Friday, October 30, 2015

Melbourne: Vibrant and Alive

After a week in the small towns of Tasminia, Melbourne, with a population of over 4 million was a bit of a shock. The streets near our old town hotel are jambed with cars and trams and the sidewalks (foot paths) are alive with pedestrians. Old and new buildings blend, narrow alleys sport outdoor seating for adjacent cafes and 19th century shopping arcades weave through buildings.

We did a quick walk through of Queen Victoria Market--think Pike Place Market on steroids--and will need to make a second trip to do it justice.

Melbourne is a "free colony" as opposed to Sydney which was settled as a "penal colony." They are proud of that difference. They didn't need prision ships to populate the city; the discovery of gold nearby in the mid-1800's was enough to attract people and generate great wealth. They claim the gold extracted from the area exceeds the California gold rush output many times.

Signs of the wealth abound. The city was mster planned and claims that 20% of the land area is park or open space. Wide streets radiate from the city center. Large, ornate public buildings and churches still occupy key locations, protected by rigid preservation regulations.

As a history buff I appreciated the Shrine of Rememberance, the memorial to Aussies and Kiwis who served in their armed forces. It's kind of a big block of stone from the outside but the interior tributes are touching and well done.

Dined at one of the alley restaurants and tried our first kangaroo. Not sure if it was ranch raised or road kill but it was delicious. (Kangaroo hides are available in the Q. V. Market!)

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