I spent today in Melbourne; flying down on the 5am flight and back home on the 6pm flight. I had some free time between meetings so did some walking to enjoy the hot summer sun in the Victorian capital.
I started at The University of Melbourne’s. The Parkville campus is almost fairytale like, making me think of Hogwarts School of Wizardry of Harry Potter fame or The Unseen University of Disc World. I almost expected to see students in flowing capes and pointy hats walking around mumbling incomprehensible spells or seeing an orangutang in the library. But no, all I saw were regular students going about the business of cramming for their end-of-year exams. If my university campus had been like this, I would have been an on-campus student; but neither of the universities from which I gained my undergraduate degrees looked anything like this so I completed both my degrees by correspondence instead.
I had about an hour between appointments at lunch time so I spent some time exploring the streets near the university. I found some fantastic creative alleys. I doubt the graffiti is legal but I found some of it attractive and creative. I also saw someone’s crazy polka dot car, complete with smiley face bonnet.
Melbourne is bicycle heaven. There were bikes everywhere! Many were beaten up old mountain bikes that have seen better days but are clearly still in use. I enjoyed perving on the different bikes that were chained to racks all over the city. There were some funky old-school bikes with baskets and single speeds. There were also some amazing race machines that would feel so fast to ride. And some fascinating configurations, including some scarily streamlined handlebar set ups. It made me excited about getting back out on my bicycles in the coming weeks as my back heals.
Speaking of bikes: I want one of these really cool Chinese truck-bikes. I almost bought one when I was in China in 2009 but couldn’t work out where to buy one from or I’d have one in my garage.
While my lunch time walk focused on the area around the University, I wasn’t so limited in my walk between the end of my meetings and my flight home. Melbourne has some amazing architecture. There’s a stark contrast between old and new; with the best of both worlds being on display. Sure, it has some ugly and common buildings but you don’t have to look too hard to find some great buildings to admire.
But my favourite sight of my day out walking was The Little Library. This inner city shopfront is a place where people can swap or borrow books. It operates on an honesty system and hopefully survives for many years to come. It’s a beautiful gift to the people of Melbourne.
Total: About 8km walking.