Well, there are some days when everything goes wrong. Yesterday was almost one of them, and would have - had it not been for the kindness of some strangers who have become friends.
But first, we stopped by the oldest jail in Australia, and saw the conditions awaiting those men and women who rebelled at being long-term indentured servants to the free Tasmanian merchants and farmers.
And then, we went on a tour of the first Cadbury Chocolate Factory established outside of England in 1905. As I type this, I'm eating some delicious milk chocolate we bought.
Arriving from Tasmania at the Melbourne Airport, we learned from Jason at East West Rental Cars that we had reserved our car for Oct 12th to Oct 31st, 2016! Worse yet, a motorcycle race coming up in Melbourne had reserved all the cars available for the next week.
Trying our best to maintain our sense of humor, we explored all of our options with Jason. He called (remember, we have no phone) the internet car rental broker who connected us with him, and found another company who could rent us (at more cost) a manual drive (ugh) clone of the one we had requested.
Later last night, we successfully navigated our way to our next accommodation address in Melbourne city center (no easy feat in a city with a lot of one-way and very narrow streets in that area). It was an 18-story apartment complex, in which some apartments were being brokered for short-term rentals. Except that our reservation was for Oct 12-14th, 2016, and no one knew we were coming or were there to open it up for us.
A resident, Benjamin, on his phone and standing outside the very secure entrance, came to our rescue. Responding to Pat’s "We need your phone" plea, he called the number we had for our building contact (Katrina). Again, we encountered only the best support from both of them. Benjamin, a Malaysian citizen studying human resources locally, let us into the building lobby to sit on the couch while Katrina found us another apartment (which turned out to be an expensive two-bedroom, with absolutely die-for views, on the 16th floor).
Oh well, the day was already setting records for throwing us curves. To cap it off, we very narrowly escaped being run over while jay-walking crossing the street in front of our apartment as we returned from retrieving some dinner. We looked the wrong way, and I had to pull Pat through the air across two lanes to avoid being hit by a phalanx of cars.
We left our car in the complex garage, and walked or used the metro bus and tram system to explore downtown Melbourne. It was an architectural and cultural cornucopia. We completed a 5km walking tour, rode the Circle City Tram, and stopped in for a tour of the Parliament. We hope to see two museums tomorrow.
Here is a link to the photos we took today.
Tuesday, Oct 13th, Melbourne
Tuesday, Oct 13th, Melbourne