We had about 50 hours in Melbourne (an eternity!) and to go native here, we dropped our “r”s and left the rental car for trams and mostly walking around.
A bigger city and a university town, we were back to crosswalks and cafés. Where Asia had free wifi everywhere and street food, Australia has “flat white” coffees and food trucks. Trade offs. We stopped in the student union and state library, always good pit stops. T marveled at how in Asia everyone seemed to be working during the day, whereas here people lounged and lingered with time for a midday wine or coffee.
We found ourselves in Federation Square, a variation of Fanueil Hall with museums. In an otherwise pricey town, the free museums at the square were the place to be, and we were both impressed with the Australian Museum of Moving Images. Downstairs displayed a tribute to the history of film, including shout outs to Mad Max, Dame Edna, Crocodile Dundee and Cate Blanchett (maybe Nicole Kidman didn’t donate anything?). A second gallery featured a Chinese filmmaker, with one exhibit with simulcast feed from 6 different cameras synchronized. Culture? Check.
Next we stumbled upon a bridge full of locks- my favorite! Lovers write their names on the lock, attach it to the bridge’s chain and throw the key into the river to symbolize their commitment to each other. We took the immigration pedestrian bridge back, where individual country’s had a panel with descriptions of the immigrant types and years to Australia. For example, Indonesia’s panel listed how they came as first pearl divers, Mauritius natives as convicts first, and Poland first as individuals. Things that make you go hmm…. History? Check.
We continued on through the laneways- alleys decked out with graffiti, restaurants and shops- where we found Vietnamese food for dinner- a tribute to the one that got away. Staying in a studio apartment with a stocked kitchen, T made pancakes for dessert. Having hit the ground running, we crashed.