Posted by: Gary Guertin | November 2, 2008

Melbourne, Australia

Posted: Nov. 3, 2008

Next Earliest Posting: Nov. 6, 2009

Hi All,

It was great to be back in Melbourne again. This is a city of 3.4 million people, second largest in Australia to Sidney but by only 500,000. There is a quiet rivalry between the two cities, but they are so different, it will be hard for Melbourne to make up for Sidney’s beauty. What is common to the two are the Australian people. We must have been approached three or four times with offers of help as we walked the streets of Melbourne with our street map looking for streets. On a tram (just like San Francisco only larger) we asked where a particular stop was and a nice gentleman not only took several minutes to explain where to get off, but as he exited, pulled a map out of his pocket and gave it to us so we wouldn’t get lost.

Let’s go through the photos above in the photo album titled: “Melbourne, Australia”. The first is a shot of the Pier as we sailed into Melbourne port. The city center of Melbourne lies about a 20 minute bus or tram ride from the port, so in the morning (Susy reasons that there is no sense going into a city before 10 or 11AM because the stores aren’t open) Susy and I arrived in the center of town. The second shot is down one of the main streets, which you can see are wide and clean.

I have to stop here to explain that Susy (as usual) guided us in to the top department store in Melbourne called “David Jones”. It was as large as Macy’s but this store was only for women, having an equally sized building on the other side of the street for men. By chance the first department we walked into was women’s hats and we hit a jackpot. It seems that tomorrow, Nov. 4th, is the running of the “Emirates Melbourne Cup”, which is like our “Kentucky Derby” or “Ascot” to the British. The difference is the “Mel Cup,” as it is so fondly referred to by the Australians, is a national event and everyone in Australia will stop tomorrow for it’s annual running. The people of Melbourne and the whole region actually are given the entire day off work. Now, getting back to hats, it seems that this horse race tomorrow is not only that but a huge fashion show and the ladies who go are really decked out in their finest. Again, as usual, Susy made friends with one of the sales ladies in the hats department, who it turns out was not only a sales lady but made hats and was going to the race tomorrow dressed in one of her own. In the third photo I show you the wall of hats which went along the side of the department. The department itself was large, and in the fourth photo I show Susy wearing one of the hats next to a gentleman. Susy had put on this red hat and made some off hand comment about how bad it or she looked in it when this gentleman came over. It turned out he was the designer of most of the hats including the one she had on. I guess he didn’t hear Susy’s comment because he was very friendly and said Susy looked just lovely in his creation. Hats were every where that day so I’ll show you another one of Susy taken later that day. We would have bought one, but we have to be practical, those hats don’t pack well. After David Jones we walked over to a large art street market along the river which cuts along side the city center. In the next photo I try to show you a panoramic view of the skyline taken from a bridge across the river. The seventh photo shows you a picture inside the Sunday Art Market. From there I was exhausted from walking and ready to go back to the ship, but Susy said no, the guide books said you couldn’t visit Melbourne (and this was our second time) without seeing the Victoria Market. So off we went, by tram, to the huge “Queen Victoria Market” which I show in the 8th photo. This market was something else. That building you see runs about 200 to 300 yards deep with role after role of stalls like you see in front. They had everything from hats (the 5th photo of Susy with the black hat was taken there), to jewelry, clothing, etc.etc.. There must have been at least 500 to a 1000 stalls. Across the plaza where I took the photo (I had my back to it) was another building full of stalls selling fish, meat, fruits, etc.

Needless to say I was completely wiped out by the time we finished this market, but Susy was very happy because she had made her “Melbourne” visit a complete success. We took a bus back to the ship, so for the ninth and tenth photos I’ll show you a couple of shots of the city, the first from across the river, and the second the tallest building in Melbourne.

Onward to Sidney, our favorite city,

Love to All,

Gary (Gagu)

P.S.

I put two new videos below in the video section: 1. Thailand Dancers, and 2. An Australian Folk Group. If you have some time take a look.


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