After about 8 or 9 hours of travel, we have arrived in Melbourne!
Although Melbourne is only a 55-minute flight from Hobart (Tasmania), it took us practically all day to get there. We started off in Devonport at 8.00 a.m. After a good 3 hour drive and a short stop for coffee we arrived at the car rental at about 11.30 a.m. After inspection we were promptly delivered at Hobart airport at 11.45 a.m. Since our flight was scheduled for 1 p.m. we were a little on edge. Thankfully Hobart is a small airport (6 gates), so we dropped off our luggage and were through security within 20 minutes.
We grabbed something to eat and set off to our gate. With some delay, our plane arrived and before we knew it we landed back on the mainland. From there we took to shuttle bus into the city, switched into the tram and after about another 45 minutes arrived at the apartment we have rented for the week. We immediately took over the balcony and started to enjoy the leftover wine from Vélo wines, the warm sun and Melbourne’s skyline.
Since there was only a little bit of wine left, we decided to get up one last time and walk the 500 meters to the nearest supermarket (ALDI) to get some more wine, and while we were there, food. I cooked us up some asparagus risotto and we continued to relax.
For our first day here we decided to take it easy and visit the Zoo. Besides the animals there was a lot of local Australian ‘wildlife’ to see: schoolchildren in brightly coloured uniform with huge sun hats, making them look like small, legged versions of Saturn (with its rings). We also met Jabba the Toad:
Having walked around all day, we decided on the same programme for that evening as the day before: some food, wine and sun at our balcony.
On Tuesday we finally ventured into the city. Mr. Scientist planned out a route with all of Melbourne’s highlights. Of course we got distracted at the first sight and barely made it halfway.
Our first stop, after walking through the botanical gardens, was the Shrine of Remembrance.
Our guide wasn’t that enthusiastic about it, so when we walked in we did not expect to find such an interesting and large museum inside! It is mostly about (Australia’s involvement in) the first and second world war, and equals London’s Imperial War Museum.
By the time we got out, it was 2 p.m. so we sat down in the park and had our packed lunches. A nice quinoa / asparagus salad. Since we are staying in an apartment with a good kitchen, we decided to put that kitchen to good use!
After our break, we headed over to the National Gallery of Victoria. While I was downloading their app, one of the hostesses pointed out to us that the last free tour of the day was just about to start, so we ditched the app and went over to Jillian. She knew her stuff! We were both told about the museum itself (the architecture and design of the building and the extension of it) and about some of the highlights the museum has to offer. We actually felt quite at home, actually:
There are som great works as well and Jillian told us the story about the disappearing Picasso. Apparently a thief – presumably a painter himself – got himself locked in one night by hiding inside a wall case. After the museum was closed he got out, removed the painting from its frame and went into hiding until the museum opened up the next morning and the thief walked out with Picasso’s weeping woman hiding under his jacket. The museum got the painting back only 16 days later, when they received an anonymous tip and found it in a locker at a nearby public transport station.
After the museum we decided to do one last stop: St. Paul’s Cathedral. We had booked a wine tour the next day that would start from here, so we made our way over to check out the exact meeting place and to see how long it would take us from there to home. Of course we peeked inside while we were there, and it has a nice golden mosaic behind the altar.
After we had dinner at home, we went back into the city. Mr. Scientist had gotten some tips at home from a colleague about some music venues we apparently had to check out. So we went to something that is called ‘The Tote‘. The place was filled with Australian grunges and as my dad would say: “ouwe rockers”. Hair too long, outfits from the ’80s and moustaches from the ‘ 70s. The public was actually more of a spectacle than the music, but we enjoyed ourselves.
At 10.30 p.m. we headed home. Since we would have to wait for our bus for 20 minutes, we decided to start walking in the right direction. At some point we passed Hungry Jack, Australia’s version of Burger King, and actually went inside to have a Whopper. I can’t remember the last time I had a burger (besides a delicatesse like the crocodile burger of course), but boy did that taste good after a few miles and beers! By that time we actually almost missed our bus, so had to make a run for it..!