Melbourne is a city designed without a central public square. Various attempts to build one have been in process since the 60’s. In 2001 Federation Square was completed. It is almost eight acres of open area pavement and modern designed buildings for the arts and public events. Similar to Millennium Park in Chicago, Federation Square is built on a foundation created above unsightly train tracks.
Successfully returning a rental car after a week or more of driving on the left side of the highway is always a huge relief. Our car return logistics in Melbourne were great, as the rental car company turned out to be across the street from our rental condo. We mostly felt at home and safe in Melbourne, as we did throughout all of Australia. There were many ethnic restaurants to choose from, including Thai and Indian, our favorites. We were ready to explore the city.
There is always much confusion when exploring a new city and figuring out the trolley or bus routes. However, Melbourne goes above and beyond all reasonable expectations to confuse the tourist. Admittedly I have a very poor memory. So all I can really remember of the street I’m looking for is Flinders. Turns out there is a Flinders Lane and a Flinders Street which run parallel and are adjacent to one another. Of course, connecting these two similarly named streets is Flinders Court.
To make navigation even worse, the next two adjacent streets are Collens Street and Little Collens Street, which also run parallel to each other. Collens Street and Little Collens Street are connected by two streets, Elizabeth Street and Elizabeth Place. Walking many, many blocks on the wrong street in the heat looking for your restaurant has a way of putting a damper on lunch. At least they served cold beer.
Federation refers to the uniting of the six separately governed colonies into one Commonwealth of Australia. It is a great place for abstract photography and a gathering place for locals and strolling tourists. For these photographs, I returned at sunset and blue hour.
Melbourne Graffiti Scene
Opposite Federation Square and joining Flinders Lane with Flinders Street, the cobblestoned Hosier Lane was said to be the central point of the city’s street art scene. There were a couple nice pieces, but all were a very distant second to what we saw in Valparaiso, Chile.
We were still experiencing the Chinese New Year crowd, so a clear shot of the murals was virtually impossible to get. We find there is no such thing as a normal pose anymore. Jumping, contorting and modeling school now seem to be required. My wife blames such behavior on Facebook.
Crazy Airline Rules
Our exploration of the city was limited by the summer heat, comfort inside our rented condo and preparation for our many plane flights ahead. Gayle, who thankfully reads copious travel sites and prepares for all travel events, discovered our airplane carry-on bags would be strictly limited to 7kg, or about 15 pounds. After successfully shopping for luggage scales we discovered my empty camera backpack weighs 6kg. Fully loaded with cameras and lenses it weighs about 38 pounds, or over 17kg. Packing my camera equipment as luggage is simply not an alternative, so we devised a complex packing plan which involved purchasing a large suitcase that would contain my empty camera backpack and purchasing another carry-on bag. Our two carry-ons would now contain most all my camera gear, and weigh 7kg each.
Our carry-on bags were indeed weighed by the airline and found to still be over the 7kg weight limit. I therefore had to remove my laptop computer from my carry-on and now carry two items on the plane, my carry-on bag and the computer separately. Clearly their weight is exactly the same, but now I have two items to carry on board and load into the overhead compartments. How does this help me or the airline? It does not matter if I weigh 150 or 300 pounds, just that no single carry-on bag weighs over 7kg. For future trips we stuffed our coat pockets with camera gear, decreasing the carry-on bag weight. We had 12 more such flights ahead of us.
Gas Brigade Fire Show
Goodnight Melbourne, next stop Tasmania.