Melbourne.. the Tourist Version

23 11 2010

Item’s I have learned today:

-Each “suburb” of Melbourne is known as that particular suburb.  So for example, I live in Carlton.  My mailing address is not Melbourne, it’s Carlton (even though it’s about the same distance from the CBD as cap hill was to downtown Seattle).  It would be like having your address read Fremont, or Belltown, or Capital Hill at home.

CBD = Central Business District.  No one says “downtown” here, it’s either coming into the city, or the CBD.

-As Thanksgiving is not celebrated over here, Christmas comes REALLY early.  I believe the “Meyer Christmas Parade” was November 8th or something like that? And the Christmas tree and Santa arrived the week before.  There is definitely no waiting until AFTER Thanksgiving down under.

-Fussed = bothered, worried about it. People will say “I’m not fussed.”

-Mackers = McDonalds.

-Keen = Interested in “I’m really keen on..” or “Are you still keen to…”

-Ta = Thank you. The first time I heard it, I walked away with an EXTREMELY confused look on my face. I’m sure that made a great impression. sigh.

The new job has proven to be interesting. The first few days were a bit of a struggle (there were a few moments where I literally felt like I was living out a real life version of the office), but now that I have gotten a bit more acclimated, I am finding myself enjoying it. I know I will be employed there for the next couple of weeks (they are conducting a whole slew of interviews, and I am only there until they find someone to permanently fill the role) but after that I am not too sure. I am planning on traveling for a bit when this assignment closes (I seem to be saying that a lot recently, but hopefully this time it actually pans out). So, we will see.

I recently realized that I have neglected to share the sights of Melbourne with all my friends and family back at home. Now, I am sure this blog will bore those of you who are reading this from Australia, but do I care? Nope.

Considering my fabulous photographic abilities, I have gone online and gathered various pictures of the places I am going to post about. There is still ALL KINDS of exploration that I need to do in this city, but I wanted to take a second and share some of the things that I have already seen and/or around on a daily basis.

Federation Square

federation square (the bottom right of the picture)

federation square (the bottom right of the picture)

Federation Square is one of the very first places that I visited within Melbourne (as the Melbourne Visitors Centre is located there). It is advertised as “Melbourne’s meeting place.”  Every time I go past, there seems to be a different event going on, from protests, to farmers markets, to people watching footie matches, to live shows.  It never seems to have a dull moment… literally.

big screen where footie matches and other sporting events are watched

big screen where footie matches and other sporting events are watched

It opened in 2002 and is the second most popular tourist attraction in Victoria (with over 2000 events held there each year)

It’s design kind of reminds me of the EMP back at home (you know, incredibly um…  gorgeous… definitely does not remind me of a giant piece of ear wax.. at all)

Fed Square

Fed Square

It also houses the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, which apparently LOVES showcasing American Artists.  When I first arrived it was an exhibit on Tim Burton, it has now moved onto Disney.  I should not be saying anything however, because I completely and totally plan on seeing the Disney exhibit.

China Town

China town

China town

China town is listed as the longest continuous Chinese settlement in the western world.

Here’s some interesting tidbits in Australian history for you.   The discovery of gold in Victoria in 1851 attracted all kinds of Chinese immigrants (amongst others).  The area of the city now known as China Town was where they settled.  In 1901 the “White Australia Policy” came into play, restricting non-white immigration into Australia, and as the Chinatown website states “plunged the area into darkness.”  In 1947, it was revitalized when the immigration laws were relaxed.  The city refurbished the five arches within China town recently, and the area remains a key part of the Chinese community here.

chinatown

chinatown

 

arches in China Town

arches in China Town

I can personally say that it has some great food, and quite a few excellent karaoke places… where I may or may not have sung Journey (and a Grease medley… and George Michael…)

Lygon Street – Carlton

Lygon Street - at night

Lygon Street - at nightLygon Street

So this is the area of Melbourne that I live in. The University of Melbourne is about 5-6 blocks away, Lygon street is about two.  I walk down it pretty much every day going to and from work.

Lygon Street has its origins in the early immigration of Italian migrants to Melbourne, it has the largest selection of Italian restaurants and cafes anywhere in Australia.  When I went on the free bus tour my first day here, they called it ‘little Italy.’

Lygon Street

Lygon Street

Lygon street was also the first suburb in Melbourne to promote outdoor seating.  Now, I can’t say I particularly enjoy walking home on it, as the waiters love/get paid to stand on the side-walk and try to “attract” people into their particular restaurant.  I have learned to avert eye contact and/or glare.  It works wonders.  But there is some great people watching along this street, as well as brunch.  You don’t like the looks of one place? Move about 1 foot and you’re at another.

Brunswick Street -Fitzroy

Brunswick Street

Brunswick Street

So Fitzroy is another “suburb” here, but it is literally located 2 blocks away from where I live.  This area is called the “Bohemian area of the city” as wikipedia states (yes, I use REALLY credible sources) “Brunswick Street is home to a melting pot of artisans, housing commissioners, young professionals and boomers with excess retirement savings.”  In short, I absolutely love it.

Queen Victoria Market

Vic Market - Produce Section

Vic Market - Produce Section

QVM is similar to Pike Place Market.  Although it’s more like Pike Place Market meets the Grand Bazaar.  There are different sections of the market, one for fish, one for meat, one for cheese, one for produce, one for clothes, etc…  I made a joke the first time that I went there, that you could pretty much find EVERYTHING you could ever possibly want, except for toiletries.  Yeeaah.. guess what the first stand was that I walked past?  Cosmetics. Awesome.

Queen Victoria Market

Queen Victoria Market

Vic Market is the largest open air market in the southern hemisphere.  So you can see why I was a little bit overwhelmed walking through the produce section my first week here (the produce section makes up 50% of the market).  Although, if I was good at bartering, this would probably be my most favorite place on earth, so far I have only managed to have one woman call me cheap (the exact words out of her mouth were “you might want to try to cheaper section of the market…”  yeah, that’s DEFINITELY going to get me to buy your product).  Sunday is known as “family day” and on Wednesdays they apparently have a “night market” with all kinds of food and live music.  I am planning on checking it out this Wednesday, so I will let you know how it all goes.

Melbourne Museum, Royal Exhibition Building and the Carlton Gardens

royal exhibition building

royal exhibition building

Now don’t be jealous folks, but this is what I walk past everyday on my way to work (if I decide to avoid Lygon street).  The Royal Exhibition Building, the Melbourne Museum and the Carlton Gardens are all located in the same place.   The Royal Exhibition building is listed as a world heritage site and is one of the last remaining 19th century exhibition buildings in the world.

Ofcourse there is construction going on in front of it.. so my view of it is not quite the same as the picture posted, but still… it’s gorgeous.

Carlton Gardens

Carlton Gardens

REB and the Carlton Gardens

REB and the Carlton Gardens

The Carlton gardens surround both the museum and the royal exhibition building. The one interesting thing to note about the gardens is as the Victorian Heritage Register writes The Carlton Gardens are of scientific (botanical) significance for their outstanding collection of plants, including conifers, palms, evergreen and deciduous trees, many of which have grown to an outstanding size and form. Because of this, many of the trees have these metal rings around their trunks.  Why?  To apparently stop the possums from running up them.  Oh, and that’s another thing to note, the possums are actually CUTE here.  I kid you not.

Finally we have the museum

museum

museum

The Melbourne museum is the largest museum in the southern hemisphere (yeah, you will have noticed that a lot of things posted are the largest in this hemisphere.. apparently Melb has the only open air arena? Think Safeco field… oh.. Australians)  All I can tell you at this point about the Melb museum is that at some point soon, I would like to GO there (not just walk past it). Oh and the IMAX is there as well.

And that’s Melbourne.. or at least part of it.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone at home!


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