A whistle stop tour of Melbourne

Keith, the elderly Yorkshireman we met on our Tour du Mont Blanc last year, dropped in this week for a quick visit en route to Queensland. What to show a fit and healthy 81 year old walking fanatic in one day???

We plan a route from Elwood into the city and back that combines walking with tram travel (a very Melbourne experience). First off, we walk to St Kilda along the bayside path – with whitecaps ruffling the normally flat bay waters:

 Turning inwards, we admire the twin St Kilda icons of Luna Park and the wonderful Palais Theatre, which is thankfully undergoing much needed maintenance work to ensure its glory lives on. As I stand to watch Keith take his photos I am reminded of the time Abby was a little girl and we took her to Luna Park in Sydney. She gazed up at the Sydney face and puzzled “Why is their man smiling but our man looks cross?”. She is right you know, the two entrances portray quite different emotions. 

   
 Photos taken we stroll along the Esplanade to the start of Fitzroy Street and catch a tram to the Domain Interchange.

  
It has been decades since I visited the Shrine of Remembrance, and it is a surprise to discover the beauty of it, enhanced now by 4 ‘wings’, or courtyards.

   
   
One of the courtyards has been designed as a tropical garden, its walls adorned with the names of towns that supplied recruits to fight in WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War:

   
 
Another is dominated by a poppy sculpture:

  
Climbing to the terrace that encircles the top of the Shrine we get 360 degree views. Looking up St Kilda Road the new development adorned with the face of William Barak draws the eye – an inspired architectural landmark for the city.

  
  
Down we climb and make our way to the Royal Botanic Gardens. It is 12.30, so we stop at Jardin Tan to share a very pleasant al fresco Vietnamese inspired lunch:

   
 
Refreshed, we amble through the beautiful gardens:

   
   
Over the Yarra, past AAMI stadium towards the hallowed grounds of the MCG:

  
Through Birrarung Marr, which is full to bursting with stalls set up for the Night Noodle Market (here’s a tip – avoid the crowds and queues and go for lunch on the weekend, there was almost no one there and most of the stalls seemed to be up and running).

   
   
A tour around Federation Square and then into NGV Ian Potter Centre to see the Indigenous art collection:

   
    
  
Then on to ‘art’ of a different nature – the graffiti of Hosier Lane:

  
A peek into St Paul’s Cathedral, then a walk through the lanes and arcades that are so very Melbourne:

  

Block Arcade has some new sculptures to admire:

   
 
The 81 year old still seems pretty chipper, but Pete and I are definitely tiring by this stage, so it is a quick admire of Gog and Magog in the Royal Arcade:

  

before we nip into Koko Black for an iced chocolate to revive the flagging spirits:

  
Then we catch the light rail back to St Kilda, and a short walk home. Still so much to see – it will have to wait for his next visit. Hopefully, he has enjoyed his whistle stop visit to Marvellous Melbourne.

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