The plan was to get up early (because we are slowlying getting used to sleeping in), get Pete to the Doctors for a blood test (a whole new Doctor Story) and then onto the train at Pakenham. WE DID IT!!!! We made the 8.57am train with 20 minutes to spare.
Half way to Melbourne Mia decided she hated trains - they were soooooo boring.
We got off at Flinders Station.....the first thing both kids commented on was "There are so many people"....um yeah kids, its called a city. My poor country bumkins.
We wondered into the Information Centre and picked ourselves up some maps and things for when we move on from Pakenham, and then did something that Pete and I have never done - we wondered aimlessly around the city, taking it all in. While not a fan of crowds, I enjoyed taking my time and wondering.
Melbourne Library – what can I say?
If you are ever in Melbourne, do yourself a favour and visit this magnificent place. We stood outside the Library and debated going in. It is a stunning building on the outside, but the secrets it holds inside are truly amazing.
There is an information booth just inside the front door, offering free tours. The young gentleman on the counter was very friendly and gave us the option of waiting for a free tour or going on ahead and visiting the Library. He stated that tour concentrated on the current exhibits that were situated within the library.
We wondered off into the Library and up to level 6. We thought, why not start at the top and work our way down. We stepped of the lift, and we were blown away. The reading room is a large round room with a big dome for the roof. The roof is glass panel and lets in all the light. There was something magical and restful about the area. We were looking down on the reading room from level 6. The reading room was opened in the early 1900’s, but due to leakages in the window they covered the windows with plaster and then copper. In the 1990’s the Victorian Government made the decision to repair the Library, expand it and to bring it back to the original glory and plans in which it had been built. This meant restoring the reading room to a big glass dome, letting in as much natural light as possible. I fell in love with the area, and so did Pete and the kids. There was a collective “wow” by all of us when we first saw the room.
We walked our way down to level 5, where the exhibition concentrated on “The Changing Face of Victoria”. There were lots of photos dating from first settlement up until modern day. There was one picture that was so horrible it was fascinating – an 8 ton pile of rats that had been caught and killed in a 4 hour period.
This exhibit included some Ned Kelly history, of course. They had his original death mask, his suit of armour (including a shoe and gun) and a detailed video talking about the construction of the suit – from marks left by the blacksmith, to bullet marks. There was even a letter, written by Ned Kelly when he robbed the bank in Jerilderie. Talk about connecting a bit of history.
We wondered on down to the level 4 exhibit and saw original books and illustrations from early 1900 up to modern day. This exhibit was not as exciting for the kids, and their tummies were rumbling for lunch.
We walked back outside and wondered to the Queen Victoria Markets. All I can say is yum, yum, yum. So much fresh produce, we wondered around until a lady stopped and asked if we wanted to try some cheese from France. No-body says no to free samples, so of course we tasted some very yummy creamy Brie and a goat’s cheese with herbs and garlic.
Yep, we made our decision about lunch – cheese, bread, crackers and cold meat were the order of the day. Ohhhhh, and some very yummy strawberries for desert.
We wondered on after filling our tummies and caught a tram. Mia’s first ever ride on a Tram in Victoria, first having been on a Tram in Christchurch, New Zealand back when she was 2. The most wonderful thing about the Melbourne CBD is that all the trams are free within the CBD. So, we caught the tram to the City Circle tram stop and got on the city circle tram. We got to see a bit of the city – like the Docklands and Etihad Stadium.
What a huge day!!