Happy, active, interesting, fun, and very user-friendly, this is Melbourne. It’s our touch-down point for Australia and may, or may not, be representative.
But we have a very good feel about it. City planning can’t be an easy job, and has to be amazingly complex, but when it’s done right, the results are a joy to see.
Melbourne is a modern, cosmopolitan capital, but it’s roots go back to the early 19th century. Like San Francisco, it had a gold rush in the late 1800s that left behind a legacy of Victorian architecture, which today is sandwiched between sleek, glass high rises.
It’s obvious that City Government realizes quality of life for its residents is important. There are many areas of green space in the center, and mass transit is readily available. Their bike loan program (and loaner helmets from a vending machine) also provides an active alternative for transit. We’ve talked about the benefits of these programs before, and they always seem to be available in strong, forward-looking cities.
And Melbourne has a sense of fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously. This exterior of this new restaurant is entirely covered with clay pots full of real strawberries!
You can get just about anything you want at the open-air Queen Victoria Market – from keychains and T-shirts to boomerangs and aboriginal art. This man was demonstrating how to play a didgeridoo!
One of the fun things we enjoy about visiting other English-speaking countries is slang terms. As Americans our mother tongue is English, but after living in the UK for three years, we learned that to that “English” is a changeable term. And after only a couple of days here, we have re-confirmed that idea.
The best examples are the names given to food. In America we think our food names are really normal, until you remember we’ve got dishes like “Tater Tots”, “Hoagies” and “Hoppin’ John”! When we lived in London we learned new food terms like “Toad in the Hole” and “Spotted Dick” for some pretty tasty grub. Here in Australia the food fun continues. Thanks to Crocodile Dundee we all know about “throwing some shrimp on the barbie”, but Australia’s also got “Chico Rolls” (spring rolls) and “Surprise Bags” (sausages) …
… also known as “Snags” that you can grab at the “Snag Stand”.
For a treat you can have some Tim Tams (absolutely delicious cookies)!
And you’re also going to need an “Esky” (cooler) …
… for your tinny (can of beer)!
You may recognize this logo … think Whoppers. Well in Melbourne, Burger King is called Hungry Jack’s!
But here’s our all-time favorite fast-food-joint name … and the fries are to die for!
At the end of the day, travel is about experiencing other cultures – and we love what we’ve seen! Melbourne’s attitude, beauty, and food just won our hearts.
James & Terri