Friday, January 11, 2008

On Foot in the City

Day 108
Melbourne City
Time: Hours
Avg Speed: Walking
Terrain: Urban Jungle
Location: 37.8° S, 145.0° E

Today we explored the heart of Melbourne. Our backpacker lodge is well situated to access all of the sporting grounds and the central business district. After deciding to leave the bikes behind, we set out on foot to see what we could find.
Our first stop was the Melbourne Cricket Ground. “The G” as it is affectionately known, is a major attraction. In fact, the guide book we borrowed describes the building in this way: “the landmark is to Melbourne what the Opera House is to Sydney, the Eiffel Tower is to Paris and the Statue of Liberty is to New York.” Cool. The MCG was originally built in 1838 and refurbished in 1956 for the Olympic Games. We walked the entire perimeter to take in the bronze statues that commemorate some of Victoria’s best athletes.
From “The G” was crossed over the rail lines to the tennis center. There was definitely a lot of activity going on in preparation for the Australian Open. We’re pretty psyched to take in a few matches on Monday. One of our dreams (yes, there will be more big fat hairy goals after this trip) is to see as many major sporting events around the world as we can. Ironically, the goal came about from a discussion regarding how cool it would be to see all of the tennis majors. It snowballed from there…
By lunchtime we had found Chinatown and sought out some cheap eats. We found a great hole-in-the-wall Japanese restaurant and ventured in for a couple of lunch specials. After dinner last night and lunch today, I’m hoping that we can continue eating out a bit more than usual. We have many more choices here than in rural New Zealand.
The after lunch activity was one of Chris’ favorites; finding the map store. He’s begun to develop his own counter-strategy to this and found some outdoor stores to peruse while I happily (and tediously) examined maps and guidebooks. Once a map geek, always a map geek.
We ended our tour with a ride on the City Centre cable car. We got on the car going in the wrong direction. Lucky for us it went in a loop and had a pre-recorded dissertation of the city’s sights and landmarks.
We can see why Melbourne has often topped the list of the world’s most liveable cities. We’re looking forward to spending a few more days here.

On a sad note, we read that Sir Edmund Hillary died this morning in New Zealand. Here is a good article that outlines a great life lived. He was an ordinary man who did extraordinary things. You can bet we’ll be raising a glass in his honor tonight.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for putting a link to the Hillary article (I was away from computers for 4 days). I have always had a deep respect for him & even tried to get his son's signature on a National Geographic at the ESRI San Diego Conference the one year I was able to attend. Whenever I am hiking/snowshoeing & I see big steps above me (with a big pack on) I remember pictures of the Hillary Step. I usually say something out loud about the Hillary steps & try to remember it could be worse. -JH