Shrine of Remembrance.
This morning Miller went off and explored some of Melbourneâ€™s skyscrapers,
so Sheldon and I set about on our own walking tour of this wonderful city. We rode the train into town then walked along
the beautiful Yarra
River toward the Royal
Botanic Gardens. Melbourne is best seen on foot, and the river
walk provides some terrific vistas of the city.
We were able to walk past the Cricket Grounds, which, in 1956, were home
to the Summer Olympics. Just a couple of
months ago, the city celebrated the golden anniversary of those Olympics by
hosting the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
The Royal Botanic Gardens literature claims it is the finest
such display in Australia
and one of the finest in the world.
This is what the penguins would have looked like if they let us take pictures.
After walking through but a small portion of it, I would tend to
The Gardens started in the late
1800s before Australia
was even a single country.
As with any
good botanical exhibit, species from all around the world are present.
We viewed flowers, shrubs, trees, and other
plants from all the continents.
magic of this garden came from its sheer size and from the amazing maintenance
job by the staff.
The colors and the
varieties seemed infinite, and I only wish we had more time to exploreâ€¦ but to
give the Gardens its due, we would have needed to spend a half-day or more
Just beyond the main gate for the Gardens is the Shrine of
Remembrance for the State of Victoria.
Australians believe in honoring those who
served the country in her armed forces, and, in particular, those who made the
While the Shrine
pays homage to soldiers and sailors from all conflicts in which Australia has
participated, this magnificent structure specifically honors those from the
Great War (World War I) and then World War II.
In fact, the inscription for the Great War states the Victoria
erected this monument to honor
those who fought for â€śthe Empire.â€ť
in 1954, the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II came to Melbourne
to dedicate the eternal flame of
The Shrine is elevated on a hill and looking north from its
steps, one has an unimpeded view down a wide parade (which, in Australian,
seems to mean â€śboulevardâ€ť) toward the city.
Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne...they were huge. We have a ton of pictures we'll put up later.
The view is a magnificent one and would merit a visit to the hill just
However, a trip inside the
memorial is powerful.
A simple granite
slab sits in the middle.
Around the slab
are bouquets of flowers placed by people and organizations, and inscribed upon
the slab are the words, â€śGreater love hath no man,â€ť which, of course, is the
front end of one of the most powerful verses in the Bible.
After we paid our respects, we ventured back to the river, stopped
off in a hotel that reminded me of Vegas â€“ lots of lights, mesmerizing
fountains (both inside and outside the hotel), a glitzy casino, and a large
arcade of shops. We had a bite to eat
and then stopped by an internet lounge before we met Miller back at the motel.
For our afternoon and evening excursion, we drove about 150
kilometers to the southeast to a Phillip
Great shot of the city from down near the gardens and the 1956 olympic site.
The island is a bit difficult to describe; it
is part wildlife sanctuary and part beachcomberâ€™s paradise.
We specifically sojourned to the island to
watch the nightly Penguin Parade.
capitalize the event because it is proof positive that capitalism is alive and
well in Australia
The three of us lined up and gladly paid
about $12 to watch the worldâ€™s littlest penguins waddle ashore at sunset.
We werenâ€™t allowed to photograph the
experience, and we had to play by all their rules, but it was worth it.
Those little buggers are so cute!
The penguins are creatively called â€ślittle penguins,â€ť and
they are quite tiny. The tallest of them
measure but a foot in height. At sunset,
they swim out of the chilly waters of the Pacific Ocean
and gather at one specific beach on the island.
More from the garden.
Quite the social animal, the first three or four out of the sea wade
ashore and then wait for a whole gaggle of their penguin friends to join them
for the parade up to their nesting areas.
Sometimes the waves would come in hard and whisk the group back into the
And then sometimes one rogue
penguin would decide he wanted to swim some more and rush headlong back into
Undeterred, the penguins
would eventually reconnoiter and return to the beach.
After a few minutes of this cycle, the leader
of the pack would waddle off at high speed and the others would follow, often
single file, behind him, up the beach, and into the grassy nesting areasâ€¦
literally, a parade of penguins.
We sat in the brisk, damp, and downright chilly air to watch
the penguins come ashore and then to follow them up into the hills to their
Sheldon at the Shrine of Remembrance.
The birds are
amazing critters, shuffling and wobbling and squawking their way up the
Then, in the paths beyond the
beach, they would trail off to their homes, often in groups.
But, just like a freeway, when one of them
arrived at his or her home, it would simply take the exit ramp and pull into
Shortly thereafter you
would hear loud noises that resembled the Three Stooges.
Last night, around 700 penguins came ashore,
but in the season when young birds are born, that number can increase to
Iâ€™m only disappointed that we
could not take pictures of these little birds, but the experience was well
worth the time.
One more day in Australiaâ€¦