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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Marvelous Melbourne


Melbourne would be the last leg of our Australian travel 
 one of the most beautiful cities I have visited
Specially during Christmas  season
strangely  its summer in Australia !
But Its pleasant around 17 degrees  with cool winds 

Melbourne is the capital of the State of Victoria 

We flew in from Cairns in a Quantas flight it took around 2.5 hours
landing at Tulamarine airport the second largest in Australia 
We were booked in the old Vic a heritage hotel right in the middle of town in  Collins street named after an early founder of the city 
in 1836 Batman was the person who entered into an agreement with the native aborigines to develop a village and the treaty was called Batman's Treaty !
most of the aborigines lost thier land and were later moved into settlements 
the Victorian Gold rush settlers from china formed a huge china town 
Irish and German settlers started inhabting the city 
when the Australian federation came into being Melbourne was the capital with the first Australian parliament held in 1901 it was only in 1927 did the capital move to Canberra 
post second world war brought many European settlers and the city developed a Parisian chic look 
the Victoria hotel was homely and  cosy and had had a vintage air to it ,we went through its history of how it developed over the last century on whom it hosted and how it evolved through demolishing its older buildings attaching itself to neighboring ones
the old Vic Bar itself was a sight to see at the top of an ornate staircase which could be seen from the lobby ,the free WIFI was available only in the lobby for restricted times !Australia was a bit stingy when it came to WIFI !


the Flinders Railway station is a real heritage building 


The  Flinders railway station occupies a grand stand location facing the Town hall and the main square ,the station is one of the busiest even today and has been over the years connecting Melbourne to other parts of Victoria and other Australian cities .
HUGE SKYSCRAPERS IN THE HORIZON 

PORT AREA 

ST FRANCIS CHURCH 


SANTA MAIL BOX 



TRAMS IN MELBOURNE COLOURFUL SLEEK 
As soon as we settled down in the hotel we got out 
 ,it was easy as all the tourist section was right in front of us ,the roads were festooned and colorful with Christmas decorations
we walked into the main road saw the municipal building the huge Flinders  railway station and then on to the flowing Yarra river banks which were full of small food joints and big cruising boats ,one could view the city scape and the Manhattan style buildings towering behind the broad river .
the water was pure neat and the banks had well laid jogging and cycling tracks.
I read later Yarra river was not always like this it was a putrefacting mass of sludge once upon a time and it took thirty long years to create as it is today
YARRA RIVER ROWING 

The square itself has bustling colourful sleek smooth trams gliding in and out with  tingling bells as pedestrians scurried out of its path ,while the rumble of hard carriage wheels driven by muscular and gallant white horses carrying tourists and driven by ornate horsemen give a Victorian tinge to the modernity around 

The Town hall gaily painted and festooned for Christmas becomes a visual delight after dusk settles in and the 15 minute light show begins  
I was mesmerised by the beauty of the show as Santa clauses tumbled out of reindeer sledges and china men carrying overladen gifts for the coming season
people went on filming and taking phtographs while they were not hunting for souvenuniers or tucking into hot sandwishces aor creamy ice creams as dusk brought its chill and grazxing winds 


The horse carriages ,the trams ,the cycles,the  flowing yarra river with cruises and the black swans,the  high rises the hindreds  of shops ,food joints ,live music santa post boxes 

Marvelous Melbourne was defintiely European in its profile 
Be it in the haute courte brand houses.the art galleries .green parks flowing Yarra river way side musicians flowing Australian wines gourmet continental food courts English cottages magnificient churches easy people and all
The next morning we were to start the city tour
All tours are well organised with the pick up buses from hotels taking us to a centralised stand where we are split into respective tours ,we get into our buses and the driver cum manager cum guide who are trained with excellent diction and public speaking 
T
While Sydney has its showpiece opera house and memorial bridge to be known all over its left to sport to do that to Melbourne
Melbourne was the sport capital of Australia  with the famed Melbourne cricket ground Australian open event is conducted here football matches and long winding bicycle tracks which are full of helmeted riders
 the climate is mediterannean and there is chill in the air even.in the midsummer and  its sunny at 7pm and the crowds fill the place near federation sqaure with xmas lightings refugee rights meets parks with children frolicking an air of geniality and cheer that comes out of comfort no competition and relaxation permeates the air of this wonderful place
The  luxurious volvo bus fitted with a toilet ,free wifi which was inconsistent and ,a driver who could deliver a TED speech with ease as we went around the sights of this city


The driver elaborated his views on city planning concepts and how Melbourne was made.
Wish he was the Mayor of Cochin for he would definietely done better than the present incumbents !
The vision .the clarity the sense of purpose the dedication the energy that has made such cities what it is is what is lacking in ours which could be made equally if not better
Iam sure there would be comments that it is easy to comment in fb but then city planning or politics is not my profession in which I do my best and expect others to do the same .
Iam just pointing out not pointing fingers out of sadness for my state
At least there is hope in our PM today .
Lunch at a Punjabi dhaba was elegant excisite and coffee with doughnuts was sweet 
Yarra river cruise was a bit hot in afternoon 
The river itself needed 3 decades of cleaning to remove its slime and sludge and make it as what it is today .sparkling clean blue water flowing sedately with built neat banks with bycycle tracks 
on return we walked to the town hall and watched the light show again beofre retirng into the old vic 



































that was a good un indeed mate I liked it
Finally the 12 apostles standing against the might of the crashing waves with biblical solemnity


XMAS PARK 

YARRA RIVER CRUISES




Final day in Australia was spent in the Great ocean tour
This starts from Melbourne and winds around 250 km into Victoria state on a road built mostly on the sea coast it climbs verdant hills with green canopies plush lawns with plumpy cows and wooly sheep grazing with no care in the world it passes qauint. Villages like Port Campbell and lovely beaches steep gorges that look into turquoise seas winfing paths that lead to the glistening waters stacked and rolled hay in vast fields
One thing missing other than in beaches and towns which were full of gawking tourists and seminude locals out to catch the sun was lack of people in the fields
Thee cows went in line to be milked we saw them but by whom
According to John our verbiose driver cum manager cum crisis officer cum principal the milked ones have a smile on thier face unlike the unmilked cows with heavy udders ..






















LONDON ARCH 

London arch this is a natural rock formation was called London bridge in Great ocean road off Melbourne in late nineties an arch broke off and 2 tourists were stranded in middle a man and woman both married to different people ! Finally rescued by helicopter 
Since then its called London Arch

The twelve apostles is a natural rock formation in the port campbell National park and depicts the twelve disciples of Jesus christ


12 APOSTLES 
LEURAH
Reached back tired but happy


dusk saw us do some last minute shopping and the next day morning we felw back to Brunei in the Royal Brunei airlines  

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