Monday morning and it was back to reality and city life for me. I awoke at about 9am, got ready and prepared to head out. However, as I crawled out of bed I noticed a rather severe pain in the back of the neck. I think I had been lying awkwardly last night, and as a result my neck felt very jarred.
Undettered, I headed to Frankston train station and caught the train to South Yarra, the location of my new Hostel - the Claremont Guest House. I arrived an hour later and checked-in. However, upon entering my room, I discovered there were no in-room lockers as was described (and photographed) on the website which I booked it from.
I marched back downstairs to reception and asked to be moved to a room which had lockers. Thankfully, the Claremont staff were helpful and arranged for me to move to another room with lockers inside. In fact, the room was better overall, with a fridge, TV and fan all included in the dorm. Score!
I quickly unpacked and decided that although the WiFi in the hostel is free and fast, it is rather heavily capped. As a result, using Skype back to the UK would prove difficult and I decided it was time to seriously consider purchasing a 3G data dongle for use with my laptop. Only Optus offer a data plan that would be adaquete, and as such I decided I would head into the CBD to grab one.
Upon examining the map, I discovered the best route would take me straight through the Melbourne Botanical Gardens. I set out from the guest house and turned right on the Toorak road heading toward the gardens. However, I was immediatly struck with the area directly in front of me as I exited.
South Yarra is a bustling place, completely different from North Melbourne (the location of my previous hostel). The main road is very busy, with lots of shops and cafes along it, and many people going about their business. What really caught my eye however, was the cars parked in the street. Almost all the way along were Porsche, Mercedes and higher and higher value cars. Maserati's, Ferraris and more litter the street, leading me to realise the area I have booked into is clearly a well off area of Melbourne.
After spending some time in awe of the cars, I headed west toward the botanical gardens. The houses I passed were as impressionable and well to do as the cars I had seen on the main street, very ornate and beautiful. However, the temperature was climbing fast in Melbourne, and as I crossed into the gardens the temperature read 32 degrees. This would normally be manageable, however my neck was also getting worse and causing me severe discomfort.
I began walking through the very beautiful gardens, diving between patches of shade and taken pleanty photos as I went. It was only when I entered the gardens did I realise the size of them, and just how beautiful they are. They are very well maintained, and only 5 minutes in you can completely forget you are in the hustle and bustle of Melbourne.
Having to take regular breaks due to the heat and the scenery, it took me around an hour to do a walk that Google Maps estimates should take no more than half that. The walk was very rewarding though, as each turn revealed a new area of the gardens. It could take days to cover all the gardens properly, and so I intend to go back many times.
Leaving the gardens, I followed the Yarra river to St Kilda road and across the bridge to Flinders Street Station. I grabbed a subway sandwidch, headed to the Optus store and discovered the plan I researched was only available online. Frustrated, stifled by the heat, and still suffering neck pain, I decided it best to head back to South Yarra and unwind for the rest of the day.