After last night's gourmet meal at Cento Venti we decided that today would be our day to sleep late. We slept past 9 am for the first time on this trip and didn't even leave the hotel room until almost noon. When we did leave we headed over to Fast Eddy's for some lunch. Fast Eddy's is an Aussie/American restaurant that specializes in hamburgers, milk shakes, and hot fudge sundaes. This is no gourmet restaurant, but the food is good, cheap, and the portions are extremely large. We ended up eating here three times in our two days in Melbourne and we were never disappointed. One thing to keep in mind when you order a chocolate milk shake in Australia. Make sure you order it American style which is the equivalent of our Chocolate Malt. If you just ask for a milk shake you'll get the Australian version which is similar to chocolate milk. We found out the hard way.
After Fast Eddy's we decided to take a tram or streetcar ride around the city. Melbourne has one of the world's largest network of trams with 227 miles of track in the inner city and suburbs. While other cities were scrapping their trams (streetcars or trolleys) and replacing them with buses, Melbourne not only stuck to its trams but updated them with newer models. As a result it now boasts a tram network with much greater carrying capacity than equivalent numbers of buses. In addition the trams don't pollute the air, run on electricity, and generally give more comfortable rides. The trams are a great value as you can buy a zone 1 daily pass that will take you anywhere within the urban core of Melbourne for $4.10. One of Melbourne's trams has even been converted into a rolling restaurant. The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant has been fitted with stabilizers so effective that they claim your wine glass will not even tremble as you glide along. The interior looks like a dining car on the Orient Express and you partake of very expensive French cuisine as you roll through the streets of Melbourne.
Our first stop on the tram was St. Kilda, a seaside suburb four miles south of the city center. St. Kilda overlooks Port Phillip Bay and is the most popular beach area in Melbourne. There's an amusement park (Luna Park), plenty of restaurants, and a great view of the bay from the pier. While we were there a number of racing yachts were out on the bay and it was a beautiful sight. St. Kilda itself was something of a disappointment, as it resembled a seedy seaside resort town in many ways. After walking the pier we hopped another tram and headed over to the Victoria Arts Centre. The Victoria Arts Centre is composed of the Melbourne Concert Hall, Arts Complex, Performing Arts Museum, and the National Gallery. The center is one of the finest cultural centers in the world, as it is home to the Australian Ballet, Victorian Opera, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and many other performing arts groups. One-hour tours of the complex leave at noon and 2:30 pm every day except Saturday from the street level of the Melbourne Concert Hall.
On the way back to the
hotel we crossed over the Princes Bridge and got our first view of the Yarra River. It
pales in comparison to Sydney Harbour, but it has its own charm. It sort of reminded me of
the River Charles in Boston. We'll be leaving Melbourne tomorrow and I have to admit we're
anxious to get on our way. Melbourne has been a disappointment after being dazzled by
Sydney. We'll be renting a car and driving from Melbourne to Adelaide via the Great Ocean
Road over the next four days and the scenery along the way is supposed to be spectacular.
See ya' tomorrow!
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