Friday, 26 June 2015

Australia, Melbourne (Sightseeing & Food)

Walking in Melbourne is such an enjoyment because I get to feel more about the place and have a closer up view on things that interest me.

Well, we did a lot of walking in Melbourne. Imagine walking on a treadmill non-stop. It surprise me that my feet didn't hurt at all. 

A random photo of fallen leaves at Domain Parklands. I'm not sure what are the names of the trees that were planted in the park, but these trees were planted in memory of a specific military unit or association, who had either lost their lives in the war or on a peacekeeping mission. 

The park is a really peaceful place to be. At the heart of the park is the Shrine of Remembrance, where solemn ceremonies are conducted.

We walked to the Royal Botanic Gardens, which is just across the road. The Botanic Gardens is opened at 7.30 am every day of the year and closed at dusk. Visiting the Botanic Gardens is a must because Melbourne has one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. The gardens makes me feel relaxed, but somehow I feel like I've not gotten enough of it. To put it simply, I don't have enough dosage of flowers yet. 

I guess to really enjoy and appreciate the different species of plants there is to really go on your own. In that way, you can just spend as long as you want and photograph anything that catch your interest. 

A painter was seen painting at the Botanic Gardens. She's so kind to allow me to photograph her.

I had signed up for the Aboriginal Heritage Walk at the Botanic Gardens 2 days ago and it looked very promising. Got to learn about the Aborigines when visiting Australia because they are the natives to this land. And technically, we're in the Kulin Nation, where the Boonwurrung and Wolwurrung live for countless generations.

We went through a smoking ceremony, which is a ritual to welcome guests into the community. And within the first few minutes of the session, I could grasp that the aborigines are truly, very spiritual people who understand and form deep and intimate connection with the land. 

The aborigines are environmentally savvy who make use of what's in their environment for food, medicine, tools, and rituals. Plus, they know every bit of the plants such as which parts can be used for different purposes and which parts are poisonous.

Here, 3 types of leaves were used in the smoking ceremony: the Cherry Ballart, the River Red Gum and the Wattle. 

We found a fallen tree in the park. So that's how it looks like from underneath the trunk. Many of the trees at the botanical gardens are very old; but they are taken care of very well even though their surroundings keep on undergoing many changes.

At the end of the session, the guide showed us the aboriginal map of Australia and its flag. There are actually so many different clans of aborigines and they speak in different dialects too! It's pretty amazing to me. There was a family from New Zealand who was also part of the tour group and they too talked about the Maori heritage there. What I realised is that the aborigines have a very strong sense of belonging because they love to start their sentences with 'My people... '. 

It was the same for the New Zealanders and they too shared how they had undergone a much easier time as Maori because it seems that the Maoris were an accepted group in New Zealand. They were assimilated into the community and their aboriginal heritage were retained and promoted as part of the New Zealand cultural heritage.

We're back on the streets of Melbourne. In the background is the famous Flinders Street Station. I bought some Spanish doughnuts because I was hungry.

I love churros, but then again I love anything that has custard and chocolates. Besides churros, I find that Asian food is everywhere in Melbourne. It is so easy to get your fix on Asian dish if you miss home cooked food. From the photos that I have gathered, I suddenly came to a realisation that we had been eating Asian food most of our time while we were in Melbourne!

We ate all these in Melbourne. Nasi Lemak with Crab and Curry Laksa with fish at the Laksa Bar. We also had vegetable spring roll and iced teh tarik there. 

On one of the days, we also dined at Killiney, where there's a wide range of Singapore's hawker food. Most of the patrons were Singaporeans; I was thinking are we all home-sick? Well, I'm not but I loved the taste of familiar food.

Here were our fried hokkien noodles and fried kway teow noodles.

You know how Singaporeans prided about being multi-racial and multi-cultural. So we already had Malay and Chinese food, now it's time for Indian food. We had Indian bread and chicken curry at Desi Dhaba. 

That's it for now. This is such a long post.

More posts coming up soon on my trip in Melbourne.

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