Day 17: Melbourne Meanderings

After daytripping from Melbourne, I finally had a whole day to spend some time in the city.  To start, Aydin, Ben, some of their friends to the train into the Central Business District to see Dan Savage speak at the Princess Theatre, a beautiful Victorian building dating back to 1854.  Melbourne was and still is a theatre town and has several beautiful old theatres.  The Princess Theatre is no exception with grand balconies, ornate walls and beautiful chandeliers.

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We had lunch near the gates of Chinatown at a Chinese buffet, which wasn’t too bad (I typically don’t like buffets).  After lunch, I decided to do a self-guided walking tour of central Melbourne, which began where probably any walking tour of Melbourne begins – Federation Square.

Federation Square is a meeting place, popular for staging protests, hosting concerts or visiting several museums or starting one of many self-guided walking tours of Melbourne.  The square’s buildings are strikingly modern.  I visited the The Ian Potter Centre: National Gallery of Victoria.  It was interesting going here after visiting the Art Gallery of New South Wales because I was becoming more familiar with Australian artists.

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Leaving Federation Square, I proceeded down Flinders Street up back by Parliament, built with stone in 1855 from the Grampians with several additions, especially during Victoria’s gold rush years.

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I made my way back through Chinatown along Little Bourke street where I had been earlier that day.  From Chinatown, I walked through the several beautifully adorned arcades and shopping streets of central Melbourne such as the Bourke Street Mall, the Royal Arcade and the Block Arcade.

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I also walked through several alleyways covered with graffiti, which in Melbourne are organic artworks in their own right.  Finally, I crossed Flinders Street near the beautiful Flinders Street station, crossed the muddy Yarra River and admired the views from Southbank.

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After getting to explore Melbourne properly, I can understand why it is considered one of the most livable cities in the world.  It has excellent public transportation, a populace that appreciates art, literature and culture, a low crime rate, excellent restaurants, friendly people and boundless energy.  Its antipodean location is probably the only thing that would keep me from making this place my home.

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