Wednesday, October 29, 2008

St. Kilda, Royal Botanic Gardens, Brunswick Street

Day three in Melbourne, and my first day to sleep in. Left the hotel around 11am to discover it's $5 cheaper to buy a daily Met transit pass after 9am. This just proves that getting up early does me no favours.

Had breakfast at a cafe downtown: fried eggs, side of bacon, multigrain toast and a cappuccino. Wanted to see the Queen Victoria Market today since it was supposed to be closed on Monday. I walked all the way there to learn it is also apparently closed on Wednesdays. Grr. No bargains for me. I did find an Apple store to buy an iPod charger, and the clerk was a fellow Vancouverite, from Dunbar no less. Small world.

Decided to catch a tram to the south side of Melbourne and visit the seaside area of St. Kilda. I got off the tram too early, and had to walk 5-6 blocks to the shore. It was a pretty spot, with an old-timey Victorian resort feel. The wind was blowing hard and chilly despite the sunny skies. I was impressed there were actually a few sunbathers out on the beach. I got too cold to stay for long, so I headed partway back to the downtown area in order to find the Royal Botanic Gardens.

After another tram ride and another few blocks walk, I located the gardens and made my way into them. Free admission here -- Van Dusen and Buchart should take note. The gardens were huge, lush and very pretty. I settled in by Long Lake to enjoy the sunshine and my book. A few curious water birds wandered close to me, but mainly played around on the lake with the swan. Swans are black in Australia, with a red bill/beak.

I got hungry around 5pm and decided to visit the shops and cafes on Brunswick Street, to the east of the city. Located the tram and actually got off at the right spot this time. Since the shops were closing by 6pm, I browsed for a bit first. Designer clothes, mixed with rocker shops and vintage stores. A very eclectic vibe. Dinner consisted of Coriander Thai Fish Cakes on a crisp bed of rocket with tangy lime aioli, and a glass of riesling then some Tasmanian pinot noir.

Got back to Box Hill around 9pm and met Kev at a Korean restaurant to watch him eat dinner. We fly to Sydney tomorrow afternoon, so I'm starting to plan my itinerary for that. I'll work on a way to post photos as well.

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