Sorry, we’re still on Saturday here.

So after the Melbourne Aquarium we wandered around Melbourne and pretty much just browsed through bookstores. I love bookstores. I’m looking for a book with a particular theme that I have in my head at the moment but can’t seem to find what I’m looking for considering I have no titles in mind and I’m not sure whether I should be looking in fiction or travel narratives. Talk about vague.

At some point we decided to hop back on the tram to go to the Botanical Gardens and rather then ending up at the botanical gardens ended up at the Anzac Memorial. Not that I’m complaining, but I’d been wearing massive wedges that were pinching my toes all day and at this point I just wanted to go barefoot, but that would have been EXTREMELY disrespectful wandering into the memorial.

For those of you Americans reading this, ANZAC stands for “Australia and New Zealand Army Corp”. Basically, those brave men who fought during WWI and WWII. The most common theme on memorials and when honoring their memory is to say “Lest We Forget”. You can see where it comes from at the end of this post.

So we took a few pictures on our way up to the memorial. We passed pillars and the eternal flame and I reluctantly put my shoes back on before walking into the main entrance of the memorial. The walls of the main hall are beautifully ornate. Smack dab in the middle of the room is a plaque which, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month a beam of light from the sun shines through a hole in the ceiling to put a spotlight onto this plaque. There is one in Sydney as well at Hyde Park.

Walking through the outer hall of the upstairs memorial along the walls there are books with the names of the Anzac’s who died along with giant flags from all the different Corps hanging along the walls. Needless to say it has a very sobering effect.

So wandering around these halls we see a set of stairs. They lead to the Crypt and the giftshop. Bit of an odd combination if you ask me, but that’s alright. So we head down these old sandstone steps into the eerily shadowy and echo-y crypt which has more Corps memorabilia from different branches of the navy. Can I also take this opportunity to state that the entire foundation of the building is essentially being held up by a mixture of pillars in this crypt and the hill that the memorial is built on. I felt like the thing would collapse at any moment.

Anyway, as I’m looking at a flag from the navy I can hear Ivo moving around like a headless chook. At one point I look over to see what the heck he is doing and he’s hiding behind a pillar, peering around it at me. Upon asking him what he was doing he was extremely disappointed to be caught out as apparently he was trying to creep me out or scare me or something. He failed to notice that every step he took echoed… Good job, honey.

So upon rolling my eyes at him I walked towards the gift area into this hallway that had a bajillion medals on display. The first thought that came to mind was “oooooh shiny” and the second was “where are my sunnies?” as the sun shining through the downstairs doors was making them reflect spectacularly into my eyes. Onwards into the gift shop!

This room was an obviously modern room, not unlike most gift shops you see. It was a strange juxtaposition between the crypt and the gift shop. Sort of like stepping through time. Anyway, the gift shop/visitor centre had a big screen and a bunch of stories on the wall of how people ended up fighting during WWII. It was interesting reading them to see different people’s motivations to join in the war efforts. They also played a short video about the memorial, which was nice. It’s amazing how Australian’s come together whenever there is a major event affecting their country. Between the Victorian fires, the Queensland floods, WWII. About the only people that took the path of Westboro Baptist and the Tea Party were some Über-conservatives who said that the Victorian fires were brought on by God because of the abortion laws. Needless to say they were a significant minority.

Anyway, they unfortunately closed the crypt before I could head back in as I wanted to get a photo of the “Father and Son” statue. So we head outside, back into the bright sunshine to the courtyard with “Lest We Forgot” engraved on the giant wall. I’d post the pictures now, but I’m typing on my work computer so they will have to wait until tonight.

After leaving we made our way to the Botanical Gardens which were just across the street. Perhaps it’s my Sydney pride and snobbery, but our Botanical Gardens totally kick Melbourne’s Botanical Gardens’ bum any day of the week. It was nice walking through, but Sydney’s are so much better. We ended up only spending an hour-ish going through because frankly they just didn’t measure up. Though I do have to say this for Melbourne. They have AMAZING grass for walking barefoot in.

So heading back to the tram stop we were walking through this park and I had a monster case of deja vu. I would have sworn I had been there before. I would have sworn I’d taken the 8 tram and gotten off at one of these stops before with my soccer coach, to walk to the game during uni games via the backway. I’m pretty sure at this point Ivo was questioning my sanity, and his reasons for being with me by association. Anyway, we get to the tram to get back to our hotel and sure enough, we pass a hospital I hadn’t noticed before and there across the street is the park that we had our soccer matches at during Unigames in Melbourne a few years ago!!! See, I swear I’m not crazy.

I spent the next 20 minutes (a bit excessive perhaps) marveling at the fact that our hotel was literally a 2 minute walk from the soccer fields I had played at just a couple years prior. Ah, the memories. Me attempting to wear Suzie’s pants (they were trackies and I still couldn’t get them all the way over my hips), One girl coming with the names of the 15 guys she’d kissed the night before on her arm, me telling the cheerleaders that they are a complete embarrassment to both our team and mankind in general. Great memories.

Anyway, got back to the hotel and took a nap and then decided to go to Misty’s dinner, which happened to be just around the corner. It’s a 50’s/60’s style American diner and the owner is actually American. I. Was. In. Heaven. I had a rootbeer float (rootbeer is difficult to come by in this country) and pulled pork on a giant roll (no one in this country even knows what pulled pork is). Ivo ordered ribs (proper ribs) and buffalo wings with “death sauce”. Thankfully my camera has a video record option and I will most definitely be posting Ivo’s reaction to the sauce. I think he was able to eat 3 buffalo wings in total. We had to teach him about dipping them in ranch dressing.  Misty herself would come around to all the tables and talk to people and we had a wonderful chat about American food and “death sauce” and the proper way to eat ribs and buffalo wings (with your fingers of course).

I noticed they had french toast on the menu (but stopped serving it at 6pm) so we told her we’d be back in the morning. They don’t do french toast in this country either and my french toast is lacking in the quality department. Needless to say we left extremely satisfied and headed back to the hotel to sit in our food-coma until we fell asleep.

“Ode of Remembrance”

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
Lest we forget.
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