We arrived in Melbourne at 5:30am on Thursday—EARLY! Took a couple buses to our hostel, and when we got there they were kind enough to offer us free breakfast and allowed us to use the public showers to clean up. Believe me, after a 15 hour flight, a shower is glorious!
We bummed around town for a bit, did a walking tour, rode the free tourist trolley, did a little shopping at the city’s Victorian market (kind of like a flea market and farmers market together), stopped and had some champagne and wine at a cute outdoor café, and just admired the many interesting buildings in town.
When we first arrived in Melbourne, it first kind of reminded me of Helsinki and Stockholm a bit– for the cute streets, the trolley/train around town, and probably mostly for the bare trees and cold weather (don’t forget–it’s actually WINTER in Australia right now!!) . . . but as we saw more and more of the city I realized it really was quite unique. The buldings, especially a lot of the skycrapers, were REALLY modern and artistic. It was almost as if every new building constructed was trying to be more artistic and modern than any other building nearby . . . and so on. Lots of bright colors, interesting shapes, and there even was this really cool building that looked as if each floor of the building was shifted left or right, as in a rubics cube.
That night we decided to participate in a “pub crawl” organized by the hostel we were staying in . . . which ended up being a total waste of money and time. It cost $5 and supposedly we were going to get 3 free drinks, but instead we had to pay for drinks at the first bar and we heard that it wasn’t until the 4th or so bar we’d get the “free” drinks. At that point, we were at this first bar for well over an hour and our jetlag was setting in pretty horribly, so we sleepily decided to head back to the hostel and ended up crashing out at 10pm.
The next day we did a bit more sight seeing around Melbourne, but were mostly excited because we went to a “footy game”–which is what they call their Australian Football. It was interesting because Australian Football is a LOT different than any other sport I’ve seen. It’s like a mixture of american football, soccer, and a little basketball–and there aren’t any real organized “plays”, there are a LOT of people out on the field at one time, and nobody wears any kind of protective padding. In fact, they actually wear tiny “short shorts” which is kind of funny. The sport is actually much more “brutal” than Rugby–which is another popular Australian sport. Players tackle each other constantly, and actually can jump up and off of other players to get to the ball! Before the game we had a beer at a nearby popular bar–which is tradition for Melbournites, and then while at the game, we tried a “meat pie” which is supposed to be a traditional food to consume during footy games. A “meat pie” was basically just like a mini pot pie. . . it was OK, but nothing I’d probably ever have again.
One thing we found really interesting in general about Melbourne is that we met a lot of people who were moving to Australia to work for a year or so because apparently there are a lot of jobs in Australia, and also that the recession is still really affecting a LOT of other countries. Two girls we met from Ireland said it’s HORRIBLE there, and nobody can find any work. In desperation, they moved to Australia in search of work . . .
Interesting to hear that the recession in the US from years ago is STILL really affecting the whole world . .
To see photos from our flight and of Melbourne, click here: