"Untitled" or "The Melbourne Walk"

Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
Trip End Jan 04, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Sunday, November 6, 2011

I won't waste too many words on the details. I'll give you brushstrokes with some embellishment on the moments that stick in the mind. I'm writing this a couple of days later on my birthday and so recalling is a little harder than usual - after half a bottle of wine.

Melbourne is getting the cheap and cheerful treatment from us. We didn't really invest anything into it and so our opinions are on the stuff that was free or very not much more than that. And them opinions are pretty good.
We visited the main Art Gallery which is starting to become one of my favourite things to do in a city. Melbourne's one is pretty decent with a nice eclectic mix, as art should be. We spent a reasonable amount of time in a modern art exhibition with some displays set up. I'm glad that there are people in the world with probably very little that see a gap in the market in terms of a new type of modern art, such as elastic band sculptures or fart music or the imagination of a tramp in dance form that people with way too much money are willing to pay for. It kind of evens the balance a little. Note: these art items are not to be found in Melbourne Art Gallery before you go looking for them, I merely use them to make a point. I don't really like modern stuff; I hate how they pretend it means something. It's clearly a case that someone decided to stick several thousand Chupa Chups in a wall and try and say its something to do with the movement of wind, but it just isn't. I like the older stuff. By the way, you can see the Chup Chup thing in Melbourne at the moment.
I found the Impressionism paintings as impressive as always, and I liked how we met a Security Guard who had discovered something about a painting and wanted to tell everyone about it. (He noted something about the perspective which was pretty cool - I liked his passion).

The Botanical Gardens were really nice and very busy. Lots of people seemed to be happy to picnic and enjoy the area. The gardens can be found among a bigger area of green land that also houses a war memorial, some other memorials and an Observatory. We've now seen loads of Botanical Gardens, I don't really get bored of them and the break from the city they offer.

We walked through the 1956 Olympic Park (which is currently being demolished), past the Rod Laver arena and the MCG and towards Cooks Cottage. We were a little rushed for time and so decided we would come back to the cottage. It is Melbourne's oldest building. This is a cheat though. It was built in England a long time ago, but wasn't moved to Melbourne until into the 1900's. Looks good amongst the gardens though.

Now the main news of the day. The car. For the first time in 3 months I am free to drive. We are hiring to save on the cost of tours to a couple of places we wanted to go. I love driving. It's one of my favourite things to do and with us driving through New Zealand, it feels like quite a nice warm up for that.

They gave us a bloody Automatic. It's like a Go Kart. It requires no skill and no intelligence to drive and so why is it such a nightmare to drive? The principle of automatic is good, it's made to make things easier. For someone who has driven a manual for 10 years though (my god - its that long) an automatic is ridiculous. For one, why does an automatic have so many options in terms of 'gear' selection. There is a P, an R, a N, a D, a 2 and an L. Surely it should just have a go and stop button. We had a quick read of the manual and we were away. And then we stopped. As soon as I tapped the brakes we both nearly shot through the windscreen. So the brakes are a little sensitive.
It was the most frightful 10 minute drive I have ever had. The next day I would be driving for 4 hours minimum. We were lucky there weren't many cars on the roads as we were shunting along like a learner driver who had just been given the keys for the first time. Damn little car. I hate Automatic, I hate Budget and I hate driving.
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Michele and Steve on

Happy Birthday! Sorry this is too late for the day but hope you had a good birthday. Will be one to remember I guess.

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