Three and a half hours after departing Perth, I arrived at the Qantas terminal in Melbourne where Fabio was waiting for me. He had come with his friends all the way from Pearcedale, more than an hour’s worth of drive. Due to the differences in time zone, I arrived before nine in the evening even if I left Perth at three in the afternoon. We grabbed some drinks and food at a Macca’s (the Australian name for a McDonald’s) on the way back to Pearcedale where Fabio and I were staying for the night.

We had fun exploring the farm at Pearcedale even though Fabio and I had the usual fight. I had been in the middle of changing medication and the effects were less than stellar. Our host family had chickens, horses, cats, dogs, and ferrets, and we got to meet them all. The ferrets I found particularly interesting creatures. I have never seen ferrets before. Apparently, it is illegal to keep ferrets as pets in Queensland, the Northern Territory, or in the Australian Capital Territory, but I suppose there is no such regulation in Victoria.

Fabio and I took the train back to the city center the next day where we stayed at an AirBnb near Swanston Street, a very short walk from the Melbourne Central Station. We had a quick dinner at a nearby restaurant and retired early for the night. We were flying to Sydney in the afternoon of the next day and we had hoped to go around Melbourne for a little bit in the morning.

First stop in the morning was Harbour Town for some breakfast.

Melbourne, Australia (2016)

Melbourne, Australia (2016)

Melbourne, Australia (2016)

Our waiter at the cafe was an Italian. By this time, I can already tell an Italian just by looking at him. Like I can tell if someone is Danish, Norwegian, or Finnish. It has got to be all those days spent in El Nido with tourists of different nationalities.

We took selfies by the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel although did not take a ride because it was extremely bright, hot, and sunny.
Melbourne, Australia (2016)

Melbourne, Australia (2016)

We took a walk around the Docklands, and got ourselves in one of the free City Circle Trams at the stop in Docklands Drive for a free ride to see the overall sights of the city. I took some pictures of some interesting buildings along the way.

Melbourne, Australia (2016)

Melbourne, Australia (2016)

The City Circle Tram service provides a free and convenient way to get around central Melbourne. It travels around the city and links with other tram, train and light rail services in and around Melbourne. The tram will take you past shopping malls and arcades, and major attractions such as the Old Treasury Building, Parliament House and the Princess Theatre. It can be used as a ‘hop on – hop off’ service, this way tourists can enjoy each of Melbourne’s sites and have the added bonus of traditional Melbourne transportation. To get on it, simply the tram at any of the specially marked stops on the route, which comes every twelve minutes. Trams run in both directions approximately every twelve minutes between 10am and 6pm Sunday to Wednesday and extended hours, 10am – 9pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Clockwise service: Flinders Street > Harbour Esplanade > Docklands Drive > La Trobe Street > Victoria Street > Nicholson Street > Spring Street > Flinders Street. The anti-clockwise service runs the reverse. It takes approximately 48 minutes to complete a loop. (Click here to see the map.)

We got off the tram in front of the Queen Victoria Market and did a bit of walking, before catching the same tram again in another stop because we were trying to get to the Royal Botanic Gardens. Like this, we got to pass by the same streets twice. It was a bit of fun.

We eventually made it to the Royal Botanic Gardens where Fabio goofed around in the Bamboo Collection because he is ridiculous like that. (Click here for a map of the Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens).

Melbourne, Australia (2016)

Melbourne, Australia (2016)

Melbourne, Australia (2016)

Melbourne, Australia (2016)

Melbourne, Australia (2016)

We were on our way to St Kilda Beach to meet up with a friend of Fabio’s so we made our way to St. Kilda Road, passing by the Shrine of Remembrance.

Melbourne, Australia (2016)

I honestly find this building ugly as a matter of personal taste. Designed by architects Phillip Hudson and James Wardrop who were both World War I veterans, the Shrine is in a classical style, being based on the Tomb of Mausolus at Halicarnassus and the Parthenon in Athens. It was built as a memorial to the men and women of Victoria who served in World War I and is now a memorial to all Australians who have served in war. It is a site of annual observances of ANZAC Day (25 April) and Remembrance Day (11 November) and is one of the largest war memorials in Australia.

The picture I have above is of the left side of the building because at that moment, the sun was right behind it and I could not see a thing.

We then took a light rail going to St. Kilda Beach where we had a quick lunch by the sea.

Melbourne, Australia (2016)

After that, it was time to go. It would have been lovely to see the penguins who come to the beach by sunset but there was not enough time to see everything. There were other places waiting for us and Fabio was anxious to go.

This is not the last time I would find myself in Melbourne though. In fact, I went back and forth Melbourne two more times, staying at least a week each time to explore different parts of this beautiful city. Any crazy hipster and artist would tell you that Melbourne is probably the best city in Australia. And to me, since I am crazy, never mind the next two nouns, I came to love Melbourne for what it is. It took me a while to appreciate the architecture but I fell in love with the vibe and culture.

 

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