Day 2. I felt very brave venturing out after my tram lesson - I obviously had a good teacher because I had no trouble finding my way to the tram stop and into the city.
Melbourne is a young city for young people. You walk....and walk.....and walk some more. On my first day I took myself off to the Botanical Gardens and enjoyed the tranquility of a green space in the middle of the city. Although the plants are very familiar to South Africa, the park is beautifully kept and it was so pleasing to see that it was used by yummy mummy's pushing prams, young couples on romantic picnics and joggers and cyclists on the perimeter.
Encounter of the Day: My visit was marred somewhat as I was followed around by a man who was convinced he was in love with me - obviously a nutter - and he just wouldn't go away! After an hour or so - I was ready to look for hemlock in the garden - for him that is! I wore flat shoes but obviously not designed for walking or running away from stalkers, and have been footsore since! It's a scenic walk from the gardens alongside the Yarra River so I meandered back to the tram enjoying watching river activities along the way.Day 3. I am now a tram natural and hop on and off confidently. I made my way to SouthWharf where there is a big retail park and found a shoe shop with wall to wall Sketchers. I walked out in THE most comfy pair of takkies (and 2 other pairs). I then found the 5$ bookstore about the size WW Walmer Park - I was in heaven but I really had to choose sensibly or I will have to abandon my new Sketchers. I enjoyed looking around and as the name suggests it's on a waterfront so there was plenty of opportunity to sit and admire the river traffic. Shopping is expensive in Melbourne but there are bargains to be had and lots of sales on.
Encounter of the Day: The lovely friendly girl who assisted me in the shoe store was the epitome of customer service and I could have kissed her when I put on the magic slippers that will take me around Melbourne for the rest of my visit.
Day 4. I am now tram tour guide and helping other people find their way around. I hopped on the tram and made my way to the National Gallery of Victoria. I was met by the famous wall of water at the entrance which sent me off in search of the ladies!
What an amazing collection of European Art! I spent a couple of hours wandering around and saw paitings from 15th century Dutch and Italian oils to impression -ists Manet, and Sisley, also a Modigliani and pop artist Hockney's work.I was impressed and need to go back for a second visit as I didn't go in every room as I was drawn to the 'tea room' - a work of art in itself - by the aroma of freshly made scones. So, a delicious Devonshire cream tea it was.
Encounter of the Day. Girl in Black painted in 1930 by Gerald Leslie Brockhurst - in my next life I will have hair like this!
From the gallery, I made my way to the Free City Circle Tram stop and hopped on for a free tour of the city with useful commentary to help me plan where I want to go next. In the evening Nadine and I made our way to China Town and enjoyed the lively atmosphere and some really good Chinese food.
Oh... I slept really well!
Day 5. OK so now I have really walked my legs off discovering Melbourne - today is the day we go on a 2.5 hour walking tour!
Encounter of the Day: Our edgy, politically opinionated and strangely dressed young guide, Lisa, who does this on a donations only basis.
She took us (and the rest of the group) around Melbourne - from some of the well known landmarks and into the Graffiti decorated alleyways and hidden Melbourne. As we went she told us stories of how Melbourne was founded and named and also where to get the best coffee and the 'must have' Melbourne dumplings. After the tour we headed back to China Town to enjoy the best dumplings ever at Shanghai Village. They were sumptuous little parcels of tastiness - Yum!
Then just because I hadn't had enough excitement for the week - Nadine arranged for us to go up the the 90 stories high Eureka Towers to get a 360 degree view of the city from the observation deck ......and from a glass cage where we were suspended in space, 300m above the ground!
Tomorrow's challenge is a bicycle ride - haven't done that for about 45 years so it will be interesting! Will post some of my photos soon!