Melbourne - journey and Saturday.

I’m in Australia at the moment, in Melbourne for the VALA 2008 libraries conference.  I’m here primarily to give the opening keynote, which I’ll blog about separately on eFoundations.

This is my first trip to Australia.  I like what I’ve seen so far.

I was dreading the trip over, expecting to be very bored and uncomfortable, especially since I ended up travelling in ecomonmy (on a BA flight operated by Quantas).  Well, I was bored and uncomfortable, but no where near as badly as I expected.  I got lucky, getting an empty seat next to me on the first (longer) leg of the journey to Hong Kong.  I’m pretty good at dropping into travel mode these days… adopting a dulled mindset and expecting the worst in terms of delays.

 My journey was, taxi to Bath Spa station, train to Heathrow (via Paddington and Heathrow Express), flight to Melboune (via Hong Kong), car to hotel.  29 hours in all.  We were forced off the plane at Hong Kong, to give a chance to loop thru security, then back on the same plane… why??

I watched 5 or 6 films on the way over.  Can’t remember the details.  I don’t have decent noise-cencelling headphones, which makes the films much harder to watch, though I did enjoy 2 Days in Paris, which reminded me a lot of the old Woody Allen / Diane Keaton films.

Since arriving (late Friday night) I’ve spent some time looking around Melbourne - it’s an easy place to get around.  The trams and trains are very good vale - particularly compared to the UK.  I went to the viewing platform at the top of the Rialto Tower, to the Melbourne Old Gaol, and relaxed in the park outside the Melbourne Museum.  I also went down to St Kilda Beach by tram - getting a bit out of the city, down to the sea for an evening.  Found a very nice resturant at the end of St Kilda Pier, and had a lovely meal of salmon on cous cous.  The view back towards Melbourne was spot on, particularly the tall Eureka Tower, with its gold top section radiating the light from the setting sun.

Photos are on Facebook right now.  I’ll pop them on Flickr in due course.

Over and out for now…

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