During my working holiday year in Australia in 2001 I spent about a third of that time in Melbourne living in St Kilda so I was looking forward to taking a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Before that though I went with Ruth and the baby to Brighton beach and Ramsay Street and then found my bearings back in Melbourne city centre and did a bit of shopping before visiting the recently opened Eureka Tower and its 88th floor observation deck where i could see great views of Melbourne and the surrounding area.
There was even a cube which extracts itself from the building and hangs you over the edge and at that stage the glass is frosted before it suddenly clears and you’re left staring down nearly 300 metres to the ground. This would of course been more scary had my sister not told me of this the day before and for those of you who don’t want to know about it please look away, erm, a couple of lines back!!
After that I visited the ‘Neighbours‘ shop out of curiosity and wasted a bit more money in there before taking a quick peek at the Crown Casino and then it was off to Albert Park which plays host to the Australian F1 Grand Prix each March. Of course bugger all was happening there now but it was literally just a pit stop (pun intended) en-route to St Kilda to visit my old haunts. I saw the house and hostel where I stayed though the latter had closed down.
I also saw the iconic laughing face of Luna Park, a few cake shops and walked along the beach at sunset before necking a couple of quick beers in my old locals ‘The Espy’ and ‘The George’. Some people say that laughter is the medicine of life but not for an asthmatic like me who needs inhalers!! Unlike the UK and Japan, these are freely available over the counter in Australia so I stocked up on a few of them too.
On the way back to the city I stopped off at the Shrine of Rememberence which I also visited for a photo stop the following day in daylight after watching an Aussie Rules Football game at the MCG. The famous cricket ground was far from full for the clash between Hawthorn and Brisbane Lions but it was a good atmosphere for me to be able to savour and the third quarter was particularly exciting as the Hawthorn Hawks ripped through the Lions’ defence.
My final calls of duty were meeting up with cousin Dan and then going to ‘Hungry Jacks’ for a set meal which I couldn’t even manage to finish. Not used to that kind of generous portion I guess and it was also strange to be in a country where I understand everything being said around me. Not such a good thing to be honest and it shows how much I can shut myself off in public from the Japanese if I choose to do so.