Saturday, April 27, 2013

More of Melbourne: Flinders Street Station, Victoria Barracks, Queen Victoria Market

This is a continuation of my recent posts about my trip to Australia. I took these photos on Tuesday, April 23, when I was out and about in Melbourne with my friend Alison. This yellow and red building is Flinders Street Station, a stop for trains in the main downtown part of Melbourne. It is beautiful, no?

It stands at the corner of Flinders and Swanston Street. The main building was completed in 1909. It was the first railway station in an Australian city. The wide arching entrance is an iconic symbol of Melbourne, and the line of clocks, all showing departure times of the next trains, date to the 1860s.

This bike, with its moving advertisement, was parked out front:

These next two photos show a view kitty-corner from the station: the spires of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the next block up:

St. Paul’s is an Anglican cathedral built between 1990 and 1891, and designed by English architect William Butterfield. Right now, I am kicking myself for not taking the time to go inside, because the photos on the internet look amazing. The photo below is a great illustration of the wonderfully eclectic mix of old and new that is Melbourne:

I took this shot from inside Flinders Street Station, which has a lovely art nouveau window and gorgeous ceiling. Commuting through this entryway would be a joy, wouldn’t it?

Here is a shot showing the scale of the station, which takes up several city blocks!

Alison stands in front of Pie Face, a chain of stores that sell small pies (mostly meat pies, I think). I love their logo and storefront!

Here is Alison with a soldier selling souvenirs for Anzac Day; profits support programs for veterans. Anzac Day – an acronym for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps – is a national day for remembering the Australians and New Zealanders who “served and died in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations,” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served.” Similar to our Memorial Day. It is always held on April 25. I bought a souvenir and told the soldier that I appreciated his country’s standing with my country in so many conflicts and peacekeeping missions. 

Alison and I got off our tram to take a closer look at this complex: the Victoria Barracks. At once point, I approached the gate to take a closer look at the stonework and was told (politely but very firmly) by a security officer that I could only take photos from the sidewalk. I apologized and complied quickly; I didn’t want to start an international incident!

Two huge cedar trees guard the entrance. Part of the building was covered with a vine that had turned brilliant red in the cool autumn weather:

Queen Victoria Market was the next stop. Don’t you love the fact that there are live animals and dead ones (skulls) on the facade?

It is an indoor/outdoor marketplace that sells fresh fish, meat, poultry, cheese and dairy products, fruits and vegetables, and souvenirs. Here is just a tiny bit of what I saw:

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have bemoaned the fact that the U.S. did not convert to the metric system (as we were promised in second grade when we studied it). A kg (kilogram) is about 2.2 pounds. All this switching back and forth when you are out of the U.S. is for the birds. The coral trout above is $28.50 a kilogram (in Australian dollars, which are pretty close right now to U.S. dollars), or about $13 a pound. I found most food to be more expensive in Melbourne than in Charlotte. The prices for food, goods, and housing are more in line with major American cities like New York City or Los Angeles.

The front of a sausage and cheese shop:

Kangaroo sausages:

Love the name of this cheese shop: The Dainty/Curds & Whey, Cheddar Specialists.

The outdoor produce market:

 Large persimmons:

I had never seen feijoa – a tropical fruit – before. (I think the sign has them misspelled.) They are also known as Pineapple Guava or Guavasteen, and come from an evergreen shrub/tree and are grown in parts of South America, as well as Azerbaijan, Georgia, and New Zealand. The fruit is about the size of an egg. 

Look at all the beautiful teapots, creamers and sugar jars in this window. Swoon!

From Victoria Market, I walked back to my hotel. It was a hike, but I enjoyed my last look at the city before heading home on Wednesday. The green trolley in this photo is a free tourist shuttle around the city, and reminded me very much of the trolleys in Pittsburgh, PA, where I grew up (made famous by the trolley on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood children's TV show).

This tree in the park near the Royal Exhibition Building was one of my favorites. It looks like two trees that have grown together, and are locked in a fond embrace:

My next post will include more bits and pieces from my trip.