Shortly leaving Melbourne

Trip Start Sep 24, 2006
Trip End Sep 01, 2007

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Monday, June 25, 2007

While I wait to go to the Ferry for Tasmania, t hought I would pen a few words about my walking tour of Melbourne yesterday. I had arranged with the free Melbourne Greeters service to have a tour Yesterdaiy ( Sunday) at 10 a.m.  The people that staff the Info center at Federation Square are ALL Volunteers and they do a wonderful job. So knowledgeable  and  friendly - and of course enjoy meeting new people - guess that's why they do what they do!.  On Friday Beveley got together and went for lunch at St Kilda but before that we went to the Visitor's Center and the volunteer who served us, when he found out where we were from, that  he had a friend in Canada. I asked where and he said 'Yellowknife" as if I probably wouldn't even know where the place was!  Well turns out I haven't heard of him, he is a police office apparently, and I said 'well, I wouldn't know any of them.' He had imigrated from German as Dieter, the volunteer had as well. Anyway he suggested I get a free tour so I signed up - Beverley was going on one t hrough her hostel.  Turns out Dominic was my guide and we were joined by Christopher, from Germany, who is a business student working at Volkswagen in Sydney for 6 months. The tour lasted 2 1/2 hours and I sure got a new appreciation of what Melbourne has to offer.  Wonderful alley street art, (aka graffiti), lovely 1870 era State Library, General Post Office and shopping arcades restored to their former glory.  The State Libary is still a library and the Le Trope Reading Room is something to behold with original wooden desks and chairs, a central raised judges type glatorm wiht a mirror where the ssshing Librarian would sit, all overlooked by floor s of balconeys which now house museums relics.  One could spend lots of time there. Saw a Parisien style shopping arcade and one patterned after the Longon style at the time, both with lots of glass, chaneliers, lamps and in the case of the latter, original mosaic flooring!  The area around the Yarra river used to be mud flats and is now reclaimed for restaurnta,s busking areas, places for people to sit and watch the river. A beautiful central area at Federaion square has polished stones from broken Hill lining the walking area which is sloped to provide seating to view the stage for special events. Melbourne has spent a lot of money on restoration, as well as private developers. Also went to the very old Victoria Market, held 5 days a week, providing 1000 shops including bakeries, fish, clothing etc.  Also went to the Crown Casino, which was built about 5 years ago and at the time was the biggest in the world. Spreads about 5 blocks I think he said and has 30 restaurants.  After the tour I went on the train to Williamston to the sea, as I wanted to get out of the city and I had a special Sunday pss.  Came back very tired and was going to do laundry but put it off until today, which was spent washing the little floor area of Jum's place and tidied up the very comfortable place I had for 8 days.  Wathed the tail end of Dr Phil and the entire episode of Oprah, and part of a stage play of 'On Golden Pond, which starred Julie Andrews.  Tried to find a phone to call mom and dad, but to no avail. Seems when I do find a pay phone, it's the wrong time, and when I get through, they are out!
There was a flash, captured by a storm chaser, on the news on Tv last night of the 'tornado that ripped through Canada's mid west" but they didn't say where!  Only that brief announcement and showed a bit of the video. I just went on Yahoo and found it was western Manitoba in an area called Pipestone. That is the same area that extends into Sask. and from my parent's farm we can see the Pipestone hills and in fact I grew up on the Pipestone View Ranch. So a little bit of trivia there.
Well June 21 was Australia's SHORTEST day of the year, and sun is up about 7 and down at 5:45 p.m. being in the southern hemisphere. It is their winter and it gets warmer as you go NORTH. But I want to tell you that in spite of it being winter, the grass and trees are green.  Apparently Tasmania will be cooler. 
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