Up at 6:45am to catch the 8:30 train to Melbunn. Nice ride, relaxing, family time… We had planned to visit the zoo but the weather looked more like an Aquarium day, so that’s what we started with. On the way, we looked for a place for a nice coffee and found, unexpectedly, a Krispy Kreme store. American commercialism wins out. We stopped for a coffee and a box of 6 donuts, or as they spell them here, doughnuts. The young girl who served us was very excited to talk with us as she has family in Canada and has actually visited Dryden and Red Lake, Ontario. Unbelievable! How many Canadians have ever visited Red Lake?
On to the Aquarium, nicely located on the waterfront at the Yarra River. We saw the usual sights – penguins, sharks, jelly fish, neat tropical fish, starfish of all kinds, a crocodile and a lot of families enjoying the day.
After a few hours, we took a long walk on the riverfront, just looking at the buildings. We decided to get on the free tram that runs around the downtown area to get a better flavour of the city and to stay out of the rain. We stopped after a few stops to walk through the theatre district and ended up walking to Chinatown. That’s where we found the great Chinese pastry shop, with delicacies just like the ones the kids usually buy in Ottawa.
From there, we continued onto Collins Street, which is knows as the Paris end of Melbourne, walking through the laneways to show the kids the lovely bistros and shops. Ariane was looking for the loo, so we ended up at Myer, a huge department store, where she wandered into the cosmetics dept. “Don’t make eye contact.” I warned her. But too late, she was mesmerized by the MAC counter and some other brand I have never heard of. In the meantime, Leon and the other guys are waiting near the toilet entrance, wondering where we’ve gone.
By now, we were looking for a nice, inexpensive meal, and Sushi was just what we wanted. We found a restaurant that puts the dishes on a conveyor belt where you choose the food you want and then are charged for the empty plates. The food was quite fresh and delicious. With a cup of tea, Leon and I had a meal for $20. Not bad for the big city!
We continued on the tram ride for a full round trip. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see anything from the crowded seat I had, so none of the great tourist info coming from the speakers in the tram was very relevant to me. Oh well!
Ariane and Nick got off near their hostel as they were staying in the city for 2 nights. Leon, Earl and I continued to the train station for the ride home. Nice relaxing time, reading a magazine, something I haven’t done in weeks.