Friday, July 15, 2011

Gargoyles. Apostles. But No Kangaroos.

A friend of mine came to visit a few weeks ago.  She's a PoliSci professor and was doing some research in New Zealand and here in Australia.  She stayed with us for a few days in Sydney and then went on to Melbourne and Canberra. The Hubs was traveling, as usual, so I tagged along for the adventure.  

Melbourne is such a cool city.  It has a totally different vibe from Sydney. Like LA is to San Francisco as Sydney is to Melbourne.  That kind of different. It has a fantastic art and food scene. The architecture is so interesting--a ton of Gothic Revival and Art Deco style.  (My fav.) 

I was obsessed with the gargoyles, of course.

The streets are the broadest I've ever seen in a large, metropolitan city.  
Sometimes up to four lanes on either side, with wide medians where the trolleys run. 
Oh, and traffic turns right from from the far left lane. Because of the trolleys, we think.
(In the States, that would be like making a left turn from the far right lane. What the?)

We loved all the old homes that look like spooky haunted houses. So lacy and ornate!

The Great Ocean Road
Jessica had it on her list to drive out to see The Twelve Apostles, so she rented a sporty little 
Mini Cooper and we made the trek. (I was happy to join her, as that's been on my list, too.)
The Great Ocean Road is comparable to the Pacific Coast Highway. 
It's a 151-mile stretch of road along the southeastern coast.  
(The arctic winds were definitely not comparable to the Pacific breezes of the PCH.  Oh my brrrrr!) 

We pulled off at several lookout points to take in the view.  
Or at least what we could see of it through the mist.

We appreciated this reminder getting back on the road. Really. We did.

We saw many a "kangaroo crossing" sign...but never any actual kangaroos. We actually would have preferred to see many of the latter and none of the former. I mean, if we could've had our druthers.

The Twelve Apostles are a collection of limestone stacks just off the coast, about a four-hour drive outside of Melbourne.  There are actually only eight "apostles." 
There were nine until one collapsed. Never twelve.  So why the name? 
Apparently the rock formations were originally known as The Sow and Piglets.  But it was decided that something named after swine wasn't going to draw the tourists.  And so.

Apostles.... Piglets.... Whatever you call them, they sure are beautiful.

On to the capital city of Australia. Since Jess was doing research for her PoliSci-ness, 
Canberra was kind of an important stop.  When she wasn't in interviews, we poked around a few of the government buildings.

We toured the Parliament House.

The grass on that side slope goes all the way up onto the 
roof of the building.  The idea here is that the elected officials are not above the people, 
but rather beneath them.  Get it?

We visited the Old Parliament House. It was in use until 1988 and is now a museum 
where you can roam around freely.  Many of the rooms and offices are set up very much the way they would have looked when the representatives moved to the new building.  Retro office furniture, early desktop computers, rotary phones, the whole bit. Kind of fun.

We visited the Australian War Memorial, which is a museum dedicated to Australia's veterans. It is huge. H.U.G.E. (I think I actually spent six years in the WWII wing.) 
The interior is divided by each war Australian soldiers have ever fought in. It was fascinating to view the wars of history through eyes other than my usual American ones.  Never done that before....


JRP said...

Chelsea--I forgot that you took pictures too! I'm so excited to see them!

Jill said...

ahhhh...i love this post! i love that you were with jrp!

did you visit tc while in canberra. he said he wanted to take you to a baseball game...hahahah!

ps: i am about 20k from a free ticket to australia!