Centenary World Cruise Day 71: Melbourne

I feel sorry for people who lived without the internet (including my younger self). Because we have the internet, we were able to find a place to do our shipping, a post office, and something fun to do in Melbourne while we ate lunch yesterday.

Step One: take two big bags of stuff in a taxi to the shipping place. The guy packed our stuff up in a box, gave us a form to fill in, took our money, and we were on our way.

Step Two: relieved of our burden, we walked the half mile to the post office. International stamps are expensive. On the ship, they’re $3.50, but that’s US dollars. At the Australian post office, they’re still $3.50, but that’s Australian dollars, so significantly less.

For women who succumbed to the 1980s over-plucked eyebrow look

Step Three: stop across the street at the grocery store and pick up some pre-packed salad, a tiny sourdough loaf, a couple of bottles of juice, and some hummus.

Step Four: walk the mile to the botanical gardens.

The walk between the shipping place and the botanical garden is nowhere near any touristy areas of town. There were shops that sold bathroom fixtures, mechanics, small apartment buildings – all the everyday stuff you see in a residential neighborhood. It felt comfortingly normal, and I realized how much I missed a day of running errands and walking around town.

Before the botanical gardens, there’s a huge park planted with enormous trees, most of which had memorial markers in front of them.

The notion of honoring someone’s death by nourishing a life is wonderful, and made the enormous park feel that much more wonderful. Once through the war memorial part of the park, we found the entrance to the botanical gardens. There’s a big sign at the gate that says: “Australia’s #1 Tourist Destination.” The subtext is “IN YOUR FACE, SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE!”

Nice to know it’s not just Americans who need warnings like this

The day was sunny and mild, the botanical gardens were beautiful and refreshing, and after walking around and appreciating the beauty of the trees, shrubs, and ferns, we sat in a large gazebo and ate lunch.

We were amused to see that a tour group from our ship had also come to the botanical gardens, and wondered if we’d be able to hitch a ride back to the ship on their bus. As it turned out, we didn’t see them again once we’d left the area of the gates.

Once we’d made our way back to the ship, we were tuckered out. Today was the remedy to some of the homesickness I’ve been feeling. It’s nice to think that, while we still have adventures ahead, we’ll be traveling toward home from here on.

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