Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving in Hong Kong

Next week is the 10th annual Brno Czechsgiving fiesta but today is Thanksgiving.

So tonight's Hong Kong Thanksgiving dinner was pork noodle soup and bubble tea.  Not a traditional Thanksgiving dinner but tasty nonetheless. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Back in Wellington, New Zealand

On Monday it was time to leave Australia and head to New Zealand.  I was definitely ready for some Nat time in Wellington.

Tünde make a piggy bank in kindergarten for her godmother and tasked me with hand delivering it.  I'd been carrying this thing in my suitcase all across Australia but the package made it safe and sound.

Fortunately there was no earthquake this time so we had the opportunity to do some of the sightseeing we missed out on the last time including a tour of the parliament.  Unfortunately, no photography is allowed inside.

The National Library has a new exhibition called He Tohu which is made of three parts - a declaration, a treaty, and a petition.

The Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand, He Whakaputanga was signed in 1835.  It is the country's first constitutional document declaring New Zealand as an independent Māori nation.

The Treaty of Waitangi, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, is the country's founding document which was supposed to be a partnership between the Māori and the British Crown.

A 274-metre (899 foot) long petition, with 25,521 signatures, was delivered to parliament in 1893 demanding universal suffrage.

It's been 125 years since New Zealand became the first country in the world to grant all women the right to vote in parliamentary elections.  It's incredible that the Kiwis did it in 1893 but women in the USA and the UK couldn't vote until after WWI.

We only had a couple of days in Kiwiland but it was great to spend time with Nat and her parents.  If only Wellington wasn't on the other side of the world.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Miss Fisher's Murder Mystery Tour, Australia

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is an Australian television series that debuted in 2012.  It's about a glamorous female private detective who solves crimes in Melbourne in the 1920s and based on the novels of Kerry Greenwood.

Three seasons were produced and all 34 episodes are available on Netflix.  The show is popular and the show has been aired in more than 100 countries.

©Australian Broadcast Corporation

On Saturday, we took a walking tour of Melbourne that highlighted areas of the central business district where the series was filmed.

A lot of filming took place at Rippon Lea House and Gardens about 7 km (4,25 miles) which we didn't visit.  Following an afternoon tea, we covered about a six-block area of Melbourne.  Apparently the show was filmed on a shoestring budget.  Filming usually took place early on Sunday mornings when fewer people were out and about.  The National Trust allowed filming at the town hall, parliament buildings and the treasury, among other places.  As we walked around, we were shown video clips from the show.  

At the end of the tour we were treated to a Phryne Fisher inspired cocktail at the Gin Palace.  I'm not a gin drinker as I don't care for the taste of juniper.  The drink was made with a local gin, vermouth, apple liqueur and pear cider.  It was pretty tasty.

The tour was pretty interesting and not just for the references to the show.  We got the inside scoop on several of Melbourne's heritage buildings which blend with contemporary architecture.  
The thing that really stands out to me is that the city is home to many funky buildings.  There's nothing "cookie cutter" about the local architecture.  

Monday, November 19, 2018

Great Ocean Road Tour, Australia

On Saturday, we did a tour of the Great Ocean Road.  It's a must do trip when in Melbourne and it's Australia's version of Route 66.  The route is 540 km (336 miles) which is about eight hours worth of driving.

We booked Melbourne Small Group Tours and I'm so glad that we did.  I'm not a big fan of big motor coach tours so a small van with only seven passengers was perfect.  Our guide Travis was fantastic!  Highly recommended.

The two-lane road is 243 km (151 miles) runs between Torquay and Allansford.  It was built from 1919 to 1932 by servicemen and it is dedicated to the soldiers who died in WWI.  The Great Ocean Road is the world's largest war memorial.

Our first stop was about 1,5 hours southwest of Melbourne at a popular surf beach where we had tea and cake.  Then it was on to take some photos at the Memorial Arch.

A stop at Teddy's Lookout gave awesome views of the coastline and the Southern Ocean.

At another stop we spotted some koalas in the trees.  The were doing what koalas do best...sleep.
At Apollo Bay we had an hour to walk around and grab a quick lunch.  Then it was back in the van as we continued our trip.  

Our next stop was at the Great Otway National Park where we had a 45-minute rainforest walk. 

 At Port Campbell National Park we got to see the Twelve Apostles, a collection of limestone stacks.  Although it is called the Twelve Apostles,  there were only ever eight.  Now seven as one collapsed back in 2005.

Another rock stack is the Razorback.  It used to extend further out in to the ocean but erosion has taken its toll.

About 3,5 km (2 miles) northwest of the Twelve Apostles is the Loch Ard Gorge.

On our way back to Melbourne we stopped in a small town called Colac where we had dinner at an Aussie pub.  It was well after 10 pm by the time we made it back to Melbourne but what an awesome day.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne is the located in the southeastern part of Australia.  It is 465 km (289 miles) from Canberra and 713 km (443 miles) from Sydney.

Melbourne is the capital of Victoria and the great metro area is home to 5 million people making it the second largest city in both Australia and Oceania.

Melbourne was founded in 1835 and in 1847 Queen Victoria declared it a city.  It became one of the world's wealthiest cities due to the 1850s gold rush in Victoria.  In 1901 it became the interim capital of Australia until Canberra became the permanent capital in 1927.

Melbourne Town Hall was completed in 1887.

St. Paul's Cathedral is the Anglican cathedral.  It was completed in 1891.

The Old Melbourne Gaol opened in 1845 and closed in 1924.  The former prison is now a museum.

The Eight Hour Day Monument was erected in 1903.  It champions workers' rights by supporting 8 hours of work, 8 hours of rest, and 8 hours of recreation and education.

The Victoria State Library opened in 1854.  It is the country's oldest public library and one of the first free libraries in the world.

The Scots' Church was founded in 1838.  It was the first Presbyterian church built in Victoria.

The Melbourne City Synagogue was consecrated in 1877 making it the oldest in the city.

The Royal Society of Victoria was formed in 1854.

The Queen Victoria Market is the largest open air market in the Southern Hemisphere.  

The City Baths were built in 1903.  The purpose was to get people to stop bathing in the Yarra River.

St. James Old Cathedral is an Anglican church and it is the city's oldest church.  It was dedicated in 1847 and it is one of only three buildings in the city that predates the 1851 gold rush.

The Royal Exhibition Building was completed in 1880.  In 2004 it became a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Regent Theatre opened in 1929.  It closed in 1970 but finally reopened in 1996.

Melbourne Museum opened in 2000 and it is the largest museum in the Southern Hemisphere.  It is home to the world's largest IMAX theatre screen.

Chinatown is in the CBD.  It came about during the gold rush and it is the longest continuous Chinese settlement in the Western World.

The Museum of Chinese Australian History was established in 1985.  It was refurbished in 2010 and since then it also acts as the local visitor centre.

Parliament House opened in 1856 but wasn't completed until 1929.  It serves as parliament for Victoria but it was the country's parliament from 1901 to 1927.

Princess Bridge opened in 1888 and crosses the Yarra River.

The Block Arcade opened in 1892.  It is one of the most popular shopping arcades in the city.

Great Petition was unveiled in 2008 to commemorate 100 years of women's suffrage in Victoria.

The Lutheran Trinity Church was built in 1874.  Surprisingly most of the church services here are in German.

Marvel Stadium opened in 2000.  It is home to The Australian Football League.

St. Patrick's Cathedral is the Catholic cathedral and it was consecrated in 1897. In 1986 it was made a Minor Basilica.  It is the largest church building in Australia.

Melbourne is a great city.  It has a very European feel to it which I guess makes sense as it has a large Italian community as well as the largest Greek-speaking population outside of Greece.

Melbourne has the world's largest urban tram network and it is often ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the world.  For me it's the architecture that stands out.  Every modern building is unique and intersects with more historic buildings.

And no visit to Melbourne is complete without doing the Great Ocean Road.