Melbourne, the city I adore. With its multiculturalism, fantastic museums, passion for all things art and sport and its thousands of restaurants and cafes Melbourne is often referred to as the cultural heart of Australia.
Downtown Melbourne is surrounded by parkland that is a wonderful gift to its people. When I worked in the city I often took the time to sit under a leafy tree in the botanic gardens to eat my lunch, absorb the natural beauty and clear my mind.
There are numerous heritage buildings in the city that I enjoy visiting. I often wander around the Paris End of Collins Street within close proximity of the Old Treasury Building, where its not unusual to see wedding parties being photographed. Eating in Melbourne is a true adventure. I have never found another city with a better choice of restaurants than Melbourne. From street food to fine dining there is an enormous choice. On this trip I took a local tram from the city to Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, a funky little inner city suburb filled with great casual cafes and restaurants and an eclectic mix of shops to browse and there enjoyed a long Aussie lunch with a dear friend.
Recently I was fortunate to spend a few days in Sydney and experience some of the activities our vacationers frequently enjoy. I had the thrill of climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge. I am delighted to tell you that the preparation and professionalism of the staff at the Bridge Climb (not to mention the cable that firmly attaches you to the Bridge the entire length of the climb) helped me overcome my fear of heights that I was able to enjoy the breathtaking view without fear or trepidation.
I also had a great trip to the Blue Mountains just 2 hours west of Sydney. When our guide served delicious homemade lamingtons (a traditional cake that is made of a plain sponge cake, dipped in chocolate sauce and then rolled in desiccated coconut) memories of my Aussie childhood flooded back. As we drove along the winding Cliff Drive I felt humbled and in awe of the beauty of the spectacular canyons of this world heritage listed site.
It is wonderful for me to experience and explore Australia from the viewpoint of a traveler. I cannot impart the depth of my love for Australia. The dramatic images of this country are really only half the story; it is the friendliness of the people that really stays with me.