Queen Vic and quiche

After two days of hot weather and mostly blue skies we awoke to high wind. Not the kind of weather that I wanted to fly in, but what choice? Outside our window a shadecloth had torn free and was flapping wildly across an outdoor dining area.
A hot buffet breakfast was included in our room rate. Despite the quantity of fruit consumed it was not the healthiest way to start a day. To ensure a better diet on our return to Sydney we took a walk through the Queen Victoria Markets, a couple of hundred metres from the hotel. The markets were delightfully relaxed in comparison to a recent visit to Paddy’s Market in Sydney. We always get great fruit when in Victoria and the big Tasmanian cherries and the peaches we purchased were no exception.

There was no similar success in locating a pair of shoes for Alex, but the market was still a pleasant stroll.
I had forgotten to book a free bus transfer to the Skybus terminal, so we treated Alex to another train ride from Melbourne Central on to Southern Cross Station. I find the livery of the suburban trains to be quite attractive and more interesting than their Sydney brethren. Southern Cross reminds me of Europe, with a variety of schemes for the Sprinter and VLocity railcars and locomotive hauled services. The freight yards are not far away either and the area feels like a real working railway. Passengers and freight are too segregated in Sydney.

The Skybus coach shook in the crosswinds that blew across us as we took the freeway past the old Essendon airport and out towards Tullamarine. We arrived with plenty of time to spare. After the big breakfast none of us felt like lunch. B wandered through shops and read magazines while I entertained Alex.
Today’s flight was on a Qantas 767. Alex and I were seated by the window, B in a separate row at the aisle. Fortunately we were over the wing. Alex was given both a Flying Fun Pack and a Little Miss activity pack. The latter was the same as when he last flew a 767 in October last year. Funnily enough, our 767 was named Rockhampton.
For the adults there were newspapers and a poorly adjusted centre projection screen. But much of the flight was spent keeping Alex amused. It’s great now that he’s old enough to discuss and question what he sees out the window.

The wind was certainly apparent as we lifted off into the air. I was glad that we were taking off with full power and not landing in the wind. Once we were above the cloud layer things smoothed out.

Alex did some drawing with the Little Miss activity pack, then played some sort of imaginary character game with the paper. Very cute to watch!

Lunch was served. The offering of a hot plastic wrapped quiche and drink seemed quite palfrey, but it turned out to be delicious. Fortunately, apples were provided, as Alex one them to the hot food.

We approached Sydney Airport from the south and arrived on the runway under clear blue skies. What was soon apparent was that Sydney was so much more humid than Melbourne. I could feel my brain slowing down.

It took a while for our bag to appear from the luggage belt, then it was back to the carpark and home.
There is something very pleasant about holidaying within Australia, often for the very reasons that make overseas travel so attractive. Our trips tend to be more relaxed, without the pressure to cram in as much sightseeing, eating and shopping as possible. It’s mostly familiar, leaving us to enjoy the little differences. And I still love Melbourne. Living in Sydney can make me feel very negative about Australia, but in Melbourne I see hope, I see something worth saving and savouring about the country. Yet, I feel that Sydney is different enough that it should celebrate it’s own strengths rather than try to copy its southern neighbour. After all, it’s the differences that make travel so worthwhile.

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