Marvelous Melbourne!

To say we’re a little sad to leave Melbourne is an understatement. It’s exceeded our expectations in every way. Melbourne is a funky, eclectic and artsy city. The CBD (Central Business District) is always jumping and rest of the city is divided into distinct pockets, each with its own character and vibe (St. Kilda, our base and our obvious favorite!).

I’m not alone in my admiration. When you see rankings of the best places in the world to live, half of the cities are in Australia and Melbourne is is often #1.

In other posts, I’ve talked about Melbourne’s passion for the arts, parks and athletics, its easy-to-navigate transportation network and its schools. I should also mention its beautiful gardens, unique Victorian architecture, the winding Yarra River and a wide street grid with its labyrinth of narrow lane ways (full of restaurants, bars and shops).

The city has over 4 million residents and is truly multi-cultural (over 140 nationalities). They also maintain a strong respect and recognition of their indigenous peoples.

One day, a young boy on the tram told us that Melbourne is “the most boring place ever.” I guess most kids think that about where they live but we found Melbourne anything but dull. During our two month stay, a day never went by when we were at a loss for something to do or when we failed to discover something new.

Footy Fever in Melbourne – my perspective

Australian Football League. Australian Rules. Footy. Before I start, let me say that before I got here, I knew nothing about the game except that a friend asked us to bring him back an Australian Rules football — he plays on a league in Milwaukee! I still don’t much but it’s been impossible to avoid a bit of “footy fever” over the past two weeks. Frank and I watched the semi-finals last weekend to learn a little about the game.

This week, the sidewalks and trams were filled with hundreds of fans sporting scarves with the finalists’ team colors – brown and gold for the Hawthorne (Tasmania) Hawks and red and white (Badger colors!) for the Sydney Swans. Today was the AFL Grand Final or the Australian Super Bowl. The game is held each year at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds, which holds over 100,000 people! For those who don’t know, Australian Rules is kind of a mix between rugby and football. The players wear tight little shorts with no protective gear, the field is huge, the game high-scoring and each team has 18 players on the field at a time. Frank loves that the game is void of video replays and that it keeps moving — when a player is injured, they play around him! I’m sure that’s pretty simplistic for AFL purists but what do you want from someone who makes the game secondary to the color and excitement of the fans?