Melbourne is seen as the sporting, culture and food capital of Australia, (what else is there in the world?) it has a varied architecture built on the back of a gold rush in the 1850s. The majority of all this is within a 1 mile radius, a very walkable city that makes life easier with an efficient tram service. Even the two train stations reflect the variety. flinders Street station is the iconic station on many tourism brochures, and Southbank station, the gateway to Australia, with its wave like roof.
Today I had a go at hitting all the sport, culture, food and history all in one day. A relentless pace, but got to be done with such a short time here. I started off with a Monet exhibition at the Art Gallery. There were one or two quirks in it, it was supposed to be about his garden, yet managed to feature Norway and London? Big garden that. There were some stunning pictures, although it would have been more vibrant had it been hung on dark walls, in the French style, rather than the light grey chosen.
The onto a tram for the circular tour. This was free and came with a basic commentary, explaining the city. I really enjoyed this, when four of the naughtiest out of control children got on. With their mother and grandmother, they took up 9 seats, possibly more as people tried to move away. 'Don't do that' constantly didn't work, and I got off by the largest building in Melbourne called Skydeck 88. I had no intention of jumping off to get away from the kids from hell, but to see the city from a different angle. From the top of thee I saw heaven. Not the one with harps and angels, but the one with sports facilities. In the Sports precinct in Melbourne, there is the MCG, Rod Laver Centre, AAMI, Olympic Park, Australian Institute of sport and a sport Museum. Heaven! No wonder the Aussies were so good at sport, and probably taught the world how to be fit and professional. Oh I forgot to mention the three rowing clubs on the other side of the river.
At lunchtime, I sat outside in a fish restaurant to have barramundi wrapped in pancotta ham, with lychee and coriander salad. Fantastic. Om the next table, Mark Regan and Graham Dawe were sat, eating steak. Is it something about hookers that means that they have to be awkward?
The match was being played at the AAMI Stadium, a short walk from the restaurant. The stadium in the dark looked like a giant sparkling slug, again an iconic design. Whilst the Lions won 35-0, the game never really got going, and the atmosphere strangely quiet after Saturday. The only incident of note was a Rebels fan, who was trying to encourage his team with singing. No one was following his lead. He tried several songs and eventually started singing, 'If you all hate the Lions, clap your hands' He was in his 40s not 4. This was to the great amusement of a group of Lions fans who started singing, The wheels on the bus go round and round' touché.