_I rarely leave the country these days. When I went to Melbourne last week to the writer's seminar I enjoyed the usual experience of music buskers that I had on my previous visits years ago. There was a difference however. With the aid of portable batteries or mini generators electronic guitars were a part of the busking experience out in the open and away from power supplies.
It was impossible to miss the theater tickets sales booth it is a huge out of context to it's surroundings building directly opposite the historical Finders Street Railway Station. A perfect location for tourists and travelers to gain fast access on arrival in Melbourne to any music performances in the city.
Finders Street Station is still that same beautiful building as shown in the photo above.
Behind this building was the modern building of the newest art gallery and it is a credit to the designers. The street scape opposite was another for Melbourne to be proud of. St Paul's cathedral has been completely restored since I had last seen it as had the facades of all the historical buildings that line Finders Street in this first block leading up the hill from the cathedral. To be able to wander along this block and enjoy seeing Melbourne as i never have before to the background of busker music, was very pleasurable.
On my return walk I walked back along the pavement on the side of these historical facades where I could look into to see who occupied the buildings rather than the external view and it was a mixture of run down old theaters desperately needing internal restoration to the most modern of interiors as in the new Apple computer store. I wished I had more time and more stamina to explore Melbourne.
I journeyed to Melbourne by car from the Goulburn Valley and though the Dandenongs. I stayed at at one of the outer south eastern suburbs overnight and took the train into Melbourne rather than worry about trying to drive and park the 4Wheel drive in the city. This was all a pleasant experience. I walked a huge block of streets covering about a quarter of the city. There were some strategically placed bench seats which i confess, I took advantage of as the hills of Melbourne are a lot steeper than when I was younger.
I called into a small restaurant for lunch. It did not look expensive and the clientele looked 'everyday,' dressed. For $15. I got an opened tin of sardines on a plate with 2 slices of dried up white bread. I wasn't impressed. That was the cheapest thing on the menu. next time I will carry a water bottle and a cut lunch or nuts and fruit and sit on a bench outside to eat and listen to the music of one of the buskers.
The only negative I experienced on my first visit to Melbourne in over a decade was the presence of so many people smoking cigarettes on the side walk. I needed to hold my breath as I walked on many occasions. Possibly why I found it hard getting up some of the hills. it does help if you are breathing clean air.
If I lived closer and had the time I would visit Melbourne more often, explore more of the side streets, park lands, attend the theaters, taking advantage of the free music performances or the half price last minute ticket sales. It is a beautiful city historical city if you have the time to look a t the buildings and a wonderful place to experience a wide variety of music.
Yes Melbourne is a modern city and most photos shown of it these days feature the modern sky scraper skyline reflected in the Yarra River but just as it is a mixture of modern and classical music, Melbourne is a mixture of the new and the best of the old architecture and that is what I focused on during this visit.
For those who love the modern here is the distant view which focuses the modem skyline. You can enjoy this view from so many vantage points along the river and dockland or cruise along the river in one of the party boats at night and dine and dance to the accompaniment of music. For someone who normally avoids cities, I did enjoy my re visit to experience the sights and sounds of the city I visited regularly in my youth.
Ryn Shell writes stories of crime, love and Australia.
artist and author
Formerly Kathy Shell of Buninyong Gallery.
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