Its a public holiday here and of course the day was all planned but the weather intervened and we set off on a different course. We went off to the Victoria State Library in Melbourne. Some of you may think - boring - but this is a library as I have never seen one! This library has over 2 million books, employs around 300 people, has over 6 million online visits and has attracted nearly 2 million visitors over the years! It was built in 1866 as an exhibition centre and is beautiful outside - even in the rain. Even more lovely inside - it has a very grand domed reading room which is well used. It has a wonderful collection of old books and manuscripts and is the home of Ned Kelly's armour. No dusty shelves of yellowing paperbacks here - Its a space alive with activity and the perfect place to explore on a rainy day! Its hard to imagine a life before books or the printed word or a world where only the wealthy could read. They have a wonderful collection of ancient books and manuscripts but my favourite exhibit was this tiny Victorian midget library with eleven tiny volumes complete with magnifying glass. I have never seen anything like it!
We had been told that the best place for coffee in Melbourne was a little coffee shop down a hidden alley way opposite the library, Rue Bebelons, so we went there and enjoyed the best cappuccino in Melbourne served by a barrister with an up style and a steady hand with latte art.
Staying with the book theme we made our way to Dymocks and browsed the great selection of books on offer - I am still looking for a must read Australian novel - so recommendations are very welcome. However I did find River of Smoke, the sequel to Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh.
Then it was another tram and trek to enjoy one of my other weaknesses while on holiday - Afternoon tea - This time with a difference here at The Langham Hotels - but that a another blog! On our way there we encountered lots of men in uniform as it was ANZAC Day and they were all in the city to take part in the Remembrance Day events. These sailors begged to have their photo taken with me - How could I refuse?
After all - All the nice girls love a sailor!