Melbourne in June

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John Wesley Melbourne
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Royal Arcade Melbourne

It is 23.4 degrees  here in the Whitsundays at 8.30am, a beautiful sunny day and I am not looking forward to flying south to Melbourne Victoria this afternoon where the warmest temperature for today is expected to be 13 degrees. I will freeze! Still, it is to be expected in Melbourne during the southern Winter.

The flight with Jetstar was very comfortable and the flight time from Proserpine to Melbourne Tullamarine Airport took just 3 1/2 hours.

Upon arrival in Melbourne the weather was cooler than expected, just 11 degrees, overcast and raining. I am not used to seeing so many people wearing Woollen overcoats! It made me shiver just looking at them.

imageThe double decker Skybus was a very relaxing way of travelling from Tullamarine into the city of Melbourne. I sat in the front row of the upper deck so I was able to take some great photos of the Melbourne skyline through the droplets of rain on the windscreen.

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Melbourne Skyline

I checked into my hotel and hurried to the Regent Theatre where I have a reservation for this evening.

It is now 11.30 at night and I am still on a high from attending imagethe fantastic play “The Sound of music” being staged at the beautiful Regent Theatre in Collins street. The “all Australian” cast did a brilliant job, the singing was spectacular.The stage sets were stunning and the orchestra World class. I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good musical.

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Inside the Regent Theatre

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Sunday 19 June, 2016.

I woke at 8am which is unusually late for me. I am used to getting up at 7am on Sunday in the Whitsundays but it was cold outside so I stayed warm inside my Hotel.

I decided to attend the 11am Mass at St. Francis’ Church in Melbourne. It is Victoria’s oldest Catholic church. The foundation stone was laid on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, October 4, 1841. At the 11am Mass St. Francis’ Church Choir, a group of about 25 singers sang magnificently and added a special level of devotion to the Mass.image

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St Francis Church

Tuesday 21st June, 2016.

The morning was sunny but very cold following a miserable, rainy day on Monday. I felt like exploring the CBD on foot and by tram. Shopping is always great in Melbourne so I indulged a little in Bourke Street Mall finding exactly what I wanted and then headed by tram up to the State Library of Victoria for some Family History Research.image

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I arrived at lunchtime so I went straight to the Restaurant. I enjoyed a delicious and warming bowl of Roast Pumpkin, Celeriac and Chestnut soup to fortify myself for the serious task of Genealogy Research.

I had only been in the Library for about 1/2 hour when the Fire alarm sounded and all the people in the Library were asked to evacuate. For health and safety reasons, even though it appeared to be a false alarm, we had to remain outside until the “all Clear” signal was given. That did not happen for some time whilst we all waited outside in the cold and as it was starting to rain I decided to have afternoon tea at the Windsor Hotel.

I have spent the weekend travelling around the city of Melbourne by Tram and as presently the City Zone is free to ride on, I made good use of this convenient and comfortable means of transport.

Alighting from the tram, I walked past the historical Parliament of Victoria building before arriving at the impressive Windsor Hotel.image

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Located on Spring Street Melbourne, the Windsor Hotel has been a Melbourne icon since 1883. The level of service at the Windsor Hotel is “par excellence”.image image image

When the Porter opened the door to welcome me in to the hotel, he asked me how I was. “Wet!” I replied to which he asked me if I was going back outside and could he bring me an Umbrella. “Actually, I am hoping to enjoy afternoon tea in your lovely establishment” I replied. I then ventured into the Ladies change room to remove my wet coat and upon my return the Porter took my wet coat and hung it in the drying room. He then directed me to the gorgeous Restaurant where afternoon tea was being served. It was so beautiful and peaceful there with soft music playing in the background and the glitter of Chandeliers overhead, the fresh vases of Orchids and extensive Tea menu,  I could have stayed all day.

When it was time to go, I asked for directions to the Flinder’s Street Railway Station where I was meeting my friend Margaret later in the evening. Because I looked a bit puzzled about where to catch the next tram, the helpful Porter escorted me across the road, halted the tram and helped me on board. Wow! That is what I call excellent service.image

Thursday 23rd June, 2016.

I got up at 5am as I had an early flight back to the Whitsundays.  Knowing it was cold outside, I rugged up to walk the short distance from the Hotel, the Batman on Collins where I was staying, across the road to the Southern Cross Railway Station to then travel on the Sky bus to the Airport.  

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The sky bus was on time but upon arriving at the Jetstar terminal T4 at Tullamarine I was puzzled to see that the  “check in” system is now similar to the one being trialled in some European Airports and seems a much more complicated system than previously used. It is also very time consuming. Once the three stage “check in” is complete, the usual security check takes place up stairs and then the passenger is expected to wait in the food hall until the Departure screen shows the lounge  where the flight will depart from.

This departure advice was given just 30 minutes prior to departure and as the lounge was number 48, it took a brisk walk of 15 minutes to arrive at the lounge. Once at the lounge I noticed that there was nowhere to sit.There were 6 seats provided for the elderly and disabled but no-one else. Along with all the other passengers, I had to stand in a queue until the door was opened to allow us to walk across the Tarmac to the waiting Aircraft. I think that this new way to check in and wait for the flight is a backward step and lacks in good customer service. Please bring back the era of elegant travel, I say.

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