Generation Z. Cruising in an RV.: On to Melbourne, Manila, and Guangzhou!

Friday, May 5, 2017

On to Melbourne, Manila, and Guangzhou!

Melbourne, Australia
In the midst of the excitement of getting into our brand new home, I had also been preparing for my four-month trip to Australia. I left Phoenix on May 2 and landed in Melbourne on May 4. I took care of my six grandchildren for at least four months each when they were infants or toddlers. When recently, my youngest daughter April migrated to Australia and started a job at the Australia Post, it became Kyrie’s turn, my one year and 7 1/2-month-old grandson. 

vicinity map
Melbourne is the capital of Victoria, Australia, only second to Sydney in terms of population (4.5 M). It is located on the large natural bay of Port Phillip. Founded by free British settlers in 1835, it was officially declared a city by Queen Victoria in 1847. In 2016, with high ratings in education, entertainment, healthcare, R&D, tourism, and sports, it’s been named the “World's Most Liveable City” for the 6th year in a row.

Although I had visited Melbourne for business as Managing Director of SAP Philippines about 18 years ago, you can’t imagine my excitement to get the chance to explore more carefully Australia's "cultural capital." I have identified the following places I intend to visit on weekends when Bill has not yet joined me. And there will be more places, farther from the city, when he does join me.

State Library of Victoria
Not to be missed are historical landmarks built in the 19th century after the city’s founding:
1. Melbourne Town Hall, a magnificent government structure, and event space;
2. State Library of Victoria, 23 classical Victorian buildings, a one with a grand reading room;
3. Old Melbourne Gaol, a storied tri-level jail that once housed notorious inmates, now a museum;
4. St Paul's Cathedral, a neo-Gothic cathedral with twin spires and stained-glass processional doors; and
5. Melbourne Cricket Ground, the birthplace of Aussie cricket, also home to Australian football and the National Sports Museum.

Flinders Street Station
Other places built after the 19th century that would also interest me are:
1. Flinders Street Railway Station, iconic, domed railway and metro hub with a YELLOW Façade;
2. National Gallery of Victoria, a public gallery with vast, varied collection of noted Australian and international art;
3. Shrine of Remembrance, a WWI memorial complex;
4. Museum Victoria, a modern building housing an institution founded in 1854 and containing regional history exhibits;
5. Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, an architecturally notable building;
6. Immigration Museum, showcasing Australia’s history of immigration; and
7. the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, celebrating film, television, and gaming.

Federation Square
There are streets and squares where I know I could lose myself in the afternoons-- like Federation Square, a contemporary block-size plaza with abstract-style buildings, and Hosier Lane, the famous street of murals and other street art. In the same vein, I could easily spend Saturdays and Sundays shopping at Chapel Street,  Queen Victoria Market that spans two city blocks, Brunswick Street, known for cafés, live music venues and alternative fashion stores, and Collins Street, Australia's premier street, known for its grand Victorian architecture and prestigious boutiques. Incidentally, that’s where April’s office is!

Luna Park
I would take Kyrie to Luna Park, an enduring amusement park (1912) known for its perimeter roller coaster and giant ornate carousel, and Funfields Park, water, and amusement park. Since he would also need lots of green spaces to roam and breathe clean fresh air, I will take him to the Royal Botanic Gardens and Kings Domain that surrounds the Government House Reserve, home of the Governors of Victoria.

One park that piques my interest is Wattle Park: the home of 12,000 wattle trees, endemic to southeastern Australia. The tree blooms YELLOW flowers in late winter and early spring! And, those who know me well may wonder why, as obsessed with tennis as I am, I am not mentioning Melbourne Park, home of the Australian Open. I will see this with Bill, like the time we visited Wimbledon in London.

blooming wattle trees
Certainly, the next four months will be exciting. But at the tail end of Grandma’s tour of duty, I will make a short hop to the Philippines to close all my businesses there since I will no longer have anyone who can take care of them. Then I pass by Guangzhou for a day’s trip and, after a day’s layover in LA,  I return to Phoenix just in time for Bill’s 55th high school reunion in Kansas at the end of September. Then I finally get to enjoy our brand new home for two months (I only had a month before the Australian trip) before we spend three Christmas weeks in Cozumel, Mexico.

Melbourne Park
As you can see, my travel life will still sizzle this year about all of which I will write, Stay tuned.