Four Days In Melbourne

Trip Start Sep 08, 2011
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Trip End Jan 08, 2012


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Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Friday, October 7, 2011

The next few days were spent sightseeing. Melbourne has a great policy for tourists. First of all, I should mention that public transport in Melbourne is great – buses are good, trains are good but probably best of all are the trams. The city has a comprehensive tram system covering the CBD and most of the inner suburbs. One of these trams has been turned over to the tourists as a hop on/hop off service, there is also a bus which takes sightseers to all the points of interest in the city...for free. That's right. The sightseeing bus/tram is free. In Barcelona you pay an extortionate amount of money (I've never been on it in London) for the same service.

My personal highlight of the city was going to the MCG (aka the G), my personal Mecca. I spent 3 hours there – one and half hours on a tour and then another 90 minutes in the sports museum afterwards. I wasn’t even close to seeing everything there, but I had to eat.

Later that afternoon I arranged to meet my new-found Italian friends from the ill-fated flight from Bangkok, Gabri and Stefania. We were to meet in a one of the famous sidestreets in Melbourne that are full of cafés, bistros and the like. While I was waiting for them – by the way, coffee in Melbourne is really good – an Irish waitress from another café approached me and asked me the following, "Excuse me, can I ask you something?" – "Sure, go ahead." – “Is your name, Carl?” I just had to laugh. Not even in Australia am I free from the Carl Cox curse. It seems that he’s living in Melbourne at the moment and was even spotted by this waitress’ friend. Now, I know I should have said yes, I I I I am Carl Cox, but I still don’t have the balls to carry it off, maybe when I come back for the New Year, I’ll be introducing myself as Carl...maybe not.

Back to the Italians. I’d been all over the city, chilling out, while they’d been job and flat hunting and not having any luck with either. They were staying in a backpacker’s hostel and it looked like a nightmare: all the backpackers were sitting in the common room area on their computers waiting. Waiting for what I didn’t know until a sergeant major of a woman came out and declared that dinner was ready. They were made to form an orderly queue (a concept more than a few of them didn’t understand) and then they were allowed to get their dinner – meat or vegetable curry. When Gabri and Stefania came back with their dinner on plastic plates with plastic forks, it looked like something a dog had thrown up. Appetizing it was not – is that what I can expect once I start travelling?

I don’t know how, but I ended up going out for an evening with them in St Kilda, which is backpacker heaven down by the beach. They were going there to meet more Italians and in the end I was the only non-Italian in the group. Most of them tried to speak English, some didn’t, but weirdly I was able to follow the gist of the conversations and what I didn’t understand was translated for me. Like all travellers they were sharing their experiences in Oz and it seems that the ones that had travelled found Perth to be the best place to visit. They liked Australia but they loved Perth. Now I can’t wait to get there because I love Melbourne and the bar has been set very high for the rest of Australia, so if they believe Perth is better, it must be something special.

Meanwhile Alan has been an excellent guide showing me a side of Melbourne that people don’t usually see – scenes of gangland killings, sharing stories of the underworld etc. But it hasn’t all been morbid, he’s also shown me where Kylie Minogue, Geoffrey Rush and Eric Bana are from, as well as Albert Park, home of the Melbourne Grand Prix – that was a real blast;  entering the garage, the pit lane and standing on pole position.
However, my main highlight was a guided tour by coach along the Great Ocean Road. As a trip it was quite uneventful, except for one moment when a car started behaving erratically in front of the coach. The driver commented on this over the microphone and surmised that probably the car wanted him to stop. When he did, a woman got out of the car and started remonstrating with the driver – of course, I couldn’t hear what was being said, but then out of the back of the car climbed a man who looked familiar. It was a fellow passenger on the coach, who had been left behind at the previous stop and nobody had noticed! 

I’ve now visited the things I really wanted to see in Melbourne and everything else is a plus. If you’re ever out this way, the G is a must if you’re a sports fan, as well as Albert Park, but the Great Ocean Road is not to be missed  – I’m not a nature lover, but it is stunning.
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Comments

Joe on

Great to read and see what you're up to! Keep 'em coming as your blog's now become the first 'must' when the computer's on.

Melissa Dickinson on

Carl...sorry George - good to read about your trip - sounds like you are having fun. Brings back lots of fond memories of our travelling days - v envious. Keep having fun and sending updates and photos.
love Mel x

Bilko on

Carl Cox my arse......

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