10.03.2016 - 11.03.2016 72 °F
Wait, what? Is this Seattle? I see rain, and even a few umbrellas.
No, I've been assured that we did indeed land in Melbourne and not fly home. Melbourne simply has notoriously undecided weather that can often change suddenly and rapidly. Yesterday it was 99 degrees and sunny. Today it is raining and 72 degrees. Tomorrow calls for 82 and sunny. Dress accordingly.
Melbourne immediately felt foreign to Sydney. From the moment we stepped off the plane and into our taxi--this is definitely something different. Melbourne has been described as a city with four seasons in one day...and that felt immediately apparent. Goodbye Sydney, with your beautiful weather. I'll see you again in a week and a half.
While Sydney felt to be a very cosmopolitan city surrounded by natural beauty, Melbourne feels more like a laid back city surrounded by culture. I was embarrassed to wear my tennies while out power walking in Sydney. In Melbourne? I complimented them with stretch pants and thought nothing of it. Don't get me wrong--folks in Melbourne can sure be fashionable, particularly in the CBD with its high end shops and trendy stores, but I sure see enough casually dressed people to blend in without embarrassment.
We are staying in the Central Business District where we have rented two small apartments. Since most of what we had planned is around the CBD we opted to stay in the thick of it, rather than stay in outer neighborhoods. Though Melbourne has such stellar transportation that staying anywhere around the city isn't a problem. Their tram system is so well functioning and widely available that traveling around is incredibly fast, easy, and convenient.
The downside to staying in the CBD is...well, we are in the CBD. It's crowded. Always. Weekdays were worse with work schedules keeping people in the city, but with all the shops and restaurants in the area and with Flinders Street Station a short 5 minute walk away, the CBD is a hot bed of activity. Walking down the street can be frustrating in some parts simply due to crowds.
Still, the convenience of walking everywhere and having so many options for activities, parks, and eateries at just a stone's throw away make this a good pick for us. And Des, who hasn't been okay with riding in his stroller for the last year, sits back and takes it all in. We've done so much walking because of it. Only taking the tram one day to the beaches and walking everywhere else.
He literally sits on the edge of his seat and watches everything as we go by.
Despite the drizzle and rain on our first day here, we did a lot of exploring by foot just trying to get a sense of the area. We immediately found that people here walk terribly slow and often erratically, which led to the exploration of side streets in an attempt to find roads less traveled. The charming alleyways of the CBD are fun to explore and the shops and restaurants seemingly endless. Many alleys house street art, and Hosier Lane from Flinders Street is among the most iconic.
We headed into China Town to pick up some dinner before calling it a night.
On our second day here I woke up for an early morning walk and headed over to the Queen Victoria Market, which opens at 6 am. Vendors were still setting up as I arrived, but the hundreds of stalls and vast expanse of market, even when mostly empty early in the morning, made me realize I definitely need to return when it is all set up.
Still, I collected a bounty of fruit for breakfast and headed back to the apartment.
Once everyone was up and collected (and stuffed with fruit), we caught the tram to St Kilda beach, about a 20 minute ride south of the CBD. It was beach day--Desmond's favorite kind of day.
I like St Kilda. It's quiet and lovely, reminding me of a much more subdued Southern California town with stretches of beautiful beaches and palm tree-lined streets.
We stopped for some coffee, walked through a beautiful park, and hit the beach.
Of course Des wanted to dig in the sand.
We walked along the pier for a bit, admiring the views of Melbourne's CBD in the distance.
Des slowly made his way toward the water, digging and digging until he just walked over to the shore break and plopped down in the water. Good thing I brought extra clothes.
Once he was in, it was over. The kid splashed and played and even got so brave as to walk out up to his neck in the waves. We did see a couple jellies, so we were mindful of watching him closely. Unckie Justin helped a lot with that.
We finally managed to lure Des into a cafe for some fresh watermelon juice, though he protested on the ride home as we left the beach.
After a long nap and some snacks we were back at it again, this time crossing the Yarra into Southbank. Here we discovered that there is the Moomba Festival this weekend and stretching along the river were carnival rides, game booths, and food. Apparently this is a holiday weekend. Surprise!
We walked through the festivities, passing the kid rides without thought. Des, however, immediately cried and pleaded that we turn around.
We walked a bit more (can't indulge every whim the lad has), but did return and bought tickets for Des to go on two rides.
He was happier than a pig in shit when we were done!
That night he was pretty wiped out.
So many new experiences for this little dude. As wild as he is, he sure does adapt well.