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Showing posts from 2022

Not so Smart

After spending the night on the apartment couch, while B and Alex had the queen bed, it is time to leave Canberra and begin our journey home. So as not to entirely waste a visit to the city, we first make a stop at the National Gallery of Australia.  Alex wanted to revisit the War Memorial, but due to a spectacularly senseless reconstruction it is even more restricted than before. Unfortunately, at the brutalist concrete gallery there are no tickets to the Jeffrey Smart exhibition until too late in the afternoon. At this point Alex let's us know that he is currently studying Smart's art at school, which just frustrates us further. Nonetheless, we decide to have a wander at the rest of the free exhibitions at the gallery. I love a good art gallery. There are few places more relaxing and yet stimulating as a gallery. The selection is very different to our last visit and I feel like I have changed too. The staid old classic styles no longer hold my interest as much as

A wet drive to Canberra

We sadly say farewell to our room at the Pan Pacific and its wonderful view and drag our luggage to the car. I miss the entrance to the freeway on my first attempt, but after chucking a "u-ey" the escape from Melbourne proceeds relatively smoothly. It's raining fairly heavily once we are on the highway and the conditions require a lot of focus. At one point we see a Volkswagen SUV with police and other services in attendance. It has smashed into something on the median. Earlier, a car towing a caravan could be seen billowing smoke with the fire brigade helping a long delays for commuters heading south. I am not game to pull over into a service centre to grab breakfast, not in that rain, then need to deal with the same traffic again. Fortunately the rain abates as we approach Albury and the New South Wales border. We park near Myer in Albury and discover that Miss Amelie's deserves the awards for their pies when we take lunch there. Plus one last jelly slic

Sarawak laksa and bak kut teh

Travel is a series of quests for us. They give it structure and purpose even if the quests themselves are no more than a MacGuffin. The theme running through our Melbourne trip has been Malaysian food and, on our final day, I wanted to ensure we tried some more interesting dishes. For me it was Sarawak laksa. Then B asked about bak kut teh. Google seemed to know what we were thinking for it quickly autocompleted "best bak kut teh in Melbourne" and provided an answer: Bak Kut Teh King in Box Hill. Box Hill has the advantage of being accessible via public transport. We are sick of walking and a rail ride into the suburbs is just what we need. We catch a tram from the casino up the Stop 58: Box Hill Interchange. It's quite an interesting ride, out of the CBD past a fire station I suddenly recalled visiting on a school excursion, though multicultural Richmond and into wealthy old Kew. The ride takes an hour.  Box Hill is a very Asian area with lots of

Melbourne Zoo

I remember a number of outings to Melbourne Zoo as a child. I daresay a lot has changed since then. The zoo train sadly went during my childhood and today even the hints of tracks have disappeared. However, you can still catch a train to the zoo. After a breakfast at the outlet centre above Southern Cross Station (known as Spencer Street when I was a kid) we went to catch a train. Unfortunately, the Myki stored on my phone has expired in the two and a bit years since it's last use. Very annoying! I have to get a new one. The Upfield train is an a refurbished Comeng. I did an assignment on them in grade 3. The short train ride to Royal Park at the rear entrance of the zoo brings back a few other memories. I could have ridden it further! Despite having visited both the Canberra and Adelaide Zoos this year, the Melbourne Zoo manages to impress. It's not just the range of animal species, but the beautiful surrounds and enclosures. We especially e

Puff Piece

Melbourne is supposed to be a foodies' paradise, but what would be open on Good Friday? We walk along the south bank of the Yarra from our hotel until the Princes Bridge. Past the casino and the celebrity chef restaurants that exist outside our price range. Crossing the Yarra, we head to Federation Square where the Moon exhibition is on display in the Atrium. By exhibition, I mean an inflated realistic Moon suspended from the ceiling with some electronic soundtrack. We cross the road near the remarkable Forum and walk down graffited Hosier Lane with all the other tourists taking selfies with the art. Back down to Swanston Street where the other two buy sushi from a chain store for their brunch. I save my stomach for later. The chain stores disappear to be reached by interesting Asian eateries. We turn left at Little Lonsdale Street and keep walking until we reach where I was looking for: Puff House, hidden next to an Asian grocery. Oh, the light

City views

I gripped the steering wheel tightly and swore. "I told you I didn't want to drive in the city, but you guys insisted!" I've just missed the turn to the hotel, after previously being stuck on parts of the motorway that the November 2021 GPS update doesn't know and now I have to go on a long detour through the centre of Melbourne. I knew my city navigation luck would run out and I knew it would be on this trip. Now I'm fuming. Already I miss the quiet and simplicity of the beach towns. No pressure, no crowds, no rush. We packed up this morning shortly before checkout time and drove up to the bluff. Fortunately the walking trail was open today. We watch the waves roll in, razor edges exploding with spray and white foam, stirring the sands below as surfers ride their crests. The crashing of the waves is white noise against the breath of the air.  I feel like I could watch this for eternity, but we have to go.  We set off to Gee