Monday, July 18, 2011

Bye bye Melbourne, Hello Sydney

We flew into Sydney this afternoon. Here it is balmy with sunny skies, feels like summer after Ballarat. Our new hotel is Morgans Boutique Hotel in Darlinghurst, a snazzy neighborhood with everything a "foodie" could dream of just outside our door. A huge collection of casual ethnic restaurants, upscale grocery stores, a gelato shop, wine shop, great bakeries, and so much more. Better yet, we have a kitchenette in our hotel, so we can make some of our own meals, a welcome change from all the eating out. There is a supermarket about a block away, and the equivalent of a fancy Shoppers Corner on the next block down.

Yesterday we had a quiet last day in Melbourne. We made our way into a suburb to have lunch at the home of Gail, someone D. Met in Korea last year at the Papermakers convention she went to.

After lunch Gail took us to the Heide Museum built on the estate of a family who were artists and art collectors. There is a large sculpture garden and several exhibits there. It was a grey and drizzly last day, and the exhibits were also pretty dull.

We decided to go out for one last good celebration in Melbourne, at the Oriental Spoon again where we ate Kim Chee Chegai, and Bi Bim Bap. Yum!

It was sad to leave dear Melbourne behind. We have now had four separate stays at the Hotel Victoria since we came here, and thoroughly scoured the surrounding neighborhoods on our daily walks. It is an alluring and enticing city, so richly textured and colorful and comfortable and full of sweet surprises. Perhaps Sydney will get that way for us at some point, but today it feels as if we have left behind a dear old friend.

We have learned a lot about the huge role of sports in Australian culture. Football, or "footie" is a mad passion here. Every district has it's own team, particularly in Melbourne, and people swarm the matches in droves. The players wear shorts and jerseys, no helmets, no padding, and they play rough. It is quite amazing to watch it on tv. Another thing we learned is that Australia has a national holiday every year for the Melbourne Cup horse race. The whole country comes to a halt for the race, and, we were told, even the Aussie soldiers in Afghanistan stop shooting for four minutes while the race is happening!

Tomorrow we will go out exploring this new city. In the afternoon we set up for the next workshop. And it will be Thai food for dinner!! G'night, mates.

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Location:Sydney, AU

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