Friday, August 9, 2013

Trams and Museums

Lest anyone get the impression that I spend my time overwhelmed by the move and/or tired from jet-lag, I want to dedicate a couple of paragraphs to the wonders of Melbourne.
Getting around is very easy, due in no small part to the tram system. I find trams so much nicer than subways. Sure they are often crowded like subways, and like subways - when you jam that many people into a small space invariably there is somebody who smells like mothballs, or doesn’t have a dryer at home and their clothes smell sour. But unlike subways, they are of course above ground, so you can watch the world go by outside your window. I find there are enough trams, that if a ton of people are waiting and smash into the first tram that comes along, usually if you look down the road you can see another one coming, and that one is often mostly empty.

My son points out that he likes trams better than subways because the seats are nicer … bigger and more comfortable. There is also the wonderful iPhone app called Tram Tracker. Put in your tram number and it will tell you how many minutes until your train arrives. Bring up the app while walking down any street and it will tell you where the closest tram stop is in relation to your current location.  Truly a great invention and just another one of the many things that makes Melbourne such a livable city. And if you don't have an iPhone (no the app does not work on Android) at many tram stops in CBD you can just look up at the display (pictured above) which shows the same live information on arrivals.

Finding myself with a few hours to spare on a rainy Sunday, I took the tram over to the Melbourne Museum. I am not much of a museum person. It is actually a bit of joke in the family, since my parents and siblings are very much museum-people. When I travel to Europe with my sisters, they can put up being around me because of the rules:  “churches are not museums” and “only one museum”. Thus we can enjoy walking around the city and visiting all the old beautiful churches, and take in (no more than : ) one museum. I was drawn to the Melbourne Museum because of their Forest Walk exhibit (wonderful outdoor space full of tress and birds) and a couple of exhibits on australian wildlife and aboriginal art.
live bird in Forest Exhibit

Much to my surprise, when I walked up to the ticket counter, I found myself buying a one-year membership. I plan to return again and again.

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