Wednesday, January 18, 2012

January 16th Melbourne

Made our way to Federation Square and considered purchasing tickets for the Australia open. Line up was far too long and since we are only here for a few days we decided to skip tennis this time. Instead we took a cruise up the Yarra River formerly called the Birrarung. The river is 242km long and empties into Hobson Bay. The river is home to the busiest container dock in Australia. Because of larger container ships the docks have been moved out to deeper waters and the old dock areas have been deserted and become run down areas. In recent years, like most large cities, modern condos, shops and restaurants are being built to revitalize these areas.
After the cruise we hopped on one of the free tourist trams to tour the city. As I mentioned before the city is full of public art even some of the bike racks have colorful cloth covers on them. Melbourne is very pedestrian and bike friendly city. Most streets are wide enough to accommodate 2-4 car lanes, bike lanes on either side and pedestrian sidewalks as well as tram cars in the middle. Lorna has to remember to look right not left before stepping off the curb as I have almost been hit by bikes a couple of times as they do not give way to pedestrians.
On the way back to our hotel we stopped by the bathhouse. It was built in the 1890's and still operates today with a pool, squash, fitness classes and fitness studio. They have done a great job of keeping up such an old facility. I looked at the prices and they have one category called concession. Apparently the boomers here don't want to be called seniors either so they use concession rate rather than senior rate. But you do have to be in possession of an Australian concession card to get this rate.
We went for a late nite dinner on the Colonial Tram Car - thanks to the tip from Mayor Jensen. The old fashion tram car picked us up at 8:30 pm. We were seated at a beautifully set window table (everyone gets window tables). We were served the most scrumptious pate and sparkling wine. I choose kangaroo for an entree (Joey was delicious, lean and tender). As we were eating the tram traveled around the city. Did I mention all alcohol was included in the price so I lost count after my 4th glass of sparkling wine. Now some of you may be thinking that I don't like wine and you are right but I love anything that sparkles including wine. I choose the filet for my main dish and sticky date pudding for dessert. Then they presented us with a beautiful cheese tray with after dinner drinks and of course chocolates before we disembarked at 11:30. After a few drinks everyone on our tram was very chatty so we met some great people and had a fabulous dinner all while seeing Melbourne at night! If you are every in Melbourne The Colonial Tram Car is a must.

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