So my first stint in Melbourne is just about over, I will soon be heading off to Tasmania and return again to Melbourne before heading along the Great Ocean Road. I have hardly done Melbourne justice form a touristic point of view, but I have had a good time.
Most of my time has been spent with Anna, my couch surfing host and cyclist, and Sylvia, another around-the-world cyclist from USA who arrived in Melbourne about 3 days before me having come in from Adelaide and heading north to Sydney when she leaves. They are both a bit of an oddity in so much as they both cycle recumbent trikes, those odd looking things that have one wheel at the back and two at the front and a ‘sofa’ in between….call that cycling? My first day here I didn’t even stray from the St Kilda neighbourhood, I sort of floated between cafes and restaurants, then talked long into the evening and not much of it about cycling either.
The following day Anna really needed to get on with some work at home as she is setting up a business, so Sylvia and I went into the city centre. I rapidly became a replay of the previous day, though in a different location. In fact we spent so long at lunch that by the time we left and went to a group of camping shops they were all closing at it was 6pm. I made my way to St Paul’s Cathedral, right in the centre, and Sylvia made her way home. It had been over a week since I had been bell ringing, I was getting withdrawals symptoms. Once again, when I told them who I was and what I was doing here they recognised my name and took great interest in me, this time helped because the Canberra ringers had told them that I was heading in their direction. Whilst I was there I signed the visitors book, it was a very old one, the first entry being way back in 1923. I looked for my sister Cathy’s name in there, I wasn’t sure if she head been here but I found her name there dated 28/05/1989, though is has to be said that her writing has deteriorated over the last 20 years.
On day 4 of the Australian Open, Sylvia and I went only to see some of the tennis, a what a great relaxed way to watch a sporting event. With so many matches in play as it as still only the second round, you could just wander from court to court as you chose. The Aussies certainly know how to have a bit of fun. We watched two Australians play a doubles match against Canias (?) and Safin, great fun. One section of the crowd was in green and yellow and provided better entertainment than the tennis match. Along with the chanting and Mexican waves came mock tennis (see photo albums), action replays on line calls and even a pass the parcel. The parcel eventually landed with a girl and after chants of “Open it, open it” she revealed a yellow t-shirt and a green hat, the same as they were wearing. Once she had put them on there was a single chant of “She’s alright”. Sylvia left at around 5pm, but I stopped to watch another couple of matches, I could have happily come along for another day or two.
The rest of the time has been spent catching up on odd jobs, but I have managed a bit more bell ringing. I called in again at St Paul’s, then most of the ringers went along to ring at St James. I would like to say they are nice bells, but lets just say they were very challenging to ring, and to be honest the were musically challenged as well. I have never been in a tower that moves so much either. Standing by whilst others rang was like standing on a moving bus. I hope to squeeze in a bit more bell ringing tonight, but the bells in Victoria certainly aren’t as nice as New South Wales, though most in NSW have been rehung in the last 20 years or so.
Tomorrow I take the ferry to Tasmania. So many people have told me how nice it is, though they also tell me how hilly it is too. There should far less traffic around after the weekend. Monday is Australia Day, a public holiday and the final fling of the summer holidays, after that the schools are back and life returns to normal.
Gosh, that’s a short update isn’t it? You have been let off lightly, so to make up for it I have uploaded the latest photos.