Carolina: Cruising Past 70: My First Real Outings, an Initial Taste of Melbourne

Friday, June 2, 2017

My First Real Outings, an Initial Taste of Melbourne

Yarra River Cruise
Kyrie at the parks
After that horrific 38-hour flight, here are my first outings!

For us travelers, it’s a rare opportunity to stay in a locale for four months. When we were RVing across North America, Bill and I stayed at most three weeks at a campground. It was the maximum time allowed by Thousand Trails, the national network we joined.  For travels outside the continent, when we use our Timeshare memberships, we stay for two to four weeks.

Last year I was in Calgary babysitting my grandsons for three and a half months and left no stone unturned in the Canadian Rockies. This year, my main mission in Melbourne is also to babysit. So my first outings were to bring Kyrie, my youngest Apo (grandson), to parks around the neighborhood and to the doctor when he had an unfortunate bout of constipation.

South Melbourne Market
South Melbourne Market

But I have also had some time to taste life in Melbourne and test the ranking that the city enjoys, “the most livable city in the world” for six years in a row. My first real outing was to the South Melbourne Market.  Bill and I cannot forget Granville Market in Vancouver, British Columbia,  Reading Terminal Market in Philly, Pennsylvania, and the Quincy Market in Boston, Massachusetts.  Imagine my delight at finding out there was the same kind of market just about a ten-minute walk from my daughter’s apartment!

doughnuts, paella, oysters, savory muffin
The market has sections for dry and wet goods. I was more interested in the latter with parts for produce, dairy, bakery, fresh meats, and even seafood. There was even an Asian grocer where we finished off our shopping list. But the highlight of our visit was the Food Hall where we sampled different cheeses.  This Hall would delight me no end and I could not help but go at least once a week.

During my first try, I had a cream and spinach Borek from a Meditteranean Kiosk which I followed with an ultra-moist blueberry banana bread. April joined me with her stash of six fresh raw oysters while Clint took to coffee and Hot Jam doughnuts. During my second visit, Clint and I had plates of the “World’s Best Paella Outside of Spain” at the Simply Spanish kiosk and shared them with Kyrie who absolutely loved it.  My third visit was to meet with Suzette (a schoolmate in high school of my daughter Claudine and her husband JB. That time, I had a taste of savory muffins! Food should be one of the reasons for Melbourne's most coveted ranking!

The Yarra River Lunch Cruise
Melbourne skylines

bridges that cross Yarra
My daughters always gift me with an experience for important occasions like my birthday, Christmas or Mother’s Day. One year it was a Bahamas cruise, another it was a stay at a Banff mountain chalet. They know that I am a traveler at heart and, instead of material things, they give me experiential outings. Last month, they reserved a seat for me at the Melbourne Mother’s Day River Cruise. April and her brood accompanied me on the two and a half hour trip up and down the Yarra River.

It is a river that cuts the city of Melbourne into two.  The city's beginnings were first established in 1835 on its lower parts. The river flows 150 miles west through the Yarra Valley, originating from the Yarra Ranges, opening out into the plains, winding its way through the city, and finally emptying into Hobsons Bay in the northernmost section of Port Phillip. 

scenes around Yarra
The city skyline extends on the river banks, nineteen artsy bridges and walkways cross the river, and high and low-rise condos with water toys for the wealthy boys dot the river edges. On the trip, we reached Port Philip and the Docklands where we saw old storage warehouses, old ships being restored, and the old pier still lending a historic touch. Where we boarded and disembarked, black swans were playing on the water!

The cruise lunch started with three types of dips for a basket of artisan bread slices. The entrees consisted of steak, potato scallops, and veggies for April and Clint and baked chicken, prawns, mashed potatoes, and veggies for me. A plate of mini cupcakes satisfied our sweet tooth. Throughout the entire cruise, unlimited glasses of red and white wine were served. The price of A$95 pp was so worth it, we thought!

scenes around the Southbank Promenade
The South Bank Promenade

 We were so satisfied that, even if we took the famous Melbourne trams to the central business district, we went home just slowly strolling down the South Bank Promenade. Soon after disembarking, we chanced upon a comedy skit eagerly watched by a lively crowd. Later, we came upon some fifty cheongsam-clad (mostly in red) Chinese ladies in an afternoon dance or pantomime number. It took us about twenty minutes to get home. It would be easy to explore Melbourne’s central business district, especially with the city's vaunted tram system, another reason for its title!

Chinatown, South Bank sculpture, Flinders Station and Seafarer's Bridge
As a matter of fact, after the South Melbourne Market snacks with Suzette and JB, they took me in their car to the City Centre again. I had a chance to walk on the South Wharf leading to the South Bank. This time I also got the chance to see Melbourne’s iconic Flinders Station (unfortunately, it was under renovation) and got all my maps and info at the Melbourne Visitor Information Center right in front of it. Then they took me to Samsam at the busy row of Asian restaurants near Chinatown for great but inexpensive Korean food.

I had planned on going to so many of Melbourne’s landmarks even without Bill. But, with temperatures hovering around the mid-50s, partly cloudy, sometimes with showers, and with more than ten miles per hour winds sometimes, I preferred to curl up with Kyrie or the comforter. Besides, he said to wait for him for a lot of them. So I will try to limit my outings and, in the meantime, savor my downtime after that horrific 38-hour flight and enjoy hyperactive Kyrie and his imagination.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave a Comment