Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | October 14, 2014

Adventures on the Other Side of the World #4

The view from the Eureka Tower shows just how vast and impressive is the city of Melbourne.

The view from the Eureka Tower shows just how vast and impressive is the city of Melbourne.

Today began as a bit of a recovery day for me, the kind of day I usually take the day after I’ve stepped off the plane into a new venue.  Of course, since I hit the road not long after arriving from Vancouver via Beijing, I hadn’t done the kind of lazing I usually do, so the time to myself was much needed, though I did manage not to spend the day in bed, leaving nothing to write about, as this would make for a very boring blog entry.

I did, however, manage to sleep through Alexander leaving for work, and even after I’d awoken, I wasn’t quite ready to face the day. I puttered on my computer or even just laying in bed in my pyjamas, until finally at about 10 o’clock I decided I needed to start exploring the Melbourne that exists outside of Alexander’s flat. He’d suggested I have a look at the city from Eureka Tower, so that’s where I headed. I managed to navigate the tram fairly well, getting myself to Federation Square and a tourist information centre with limited hiccups. There, I not only got directions to the Eureka tower, but also a 10% discount on the ticket and a booking for a free walking tour tomorrow, as well as some ideas of places I should visit while I’m here.

The State Library is large and beautiful.  I wish I had time to read all of the books!

The State Library is large and beautiful. I wish I had time to read all of the books!

I meandered up the streets to Eureka Tower and paid for my ticket, then rode the elevator up to the 88th story.  My ears popped on the elevator, which takes you up in under 40 seconds.  There, you get a panoramic view of Melbourne and you go through the tower, and it gave me a better idea of just how vast it is, how much I’ll only be able to explore a little of in my short month in the country. I decided against paying for the Edge, which is a glass box that juts out from the tower, since I wasn’t allowed to take my own photos and I’ve done a similar height at the CN Tower in Canada.  I’m not willing to pay an extra $12 when I can’t even take a selfie to post on my blog.  They want you to pay extra for a photo they take, and I’m too cheap to do that.

After the Eureka Tower, I walked back up to the Federation Square, then found my way up the street to the State Library.  Though I could easily spend my day in a quiet room, reading my Kindle, I actually go to see a bit more than that.  The library has a few permanent collections, ranging from old books and manuscripts that date as far back as the 13th century on display, to the Ned Kelly collection, which tells the story of this Australian anti-hero, and even includes pieces of the armour he wore when facing the fire of the Australian police.  The library is enormous and a building worth checking out, and better yet, the permanent collection viewing and reading areas are free to the public. They do have special exhibits you can pay extra to view, but since it is currently Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables from Page to Stage, a work I’ve read and appreciate but find depressing, I decided to stick to just the free collection.

Ned Kelly's armour, complete with dents where bullets struck him.

Ned Kelly’s armour, complete with dents where bullets struck him.

After that, I rode the tram back toward Alexander’s.  There was a bit of a delay on route 16, which you can take back to St. Kilda, and pointing that out to a couple carrying a large box (I think it was a flat screen television purchase, given the shape of the Sony box) lead to a long and interesting conversation on the tram as I headed back. I like how Australians are friendly; it makes travelling alone that much more fun and interesting.

Once back in St. Kilda (which is technically in Port Phillip, as it turns out, a suburb just outside Melbourne), I drifted up Fitzroy Street to find somewhere for a late lunch. I ended up eating a delicious macadamia nut crusted chicken panini and salad at a coffee shop for a (very) late lunch, before dropping off some of my tourist paraphernalia at Alexander’s.  I then took a walk on the beach for a while, finding a nice wall to sit on and watch kite surfers.  It was very windy and thus a bit chilly again, which was great for the kite surfers but not so much for this Canadian who’d worn a dress.  So after a bit, I packed it up to wait for Alexander (since I had his only set of keys).

Kite surfers populate St. Kilda's beach on a blustery day.

Kite surfers populate St. Kilda’s beach on a blustery day.

Once he got home from work, we waited on his boyfriend then went out for a flight of wine and cheese at Milk the Cow, just a few doors down. The wine and cheese pairing was wonderful, and given how little I’d eaten might have gone fairly quickly to my head.  Once we were done, we did come back to Alexander’s where he made a mushroom and cheese risotto, which thankfully means I’m coherent enough to finish my blogging for tonight.

Tomorrow, I’m taking a free walking tour, which I managed to discover at the Tourist Information place at Federation Square, so I should get a few ideas of places to visit while in Melbourne, perhaps even local haunts off the beaten path. I’m having a lovely time so far, and since it is Thanksgiving at home in Canada today, feel like I have many things to be thankful for on this holiday, too many in fact to list.  So I’ll content myself with wishing family and friends a wonderful Thanksgiving, with hopes that they are having as pleasant a time as I am.

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