After returning from the Great Ocean Road, the husband and I spent a day in Melbourne proper. Our principal aim was to acquire an authentic didgeridoo for younger son, but we managed to squeeze a few tourist attractions in all the same. We were staying in Oakleigh, a suburb about 14 kilometers (about nine miles) from the central downtown area. We took the train in, which provided a good view of the city as we approached.
Although I by no means consider myself a city person, I do like walking around an urban downtown. I particularly like shooting (in a photographic sense) businesses, windows, and skyscrapers. I don't really feel comfortable photographing people; the people shots I took in Vietnam were mostly with a longer lens, and even there I still felt awkward at times. One of the businesses we say, in the train station itself, was noteworthy for its truth in advertising.
We walked through Victoria Market more for general interest than actually looking for anything. It was much higher class than the markets in Vietnam.
Except for a brief period during World War II, the gaol hasn't been used as such since 1924. It almost seems out of place sitting in the shadow of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.
I mentioned above businesses, windows, and skyscrapers, though in regard to the third, "buildings" might be a more appropriate term than "skyscrapers." Having covered the businesses side above, here are some of the windows I liked.
I did take a couple of shots of people or other things I didn't necessarily expect to see, such as a temperance statue with googly eyes. I really didn't think younger son had been to Melbourne, but this is the sort of thing he would do.
I'm not a fan of large cities, but I enjoyed our day in downtown Melbourne. The husband and I agreed that it felt very much like a European city. I also thought that it had a very different feel than Perth did. Perth had a more frontier feeling, sort of like a city in Montana or the wild Western U.S., while Melbourne felt much more cosmopolitan. I can't say, though, that one felt better than the other. We visited Perth and Melbourne because those were the places in which I had friends. Pondering it, I think the two gave us a very good feel for some of the differences inherent in such a large country. I think now that it would be interesting to go back and see Darwin, in the north, and maybe somewhere in Queensland. Hobart, Tasmania also has possibilities for a future trip.
I never really felt as if I drew the lengthy blog of our 2009 trip to a tidy conclusion, so let me try to do that here for this trip. Many places I've visited seem comfortable as one-shot deals. I loved the week we spent in Rome in 2002, but I'm not sure I'd jump at the chance to go back there over going somewhere new. Australia is such a huge, varied country, that I could go there over and over, and each trip would be distinct. I'm not sure I can articulate why, but I would go back to Hue as well. There is a draw to the city that I can't explain. We passed on many of the tourist visits we made three years ago and settled more into living there than visiting, and that made it a very different trip. Will be go back? I don't know, though the husband has gotten several messages in the two months since our return from Hue students asking when he might be coming back. He somewhat jokingly told the Hue University folks just to contact me if they wanted him back, and he knows what I'd say. So who knows, there may be another trip blog to come. In the meantime, though, happy trails!