Australia: Melbourne (Day 2 in Country)
My day started with a wonderful breakfast with friends at Batch Espresso, just one of many cafes and restaurants on the trendy Carlisle St. that was a short walk from my hotel.
Well fed, I headed for Melbourne proper by tram, arbitrarily getting off at Flinders Street Station. (I would later learn that Melbourne has the world’s largest urban tram network.) I walked around for a while, found lunch in an alley chock full of dining options, explored the trains (I like trains), and, when it started raining, took an adorable old tourist tram around the city. From what I saw, Melbourne looked much like any other former British colony, but it was also uniquely Australian in a way that would take me a while to pin down.
At one point I got to thinking. I had group dinner plans in St. Kilda that evening. The penguins that I had yet to see were supposed to arrive at St. Kilda pier (also in St. Kilda) around dusk. Could I squeeze in another attempt to see them? Yes, but barely. I headed back out of town on a tram that would take me right to the pier.
I arrived before dusk. It was pretty cold — colder, I would later be told, than anyone ever remembered in June — but at least it wasn’t raining. So I walked out onto the pier. And there, in broad daylight, right before my eyes, waiting to welcome me to the Southern Hemisphere was a penguin!
I snapped a shot of the bird, then turned in the other direction, where I saw the Melbourne skyline put into almost surreal context by a neighboring marina.
I headed off to dinner content.