I arrived here after another overnight flight. It wasn’t a great flight because a wee one on it only stopped crying about an hour before we landed. I was quite glad to get off although I wasn’t feeling brilliant.
My hotel is right in the centre of Melbourne near to Federation Square( the equivalent of George Sq although it looks a lot different.) The buildings are all modern architecture. When I get my photos connected again I’ll let you see what I mean but it’s really too difficult to describe them. I thought they were really interesting but others around me hated them. I definitely prefer the architecture of cities like Melbourne from original buildings right through to today. It’s like seeing someone grow up.
The layout of Melbourne is a bit strange. There is a grid system for the city but every alternative road (going horizontally) is boulevard width and the ones in between are not quite as narrow as lanes or alleys. So the wide ones are Bourke St and Collins St for example and the narrower ones are Little Bourke St and Little Collins - see what I mean? Apart from Collins St which is the equivalent of Great Western Road the wide ones have all the tat of the day on them - a bit like Argyll St and Princes St now and the narrow ones are where the expensive shops are. Weird. Then going vertically theses streets are joined up by lots of little lanes and alleys. Some of them have amazing shops, coffee house etc in them and some have nothing. Dame Edna alley round the corner from here has a flashing sign, stars all over the cobbles and is a stinky wee place that ends in a brick wall.
When you go out at night for a meal its one of the lanes that you go to. There are very few restaurants on the main throughfares but really excellent ones in the lanes. My favourites, so far, have been in Degraves lane and Hardware Lane. I loved the big man who told me in a strong Italian accent” You no go down there lady, they be sharks. Come ‘ere I give you garlic bread for nutting and maybe my son” I had to eat there. The garlic bread was good, so was the gnocchi but I left the son.
I’ve come to the conclusion that JK Rowlings as here before she wrote Harry Potter. There’s a Potter art gallery, a Grainger gallery and Lygon St which is nearly the same and as well as that the lanes could have been where JK got some of her ideas.
Hats off to Melbourne too, it’s the first city that I have been in where the city tour bus costs you nothing. Same service as other cities but you don’t pay a penny. Stopped off at a few places including the Shrine which is basically the war memorial but it’s built so that on 11/11 at 11 am the sun shines through an opening in the roof right across the tomb of the Unknown warrior. I’d read about it and didn’t quite believe but it is possible especially since November is late Spring. I had a wee “Morven” moment there. One of the guides was a Vietnam veteran and he heard me talking to another guide about their poppies which actually look like real poppies and came over.......25 minutes later I got away. At least he was nice the Englishman in the queue for the bus at the square just had a chip on his shoulder.