Travel Journal

More of Melbourne...

(Thursday 29 October 2009) by Al/Alvin "Poison" Challis
19th October: Today was the first day in which I got and explored Melbourne by myself. The sun was shining, the locals were happy and looking cool and i felt the same.

I stopped at a place called Big Mouth in St. Kilda in order to get a coffee before hopping on the tram, and it was arguably the best coffee that i have had in Australia so far. Consuming my caffeine hit on the run i jumped on the tram and headed for the Immigration museum. I reluctantly paid my 8$ entry fee hoping that that i would get a decent museum in return.

To be honest i was a little disappointed at the end of it as the museum seemed to tell the same story multiple times in that people come to Australia for reasons X,Y and Z, but it did not have enough stuff there to be inspired by what actually happened and what the immigration policy or policies have impacted on the country. In a nutshell i thought that there was too much visual style and not enough substance.

Hoping that i would find some inspiration in taking a walk, i decided to head to Fitzroy Gardens to take a look at Captain Cook's cottage. I am a big fan of Captain Cook and would class him probably as one of my heroes in what he had done over the course of his life. How many can say that they during the course of 10 years discovered and covered a third of the World's surface? Absolutely incredible.

Anyways enough of the history lesson... back to the cottage. Upon first seeing it, I was hugely skeptical as to whether Cookie had actually lived in the cottage at all and whether it was just one big ploy to to get the grockles in like myself to spend money on something which has no link whatsoever to the man. In any event, due to my feelings about Cookie, i had to come here. The cottage was cool though in spite of my skepticism of it authenticity and i wrote a postcard to my Mum and Dad explaining this also. Whether the postcard get there is another story altogether.

I left Fitzroy Gardens and headed north and ended up on Brunswick Street again as per the previous Saturday and decided that more caffeine and a piece of cake was a plan. I cosied into one of the many coffee shops on the main strip and indulged. I headed back to the CBD on the tram and stopped to take another walk around a few streets before heading for home. However, this was not before getting stopped in the street and being asked straight off the bat, "Excuse me but are you German?" I thought for a second that i could say yes and have a little bit of fun but decided against it for fear of looking a plum so opted for the sensible answer of no. I asked this particular female why she thought this. She said that it was because i had a german rucksack on (Jansport apparently is a German make of rucksack). This to me did not make any sense at all (if it does to anybody else please let me know) and surely did not have any bearing on what my nationality was whatsoever in these times of Globalisation and international trade. I quickly put the girl straight that i was from the UK, but after leaving her i just thought waht a ridiculously stupid thing to say. I thought it was the equivalent of asking someone with a swastika tattoo whether they were a communist. What a moron. As my family elders say: "Al, there is one born every minute son" and on this evidence they were absolutely right.

I headed back to St. Kilda and was treated to a cracking dinner of tacos and stuffed fried chillies by Martin and Melissa. The food was amazing and something that i could have paid for in a restaurant. A real treat. We chilled and then promptly hit the sack reasonably early.

20th October: i did not initially have any plans for today and was going to play it by ear as to what i was going to do for the day. Martin had previously said the night before that he would me around where he worked at St. Kilda city hall and that Chapel street on the other side of St. Kilda would be a good place to go.

Where Martin worked was pretty cool and he showed me the art gallery there before showing me Chapel Street. I caught the tram further down the road to where more of the action was and took it from there. I really liked Chapel street. It was a cool, hip and happening street which although was not as cool as funky as Brunswick and St. Kilda it still had a lot to offer.

I stopped for a mid-afternoon coffee (which was beginning to feel like a bit a routine thing in Melbourne) at a place called Orange and rate it up there with the coffee that i had tried at Big Mouth the day before. This city was Coffee mad i had decided.

I headed back to the house via St. Kilda Botanical Gardens which were nice for a stroll. The weather at this time had started to cloud over after having been nice for most of the day. However, the temperature was still pretty warm.

Martin and I headed for a few beers at the Doulton before heading back to the house for tea. Martin excelled himself once again as a master chef in the making by cooking a great Thai green curry. Incredible. Another couple of beers were consumed before another day had passed.

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