see it all, but we’re trying our best.
We arrived late Sunday night and decided it was a good idea to rent the car right away instead of waiting until Tuesday. We didn’t instantly regret the decision, but we definitely didn’t fully think it out. Mom freaked out a little while driving throughthe city especially since every intersection has a right turn from the left lane… figure that out. We managed to find our way and only got lost twice! Our hotel is basically located in Chinatown, which is really cool if you’re in the mood for any form of Asian cuisine, but on Sunday we were just hungry. We found an Italian restaurant a few blocks down from the hotel and ate amazing food. Thenwe looked across the street and there was a James Squire Brewhouse, so we headed that way for a sampler of their signature brews. It was a lot of fun. We knew we were in the right place for us when we could order spicy peanuts, a paddle of 6 different kinds of beer, and Adele came on the radio.

Monday we woke up with absolutely no idea what to do. We read some of our tourism books and figured out where the most popular places in the city were, so we headed those ways. We walked about 5 miles around the city, down the river, around the sports stadiums that line the city, and then took a free tourist shuttle back to find something to eat. Like I said, Melbourne possesses many similar qualities to European cities. When we hopped off the Tram, we walked a little ways and found this small alleyway that was bustling with cafes and people. There were tables all along the side of the alley and there were people sitting outside drinking coffee and talking. It was adorable! We walked around the city more to see some sites and then headed to the infamous Young and Jackson Pub located right in the middle of Federation Square, the busiest spot in the city. We heard that Melbourne was home of Australia’s largest casino, so we decided to go there for dinner and a look around the place and man they weren’t kidding, the place was huge! We had a lot of fun walking around the casino and testing one of two of the roulette tables, but we didn’t play too much as Tuesday held a busy schedule.

Although it was raining, mom and I made the most of our experience down in the southern part of the country. Victoria is a lucky state because it has the coast, rainforest, and outback areas all in small vicinity. We took the car out of the carpark and made started our five-hour journey toward the Twelve Apostles, one of Australia’s numerous nature-made marvels. The Twelve Apostles are limestone rocks that have broken off of the cliffs from the ocean and are now standing free in the water. They truly are a sight to see and even though we risked our

lives going out onto the viewing platforms in 100km/h winds, we wouldn’t have wanted to miss it. To get to the rocks you have to drive along the Great Ocean Road, another famous landmark in Victoria. The road was built by WWI veterans as Australia’s tribute to their hard work in the war. It was a seriously curvy road and the high winds certainly did not help the car’s stability, but the view along the cliffs towards the ocean were incredible. Mom let me drive on the way home, which was probably not in our best interest as I took an American right turn into oncoming traffic while pulling out of a gas station. I must say, once I got over my nervousness, I was much better.
The highlights of Wednesday were going to St. Paul’s Cathedral in Federation Square- an absolutely exquisite Anglican church in the middle of a metropolitan city. Another highlight was finding a pub to watch the third deciding game of the State of Origin. State of Origin is a three game series between all star rugby teams from Queensland and New South Wales. Noticeably, people in Victoria don’t care too much considering their state isn’t involved, but I’m a true Queensland fan, so the game was a big deal to me. (The Queensland Maroons won again, obviously.) Thursday morning mom and I woke up slightly hungover and before the sun even rose to start our trek to the capital of Canberra. First though, we had to visit the largest outdoor markets in Australia. The Queen Victoria Markets in Melbourne stretch for about four or five blocks in both directions. We shopped for souvenirs, fresh fruit, cheeses, olives, basically anything you wanted. Although Thursday was the first day we had seen the sun and the first day it hadn’t rained, but that doesn’t mean it was warm. It was so cold that mom and I had to get fresh hot doughnuts from a little stand (they were SO GOOD) to stay warm. After getting some great stuff for cheap, we hopped back in the warm car for our drive. The drive was pretty and there were mountains and hills that reminded me slightly of New Zealand. There were even sheep, but who are we kidding, there will never be as many sheep farms as NZ anywhere in the world! Tomorrow we are touring the Parliament building and then driving to Sydney for our last week. I cannot believe that it’s been two weeks since my mom left home and almost two weeks since she’s been here. I must admit, I’m getting eager to go home at this point, but we have a lot planned for Sydney and if Cairns and Melbourne were a precursor to anything, we are going to have a lot of fun.


2 comments:

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