Our last pitstop on the way home was a very brief 36 hr stopover in Melbourne. The only thing I knew about the city was that it was considered really “cultural” and that was it. We managed to score a room at the Victoria Hotel, right in the heart of downtown life so we parked the car the whole time and were able to walk everywhere.
Note to Danni, it felt like being in London again on our very first day where we walked and walked and walked and every corner was something new!
After a chat with the “I” information girl, we were slightly stunned/overwhelmed/deer in the headlights at ALL the things Melbourne had to offer; however, we were limited with both our short timeframe and again, things in Australia close up early. We basically walked our butts off for 15 hours and saw a cool mix of old and new buildings, artsy fartsy and over the top things and people!
|flinders train station|
|old and new|
the “arcade” shopping (Danni: reminded me totally of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, but way smaller and no spices or crazy yelling men!)
|trams everywhere. And you get on and off in the middle of the road with no safety ANYTHING!|
|how they manage tram, car, pedestrian and bike traffic (no bike turn left, no trams turn right)|
|This is the library, I took it for Carley. You will also be happy to know that Todd went in, VOLUNTARILY and there was a MUSEUM/GALLERY THAT HE ALSO WENT INTO (because it was air conditioned and he was really hot!)|
All in all it was a trip of a lifetime, and I think all of us agreed that we really thought we were able to absorb the Australian culture and saw the best of what the country had to show us in 8 weeks!
Here are some real (and not so real) stats of the trip:
Total travel by air 34,000 km
Total travel by car 7500 km
Total travel by boat 400 km
Total travel by foot 10,000 kms
And Wanda broke the travel by snorkel record 1 million kms!
Total different types of accommodation 17 (hotels, condos, lighthouses, motels, tents, cabins, boat)
We made some general notes on things we noticed while we were here:
- There is a big misconception from all Canadians we talked to before we left, regarding our safety against the crocodiles and strange bugs/creatures that are “everywhere”. (It is kind of the same as grizzly bears in Canada, you don’t see them). They aren’t crawling around in all areas at all times. They do have crocs and creatures in some areas, but you have to be wise about it, just like grizzlies.
= The Australians are very laid back people. Everyone we talked too, seemed to really take an interest and seem to give a shit about people, always willing to help out and lend a hand.
- In two months, we noticed that Canada has about 10 times more visible police on the streets. (We figure it must be because many people are rule followers.) But they take there speeding VERY seriously. Heavy heavy fines and loss of license; however, we may have pushed the envelope a few times on speed!
- The society in general seems to be a lot more family oriented. Although on the news they reported the other day that there are more pressures to move away from this culture (probably something like we felt in the 70's), but it is nice to see.
- There was almost no influence of the American way, everything is very British, and most times we really liked it!
- The difference in takeaway coffee types (flat white, long black: i still don't get what they are!) and sizes. A Tim Horton size small would equal a large size here and cost about $4.50.- The quality of some food was really amazing (I know I’ve said it already, but needs to be restated!) Diary, chicken, seafood, vegetables. I love that they don’t pump chicken here with water like we do in North America. The flavours of potato chips were unique like: Mediterranean, chicken & soya, light & tangy.
- We were all very shocked at the cost of EVERYTHING in Australia. None of us are quite sure how any money is made by companies because absolutely everything is so expensive AND our calculations indicated that salaries are about 20-25% higher here.
That's about all the information i can bore you with.
Thanks for tuning in, hopefully you enjoyed reading about our trip as much as we loved the trip.