First and foremost, we wish a Happy Mother’s Day this weekend to all our family and friends who are mothers!
This was a wonderful week spent in Melbourne. As a friend in Wellington had said, we too found Melbourne to be similar to the Wellington that we had so enjoyed, just on a larger scale. And, this was a wonderful week of catching up with friends. We began with a FaceTime chat with a couple of our travelmates from Africa who were visiting together in England. Then, I met up with another Bikram Yoga Teacher Training littermate at the studio where Loren and I were practicing daily, which is also her home studio. Then I had the opportunity to attend a voice workshop that was offered for Bikram Yoga teachers at this studio, a meaningful and memorable experience. And, we had the chance to introduce the husband of our friend to Bikram Yoga. I thoroughly enjoyed taking the class together, and think he might enjoy it enough too to take up the practice himself.
We also had lots of fun hanging out more with our dear friend and her family. One day we visited the National Gallery of Victoria, then rode the elevator to the top of the Sofitel Hotel to see the city view from the restroom windows! Later that evening, Loren and I walked around Federation Square, where we learned that Australia’s six states were relatively recently joined as one nation in 1901. We also discovered how Melbourne’s skyline is attractive, both during the day and at night.
Another highlight this week was in attending an Australian Football League – a footy or Aussie Rules game, seeing the St Kilda Saints play Melbourne. This is quite the game, where 18 members of each team are on the enormous oval field at the same time, with unique rules of passing, bouncing and kicking the rugby ball. Then three of the nine refs who are on the field are in close to the skirmish, and the four on the sidelines often run, seriously they run backwards. The Saints wore uniforms of red, white and black, while the Demons wore red and blue. It was easy to identify their loyal fans who likewise dressed in those colors. What made it extra fun was choosing a team to root for, two of us chose the Saints, two the Demons, though we all cheered for good plays. The Demons won, maintaining a broad lead established by the half of 26 to 54, to finish at 67 to 106.
On our last day of sightseeing in the Central Business District with our friend, we visited the State Library. Here we saw an interesting exhibition about books, as well as an 1860’s stained glass window featuring William Shakespeare and the words: ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE, referring to the speech from As You Like It about the seven acts of life.
Then we visited the Central Shopping Centre, to see an historic putt shot factory that is protected within a modern conical glass ceiling overhead. We visited the Shot Tower museum that described the fascinating process of how heated lead was dripped the length of the tower into a water trough to create the bullets. At the Centre too, we saw the enormous clock that musically marks the hour with Waltzing Mathilda – Australia’s unofficial anthem, played by twirling figures from a drop down platform that appears below the clock face.
Later, Loren and I went to see more of the Victoria Botanic Gardens, after first paying our respects at the War Memorial.
In all we had a wonderful visit in the Fitzroy and Fitzroy North suburbs of Melbourne, and spending memorable times with very special friends.
Now we are visiting another Australian friend! We met this woman a year and a half ago in Montenegro. She had invited us to visit her where she lives in a beachside suburb of Melbourne. Sadly we are here in late fall, because she had also suggested that if it were summer, autumn, or spring, we could go bike riding along the bay – Port Phillip Bay. What we did instead was take a bush walk in the Dandenong Ranges, hoping to see a lyrebird. We think we heard a couple of them but never saw one. And it turned out to be the coldest day in 40 years on this date in May, but the predicted rain did not materialize. It waited until last night and today, so we are simply hibernating through an entire day of a gale and wind warnings report.
I must finish with the Susan Sontag quote that I came across this week, because it so beautifully describes how I feel about Loren’s and my incredible Journey:
I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.