The tram network here is the largest in the world and the trams themselves are hi-tech, air-conditioned vehicles. You ‘swipe on’ with your ticket at one of the numerous terminals on board each tram (the electronic tickets are similar to the London Oyster cards as they can be re-loaded) and sit back to enjoy the ride.
Half an hour from the centre of the city I reached St. Kilda’s Beach and made my way down to the soft golden sand for a walk at the water’s edge. Not a cloud in the sky but with a fairly stiff (hot) breeze just to keep things interesting. The kite surfers were out in force as were the Aussie lifeguards (keeping a very careful watch and strictly enforcing their designated bathing area).
It was a real family day and it appeared everyone had some kind of sport or activity in mind, whether it be roller skating, cycling, demonstrating prowess on some very unusual scooters, running or beach games. My barefoot amble was very low-key by comparison. I decided to sit on the sand and watch the fun going on in the water but it was a big mistake. The soft sand blew in the breeze and before I knew it, there was sand in my hair, my ears and….well, everywhere. I gave up and went to browse the local art and craft stalls all along the esplanade. I could have filled another suitcase with some of the stylish products on sale but, sadly, I must already be reaching the “excess baggage” stage and had to resist.
The crowds were growing and I could feel the sun burning the back of my neck (I never burn but this was fairly intense Australian sun). Time to hop aboard a tram and head back to the city for a final wander before my very kind friends entertained me at their home with a barbecue. And how wonderful that was! With evening temperatures still in the high 20’s it felt blissfully cool enough to enjoy great food and conversation. Alison, Michael and Luke have made my stay in Melbourne both memorable and very enjoyable.
So, tomorrow it’s back to Sydney for the final day of this grand adventure. My bag is packed for the early morning flight and it’s time to say goodbye to Melbourne, a city so very different from Sydney but full of beauty and charm now I know where to find them!