Melbourne was a short flight from Sydney. We had transportation to our hotel, and arrived early in the evening. Our hotel was quite nice and quiet, which was a change from Sydney’s noisy street. We walked to a restaurant called Rare Steakhouse, which I’d guess to serve steak. It was a very nice place, but service was a bit odd, especially given this was a moderate to expensive place. Our waiter was French, and didn’t speak great english. When I asked what vodka they had, it started a minor dust up from the waitstaff. First he looked confused, then he walked back to the bar, started looking around, then someone else came over, they talked a bit, and kept looking back at our table. When he came back without much of an answer, I just said “water, thanks”, which only caused him to look more confused, but then we were able to order. Eventually another woman came over and told us our waiter was new, and in training, and apologized for the trouble. When I asked her what vodka they had, she knew, and I ordered something on the rocks. She ended up being our waitress for the rest of the night, with the french guy bringing us the occasional water or bread.

The second day was the Great Ocean Road, which was fun, if a bit long.

The 24th was our full day in Melbourne. I’d found that my D700 had dirt on the sensor, and I was unable to clean it. The Internet directed me to two different stores for getting a professional to clean my sensor. The first was somewhat far away, and the woman answering the phone seemed less than friendly (and everyone in Oz is friendly.) The other choice was much closer – Michaels, so we walked over first thing. This was an awesome camera store. I’ve never been into either Adorama or B & H, but this was probably the best store I’ve been in. They had a wide range of cameras, a full service department, a ton of camera bags, a service department, and most surprisingly, a camera museum. The museum had a ton of old cameras, in an area probably as large as the shopping area of Glazers (THE Seattle camera store, which rocks in its own way). I wasn’t able to spend as much time there as I’d have liked, as Justine was close by, but also because I wanted a new bag. Photographers have as much problems with bags as women do with shoes. After leaving my D700 behind, we went to the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria.) It was downtown, along the Yarra River, close-ish to where we were staying. They had a great selection of contemporary Aboriginal art, which Justine appears to love.

Thursday, the 25th, we went to Melbourne Museum. It was relatively far from our hotel, but worthwhile. They also had a large collection of Aboriginal art, but it was more traditional. There was also a large section dedicated to Aboriginal history, which was remarkably in-depth. There were also exhibits about the settlement of Melbourne, which were very meh. Afterwards, we dodged the rain and found our way to the Queen Victoria Market, where we had lunch. We walked back to our hotel, where I napped, and Justine did laundry. In the early afternoon, I picked up my camera while Justine got her toenails painted. In the evening we met Louise Divett (Justine’s Cousin), who she hadn’t seen in 28 years, and Louise’s significant other Ben. She had been a Food and Beverage manager for Emirates Airlines for a time, and was stationed in Abu Dabi for most of it. She had great stories, and some not so great stories about trying to get an Australian visa for Ben (he’s French.) After they left the hotel bar, we walked down the street to a somewhat hidden restaurant, where we had a great dinner.

Friday we left mid-morning for the 4 hour flight to Perth.

The differences between Sydney and Melbourne were striking – the streets, the weather, the people, but I felt like we never discovered the real Melbourne. We had a nice time, but were also glad to be leaving. Justine had the worst allergies there and many people expressed that this was a particularly terrible year for pollen due to the high amounts of rain in the Melbourne area.

Lastly, this post is a bit boring, but the overall goal of this is to remember where were, and what we did, and ultimately it’s for an older Greg and Justine. Interesting is a side effect.