Jet-lag kicked in right on schedule and we were awake at 3 AM, but we weren’t complaining too much because we went to bed at 9 PM last night so we were happy with 6 hours of sleep. Jim realized that 3 AM was a great time to call back to the States and try to resolve our ATM problem. Yesterday when we tried to use 3 different ATM’s, the transaction was denied! Not a good way to start our stay! We realized that we had called our credit card companies to let them know that we would be using the card in Australia, but neglected to call our ATM card banks. That is now all resolved and we were able to get some funny money!
Before heading out to explore Melbourne, we called our parents which was a wonderful time for all of us. Then we got to FaceTime with both boys! A great way to start a day!
Our goal today was to get to the Melbourne Visitors Center and to the Queen Victoria Market. We did that and much more and let me say that I am already falling in love with this city!
We walked to the Visitors Center, following the Yarra River Trail and what a great morning to be along the river. There were walkers, runners, bikers and skateboarders out on the trails on both sides of the river. There were rowers in a variety of boats on the the Yarra River. The Visitors Center was staffed with knowledgeable people
who were excited that we had 5 months to spend here! We left with Jim’s backpacked stuffed with maps and brochures of things we may want to see or do in the next few months.
Our next destination was the Queen Victoria Market, or the Vic Market as the locals call it, and we used the free City Circle tram to get close. The tram had some narration for the sights we were passing which was helpful. This being Sunday means that it was a quieter day at the Market with Saturday being the biggest day, with 1000 vendors hawking everything from fruits and veggies to t-shirts and hats, to meat products from a variety of fish and animals. We bought some things for lunch: a bratwurst for Jim and 2 buraks for me. Buraks are long tubes of dough stuffed with various fillings and then baked. Mine had a spinach and cheese filling and were delicious. We bought some grapes, lettuce and carrots at what seemed to be good prices. There was a lady giving samples at one of the cheese vendors and I tasted a delicious brie from Tasmania, which I ended up buying. We will return again on a Saturday because today was fun, but on a busier day with more vendors and shoppers, it should be even better.
We walked back towards the river, planning to head home. When we were walking along the river this morning we found the row of boathouses from which the rowers were launching, so on our way home, we walked along the front of the boathouses. I may have to look into doing some rowing while I am here. Our route home took us through the Botanical Gardens, which was a fabulous place. We walked by many trees that were new to us, eucalyptus and pine trees that looked different from what we are familiar with. And the cactus were thriving! We toured the Shrine of Remembrance, a place that will be the focus on ANZAC Day, the day when Australia remember all the men and women who have served in the armed forces. A quick stop at a Tea House in the Botanical Gardens revived us enough to get us back to our apartment.
Total distance walked? Ten miles! Plus we’ll add a few more tonight when we go out for dinner.
The weather was very pleasant today with temps in the low 70’s and mostly sunny while we were out. Now that we are resting in the apartment, the rain has started. We are watching an Australian Rules Football game on TV as I write this and we plan to go to a game in the near future. Lots of action in that game, but we’ll need to learn a few more rules to understand the game!
We are pretty tired after our walking tour and after a rest we will head out to Chapel Street to choose a restaurant for dinner.
Can you find us in the last photo of a huge video screen in Federation Park?