On Thursday last week I left Perth, leaving my cousin and her family, my visiting Aunt and Uncle and my parents (who had arrived the day before) and flew, quite sadly, onto Melbourne. My last week in Perth had been really fun. I kept hearing reports of rain over on the Southern and Eastern coasts so wanted to make the most of the sun in Perth (basically a sure thing every day). Went wine tasting (again), lots of swimming in the warmest sea I have ever been in (Indian Ocean) and then managed to get sunburnt!
Arriving in Melbourne it took me an hour to find my hostel. In the centre of the city there are lots of little lanes and alleyways with nice boutique shops- lovely during the day but not so nice at night when you are walking on your own with an ever-increasing heavy rucksack! Anyway, once I eventually found the "Greenhouse Backpackers" I dumped all my stuff and ran out to get some food - my first meal in Melbourne??... a Subway sandwhich! classy. The hostel is good, but I have no idea how a room full of girls can smell so much of sweaty socks - although I have never had that problem, and I am sure it isnt me, I am completely paranoid now and spraying deodorant over my shoes the minute I am alone. I reckon in about a week I won't even smell the shoes of other people - and then I will be a true backpacker! That day hasn't arrive yet!
I really like Melbourne. All the books tell you it's the most European city in Australia so maybe that's why I feel comfortable but I think it's just hard not to like it. The trams are great (like Manchester), and the shopping, cafes and restaurants are an easy way to spend the afternoon. (After my Subway meal I felt a bit ashamed so every day since, I have been trying out nice(r) places. )
The city is so busy at the moment because I am here during the Australian tennis open. Federation square, down by the Yarra river is really central and they have put up a huge screen ('a la Henman Hill) so us poor people who couldnt get tickets can watch it. Every evening there has had a really good atmosphere with people sitting around drinking beer in the sun. My weather worries have not been proven so far as Melbourne has been warm!
I have done all the touristy things, like going up the usual "highest building" in the city and looking down at small people. In fact the Rialto tower is apparently the highest viewing platform in the Southern hemisphere (one which I am sure my Dad will be able to verify as I wasn't sure if they were just lieing!)The Melbourne Old "Gaol" was interesting, and awful at the same time. A couple of hundred people were inprisioned and hanged there over the last hundred years, including the notorious Ned Kelly. They seem to have taken deathmasks of all the bodies once executed and they are all on display now. Most of the inmates had murdered, but I have to say that they all seemed to originate from England and Ireland, and sent to Oz originally for "stealing shoes" or something like that!
I spent a day on the Great Ocean road which was an experience, not only for the amazing scenery, but also for the fact that I was the only English speaking person on the bus, and everyone else was Korean or Japanese! The morning started quietly as you would expect but soon enough we were all taking pictures for each other, and doing fairly good hand signals to point out things, or discuss the scenery! The rain only started to come down when we were at our furthest point along the road, at a rock formation called 'london Bridge". Very Fitting!
This Sunday morning I have been exploring St Kilda beach and it's trendy cafes, shops and craft markets, probably my favourite part of Melbourne so far.
Anyway, I must leave it there as I am off to grab my spot on a bench in Federation square to watch the Mens tennis final with a beer. I am up at 5.30 tomorrow morning to get a 13 hour coach to Sydney (wish me luck)so I will write again soon.
Hope everyone is doing well and thank's for all your lovely messages