Day 39 & 40 February 13 & 14, 2015 – Melbourne, Australia & At Sea

We arrived in Melbourne on Friday the 13th. I was up early to get the sail in photos and as a bonus I got the sunrise. Melbourne is the birthplace of much of Australia culture and has been rated the world’s most livable city. We all agreed that we could live here! Melbourne was so much more enjoyable than Sydney. Although it is still a large city, it has a lot of green space and just didn’t have the crowded feeling of Sydney. There are many distinctive neighborhoods, leafy street and they have a clean and efficient transport system. It is really hard to believe that the population is 3.5 million.

Melbourne’s history is reflected in its rivalry with Sydney. Settled by Sydney ex-pats, Melbourne quickly established itself in the first year of Queen Victoria’s reign (1837) and embarked on an era of growth and development that powerfully shaped the city’s character. The mid-19th-century Victoria gold rush provided the wealth that built so many distinctive structures and established an extensive network of wealth and beautiful public green spaces. Melbourne’s gold helped the city outshine Sydney during this period. Melbourne set about building Australia’s cultural intuitions including the national Opera Company (which is now of course in Sydney). It battled Sydney for the national capital status. Ultimately the two cities agreed on Canberra as a midpoint compromise but Melbourne housed the national government until Canberra’s completion.

Overall we very much enjoyed Melbourne and what follows are a few photos showing our exploration of the city. Saturday was a sea day and Valentine’s Day and of course a formal night.

Sunrise in Melbourne

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No sooner were we docked than fueling operations began.

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The Yarra river which flows through downtown Melbourne.

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Flinders Street Station, a major transportation hub in the city.

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You know I just love signs…

Painted wall seen at the Queen Victoria Market

The market was huge, we only saw a part of it.

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Every city in Australia seem to have an old gaol (jail).

The old Melbourne Gaol.

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The Parliament build used until the transfer of power to Canberra.

You could find these small plaques attached to buildings throughout town.

The Hotel Windsor. We went inside just to look around. A suite will run about $1000.00 per night. It is a beautiful and elegant old building. The doorman greeted us as we entered and we weren’t sure if he was going to kick us out. We were obviously not patrons. As we left, he jovially ask what we thought of “The Old Lady”. His comment resulted is our spending about 10-15 minutes with the doorman, Russell, while he gave us a mini history lesson not only about the hotel but Melbourne in generally. To my regret, I didn’t get Russell’s photo. He would make a great guide. He was a fount of information

Russell directed us down and across the street to the old Treasury Building which housed a free museum. In addition to financial information there were also several exhibits about famous and infamous criminals of Australia.

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Walking through one of the beautiful parks.

The family home of Captain James Cook. Built in small English village of Great Ayton in 1755, dismantled and moved her in 1934 to commemorate Captain Cook who mapped a large portion of the Australian coast.

We did a great deal of walking in the city and were able to see about all the sights we had on our check list.

Sometimes our walks took us on the “wrong side of the tracks”, but we weren’t deterred.

We walked through the Rod Laver tennis complex, and actually saw a game in progress on the #3 show court. Unfortunately when we actually entered the arena, we were the only spectators and the player looked like a pickup game of people who had never played…

Crossing back across the Yarra River to make our way back to the bus for the ride back to the port.

The city as seen from the bridge. We made it back to the ship and sailed on time, but I understand at least one person missed the ship and had to get transport to Adelaide to rejoin the cruise. Saturday was a pretty restful Valentine Day.

After our lovely Valentines Dinner we returned to our cabin to find this creature left by our cabin attendant Budi. I later complimented him about the Koala, because I have never seen this creation on any other cruise. He blushed and said sometimes he just makes up things…

HAL left these roses and candy as pillow gifts which was nice, but what really excited me was a gift sent by Michelle Boots, our travel consultant with Cruise Specialists. She sent us a lovely Valentine Card and a box of See’s Candy. Michelle, I don’t know how you knew that is my favorite candy and almost unattainable at home, but you hit a homerun. Thank you.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine Day. Tomorrow we arrive in Adelaide for two days.

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