Here and there in Melbourne
Melbourne Travel Blog› entry 28 of 34 › view all entries
Today, I needed to be off on my own a bit. Kitty and Jeff were headed to some historic sites but I was in the mood for art. Our hosts had recommended a few places, so we all rode downtown together, planning to head our separate ways.
First, however, we wanted to find the massage school we'd heard about the night before. I had a general idea of where it was and, hey, how big can that neighborhood be?
Don't you just love stories that begin that way? What follows is almost always an adventure of being lost and found. This one however....it turns out it really wasn't that daunting a neighborhood and we found the school pretty quickly! (Sorry to disappoint.) The school itself, however, was a bit confusing.
The TAIFE system is a post-high school trade educational system.
We returned to the central train station and parted ways. I hopped the tram to the NGV International, the National Gallery of Victoria that hosts international art (there's another one that focuses on Australian art). It was perfectly fine but it turns out I wasn't really in the mood for international art. Bottom line is that I can see all of this that I want back home in DC (ummm, not that I take advantage of that very often but I could!). They had some cool stuff, especially an exhibit of pics from space, but I just wasn't in the mood.
Oh well, sometimes you just gotta try. I did sit in a cafe and write for a while, which is always a good time for me. I also tracked down the amazing bakery we'd been to on Sunday, since I was supposed to meet Jeff and Kitty there later. It allowed me to walk around downtown (in the intermittent rain) on my own and just enjoy the sidewalk life.
I checked the guidebook and realized that the state library was nearby and supposed to be quite an impressive building. I'm always up for a good library!
As soon as I got in, I discovered a special exhibit on Australian literature. It was an education for me. Some Australian writers I knew, many I didn't. One display was actually about the Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the typewriter used to write the very first LP guide (Asia on a Shoestring, in the 70s).
The library also has a beautiful reading room with a gorgeous huge dome. That's usually the big draw for tourists. I also loved that they had a gift shop! :)
I met Kitty and Jeff at the greek bakery and indulged in a macadamia torte that was, honestly, too much for me (but I ate it anyways). We wandered around for a while till it was time for our reservation at dinner.
Melbourne is a foodie town and we wanted one good big meal and had opted for Italian. It was down one of Melbournes little "half block" alleyways. The alley also included a couple of clothing stores and a bar or two, which poured stylishly dressed people into the street. Turns out it was the beginning of Melbourne Fashion Week, so this was a live sighting of fashionistas! We resisted the urge to take pictures of them.
The dinner was, as expected, lovely and we lingered. The great thing about restaurants, coffee shops, sandwich shops, etc. is:
- The taxes are included in the listed price.
- No tipping.
This means that the price on the menu is exactly what you will owe. So if the entree says $30, it's not $39 ($30 + tax + tip). It's $30.
It also means that the waitstaff aren't anxious to turn over their tables the same way they are in the U.S. It makes little difference to them since they aren't counting on tips. It means it's easier to have a leisurely dining experience, which we appreciated a lot. I wish it was like that in the US.
We burped our way home.