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Frankston, South Yarra, Melbourne

World Trip Two

Monday, May 4 2009: Pearcedale-Frankston-Seaford, Australia

The Frankston-Seaford beach.

We spent a relaxing day at John and Di's home; our only activity was a three mile walked from the Frankston pier to the Seaford pier along the beach. It was a cloudy rain threatening sky, which never dropped a drop, but added to the beauty of the walk.

The beach between the two towns was completely empty of people giving us a sense of solitude. The yellow sand made the walk more difficult but certainly worth it.

Tuesday, May 5 2009: Pearcedale, Australia

John making a rather funny joke.

We downsized our rental car from the big station wagon we needed to make the trip to the Snowy Mountains, to a much smaller vehicle that will work better when we relocate to Melbourne on Thursday. The great thing about renting a car is you can just change it when it gets dirty; it saves that entire car washing hassle.

After this, and a few other morning tasks, Julia and I paid a visit to my Dad and Verna. Verna had made scones and served them with clotted cream, jam, and tea. This was very yummy but once again we blew our calorie intake for the day. Thanks for giving us a great time Verna and Dad.

Wednesday, May 6 2009: Pearcedale, Australia

A happy wine taster.

The Mornington Peninsula is where my family live and where I spent most of my childhood. But I had no idea that it is now home to more than 60 wineries. Given this new revelation I asked Lawrence if he would guide us on a wine tasting tour. He agreed and so we spent the day tasting local wines and eating delicious food.

Julia was our designated driver once again which made driving ourselves around to each winery possible. All of the Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, and Sémillon wines we sampled were excellent. What a wonderful way to spend a day.

In the evening we had a family dinner with John, Di, Lawrence, Verna, and my Dad. It will be the last time Julia and I will see Dad and Verna on this trip which was sad. Saying goodbye was difficult so we settled for au revoir instead.

Thursday, May 7 2009: Pearcedale-South Yarra, Australia

A happy window shopper.

We said goodbye to John and Di and headed to our new home, for a week, in South Yarra. We drove via the beach road so we could get views of Port Philip Bay along our way. Stopping at St. Kilda Beach we took a walk out to the end of the pier. After a bite to eat we continued our walk to Luna Park and then on to the cake shops in Acland Street.

We would have loved to have sampled one of the culinary masterpieces but we are both trying to manage our calories so we were restricted to looking. There used to be a pastry shop every second shop when I lived in Melbourne, but we found only 4 shops today. I guess the bottom has fallen out of the pastry market too.

Luna Park.

We eventually arrived at our new abode on Darling Street in South Yarra. I used to live in South Yarra and it is a trendy inner suburb of Melbourne full of hair salons, restaurants, and clothing stores.

There is great public transport to the city and we are very close to the Botanical Gardens so we will not need to use the car much while we are here. Julia and I were both in bad need of a hair cut so that was the first order of business followed by the consumption of sushi.

Melbourne Video

Friday, May 8 2009: South Yarra, Australia

The Music Bowl.

We walked into the city from South Yarra via the magnificent Melbourne Botanical Gardens. The weather was still cloudy but not raining or very cold. The park route is a great way to get to the city. It surrounded us with birds, trees, plants, and grassy expanses of all kinds. We walked past the Music Bowl, which is an outdoor entertainment facility in the park, and then eventually popped up in South Bank.

This is the part of town where many of the performing arts theaters are. The area also hosts the National Arts Gallery, the Crown Casino, many restaurants, coffee shops, and all are set alongside the lovely Yarra River.

The Gardens.

After a light and yummy lunch we walked the riverside path to the Flinders Street Train Station; then visited Federation Square across the road. The station is a fine example of a Victorian building and the square is juxtaposed to it. The modern patchwork of architecture in the square combine art, form, and function into an either you hate it or love it structure. We walked back to South Yarra via the park and rested in our pied-a-terre.

In the evening we returned to the arts center, via a tram ride this time. We were there to see Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Emanuel Schikaneder, which is pronounced chicken-a-tor, truly I kid you not. Emanuel was a dancer, actor, singer, stage entrepreneur who employed Wolfgang to write Die Zauberflote. Emanuel played the funny and scene stealing role of Papageno which was tailor written for him. Quite the name and character it seems. It was a very funny, approachable, and casual version of The Magic Flute. The Papageno character in this rendition spoke with a broad Australian accent which made the role the cheekiest I have ever seen.

Saturday, May 9 2009: Melbourne, Australia

In front of the Exhibition Buildings.

After making our, now almost, routine walk through the botanical gardens we met with Di and John for lunch by the south bank of the Yarra River. From here we took the free tourist bus to the Melbourne Museum in the Exhibition Gardens. This is a really interesting museum with a good balance of natural history and life sciences. After filling our minds with knowledge we met up with Lawrence and Andy for dinner to fill up our bellies with Greek food.

It was good to see Andy again as the last time was in February back in the good old US of A. After dinner we walked back to South Bank and saw the new Star Trek movie, which is very good indeed. After the movie we all had one last coffee and said goodbye.

Sunday, May 10 2009: Melbourne, Australia

We were out early this morning to make our walk into Melbourne. Along the way we bumped into an organized march to support breast cancer cure. The influx of people added much color to our regular walk through the botanical gardens. The rest of the afternoon was spent walking the streets of Melbourne to satiate our retail needs. We walked to the Victoria Market which is a colorful outdoor/indoor bazaar, had a bite to eat, and wandered about the stalls intrigued by the merchandize and its peddlers.

The famous Chloe painting at the Young & Jackson pub.

We dropped into the Young & Jackson pub which is a very old Melbourne pub and is famous for a painting that has been hanging there since 1883 called Chloé, painted by French artist Jules Joseph Lefebvre in 1875. The painting did hang in the National Gallery of Victoria for three weeks but its depiction of nudity caused such an uproar it was taken down and sold to the pub. I think the National Gallery would like to have it back now but I do not see that happening anytime soon.

The evening was spent having dinner with my friends Fred, Vic, and his wife Katia. We were surprised to learn that Vic and Katia had traveled to Lebanon. They both seemed to have had a great time on their trip and they shared many stories about the place. Fred and I discussed our differing views on the existence of a sky god and could only agree to disagree on the subject. Once we had similar views but now we are in opposite corners. I still consider Fred one of my best friends and I thank Darwin for this friendship.

Melbourne 02 Video

Monday, May 11 2009: Dandenong Ranges, Australia

One of the many birds on our walk.

We spent the day hiking the Wright Forest near the little town of Cockatoo in the Dandenong Ranges, which is just east of Melbourne. The walk was not long, only two and half hours, but it took us through some really genuine Australian bush. We encountered quite a bit of intentionally burnt forest.

This was done to lower the risk of bush fire. But even with the fire damage the forest was very much alive with birds, plants, and trees. When we returned to our car we found that the driver's side window had been smashed and the rented GPS stolen. The car was filled with broken glass and we both felt violated by the senseless act. We drove the shattered auto to a local police station to make a report. Then we drove the car back to South Yarra to exchange it for another vehicle. Some bad luck for us to deal with on our journey. Julia and I both really loved experiencing the birds on this walk, so we felt it was worth the broken glass.

Tuesday, May 12 2009: Williamstown, Australia

Melbourne as seen from Williamstown.

More bad luck for both of us today as we woke up with sore throats. We think we both might have the beginnings of a cold; let's hope It's not Swine Flu. We postponed our walk at the Werribee Gorge State Park and substituted a drive to Williamstown, a gentle stroll around the foreshore, and some coffee and cake.

Then we returned to Darling Street where we rested for the rest of the day in hopes the virus might be checked before the symptoms got worse.

Wednesday, May 13 2009: Melbourne, Australia

Barely awake in the National Gallery.

Both of us had a bad night's sleep last night which we figure was due to our over consumption of wine at dinner. And for some unknown reason I was up at 5:00am bright as a button. These two factors had me fall asleep in the afternoon when we returned from our walk and visit to the National Gallery. I was out like a light.

But during my brief period of consciousness I did enjoy the art and exhibits. The building itself is a work of art with its high voluminous ceiling, water flowing glass windows, and the effort made to give each colonnade a different feel. The art was not the most inspiring collection I have ever seen, but offered enough to hold our interest for a few hours. Many memories flooded me as I used to visit this gallery frequently when I lived in Melbourne. But then all were lost as I fell into a deep, deep slumber.


Trip stats

Miles Flown: 8,919

Miles Hiked: 108

Miles Skied: 2

Miles Driven: 3,201

Miles Sailed: 89


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