Monday, January 18, 2016

Marvellous Melbourne

After a three and half hour flight from Queenstown, NZ, we arrived in Melbourne early Thursday evening January 14. To be suddenly thrust into urban traffic was a shock. This city and surrounding suburbs has a population of about 4.5 million (same as New Zealand and also our home province of BC but of course in much smaller areas) and the traffic to go along with that. Our hotel (Brady Hotels) was in the centre of the city, complete with demolition and construction all around, fortunately not through the night. Melbourne is in the midst of a building boom. Here are a couple of views from our hotel room, one a reflection in the windows of the building opposite...

 It's a very diverse city as well, much like Vancouver, and this is reflected in the restaurants and the faces of people on the street. Apparently there used to be more people of Greek descent in Melbourne than Athens, and the Chinatown was once the biggest outside of China.

We went on a "I'm Free" walking tour of the because of the expectation of paying what you think it's worth by tipping at the end. We were led by the very well-informed Matthew who ably managed a group of about 45. Many of Melbourne's grand buildings were constructed during the gold rush of the 1850s and a period of prosperity that lasted into the early 20th C, a period referred to as "Marvellous Melbourne ". Melbourne apparently has one of the largest collection of Victorian buildings in the world.

Street art is permitted in many lanes and alleys. Owners have to have permission from the civic authorities otherwise they are required to remove the graffiti. Most is painted over within days but some has been left up for years. This artist must have erected scaffolding...

...whereas this one is standing on the more traditional rubbish bins...

We treated ourselves to an evening at the Regent Theatre to see "Cats", which neither of us had seen or knew much about except for the very famous song Memories...and while it seemed to be well done we weren't impressed with the lack of plot and story!

We left this hustle and bustle for the relative calm of Tasmania on Sunday. The next post will be about our visit to Port Arthur yesterday.

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