|Downtown Melbourne across the Yarra River|
|Old and new buildings are joined by the arched bridge in Melbourne|
For 45 minutes we rode in a boat on the Yarra River, which goes through city. Although we headed away from downtown, we had good views of the skyline with its modern office buildings and ancient cathedrals. Many people were using the river area on this glorious day for jogging, skulling, sunning, or strolling. While enjoying the scenery, we sampled tea and cookies provided by our cruise.
|Colorful sculptures add a bit of whimsy|
to the art scene in Melbourne
After the river cruise, we boarded a bus and drove through the business district on wide, tree-lined streets that engineer Robert Huddle designed with foresight many years ago. Collins Street, a main thoroughfare, is an influential part of the city filled with government offices, high-end shops, and townhouses owned by very wealthy residents. In the legal district barristers still wear traditional robes and wigs as they walk down the street to their offices. We also traveled through the precinct with art, music, ballet, broadcasting, and photography located in one area.
|Capt. Cook's cottage at Fitzroy Gardens|
|Growing conditions for plants are controlled in|
The best part was strolling through the park and its exquisite gardens. Large expanses of foliage and flowering plants, including hedges of giant hydrangeas and many enormous, majestic trees, just begged us spend the day there with a picnic and a good book. But we only had about 45 minutes to wander, which was barely enough to scratch the surface. A fairy tree, several fountains, conservatory with indoor plants, and elm trees planted in the shape of Union Jack (as seen from the air) were some of the main attractions.
|Rainbow-hued hydrangeas were stunning.|
|Spring flowers bloomed|
throughtout the gardens.
Unlike other Australian cities, Melbourne wasn’t settled as a convict colony. When Tasmanian John Batman travelled up the river in 1835, he knew he had found the perfect place for a city. The first European colony, Melbourne was established as a “free colony.”The city was Australia’s first capital after the Federation in 1901 and until 1927 when Canberra became the capital. More than three million people live in Melbourne, and it is home to almost 70 percent of the state’s population. It has the largest Greek community in the world outside of Greece, as well as many other ethnic communities.
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier
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