Friday 9 March 2018

Australian Adventures 2018 - Part 11

Part 11 – Melbourne

After three weeks of quiet bliss in Tasmania, I found Melbourne’s noise and crowds to be a little jarring when we first landed on Tuesday. Hobart may only be a one-hour’s flight from Melbourne, but its calm is in sharp contrast to the go-go vibe of central Melbourne.

I have never lived in Melbourne, but I have visited many times. When I lived in Sydney in the early 1970s and announced that I was travelling to Melbourne, condolences were expressed. And, predictably, when I was in Melbourne and announced that I was travelling back to Sydney, once again condolences were expressed.

To paint with a very large paintbrush, I’ve experienced that Sydneysiders consider themselves brasher and more dynamic, while Melburnians see themselves as being more sophisticated and worldly. I’ve heard haughty Melburnians dismiss Sydneysiders as “convict trash.” And in return, I’ve heard Sydneysiders dismiss Melburnians as “stuck up their own arses.” Ah, the rivalries between Australia’s two largest cities!

Population-wise, the two cities are almost identical. Greater Metropolitan Sydney has about 5 million people, whereas Greater Metropolitan Melbourne has about 4.8 million. They are 877 km apart, a little more than the distance between Toronto and Québec City. The Sydney-Melbourne flying corridor is one of the busiest in the world.

My conclusion: Melbourne’s charms take time to appreciate; Sydney’s dynamism is a tonic. Take your pick. Personally, I love both of them.

We only had two full days in Melbourne, but we packed a lot in: a fine new production of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; visits to the National Gallery of Victoria’s superb Triennial Exhibition; a personalized tour of impressive street art in Melbourne’s Central Business District by our friend Mesha; a Lebanese lunch with friends in nearby Brunswick; shopping in fabric stores and bookstores; and just general wanderings. My camera was kept very busy.

We are now on our way to Canberra, Australia’s capital city, for three days before we drop off our rental car in Sydney in preparation for the flight back to Toronto on Wednesday. I anticipate making at least one more post before heading home.

In the meantime, here are ten photos from our visit to Melbourne. Enjoy!

Bicycle in reflected light, lower level of pedestrian walkway beside the Yarra River near Arts Centre Melbourne

Tower on top of Arts Centre Melbourne

Pedestrian bridges over the Yarra River

International Women's Day protests in Federation Square

National Gallery of Victoria Triennial: 
Moving Creates Vortices and Vortices Create Movement  
by the Japanese art collective, TeamLab

National Gallery of Victoria Triennial: 
Eternity (Buddha in Nirvana)...
by Chinese artist Xu Zhen

Melbourne street art.
Sorry, I don't know the name of the artist.

Melbourne street art.
Sorry, I don't know the name of the artist.

Traffic outside our Airbnb digs

Escalator leading to Dymocks Bookstore,
Collins Street

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