As if we didn’t get enough of shopping yesterday, we headed out that morning with one goal in mind: the famous Queen Victoria Market.
As famous as it may be, when we arrived around 10:30 there was barely anyone there–just a few early-bird tourists toting backpacks and locals grabbing some insanely cheap produce. So we strolled amongst the stalls, marveling at the prices and bemoaning the expensive nature of New Zealand’s food (it’s nearly all imported).
Soon the masses of oranges and apples and leafy greens gave way to lofty racks of cheap wholesale clothing and row after row of souvenirs. A few original products were interspersed with the repeating booths of Chinese-made Australian stuffed animals and leather jackets, but they were few and far in between.
Instead of being disappointed at the lack of originality at the market, partly because of the lack of people, we were able to take it in stride. We actually took the opportunity to complete any gift shopping we needed to get done before we left the country.
By the time we toured the delicatessen section around noon, the crowds were finally showing themselves. Hungry, we pushed through the lunch rush and snapping tourists, grapping something to eat before escaping to a table. We didn’t stay long after that.
Getting tired and determined to “take it easy,” we wandered over to Carlton Gardens and laid in the grass, soaking up the afternoon sun. I watched the clouds drift by as the slow hum of traffic drifted in and out of the flutter of pigeon wings, glad to be away from the crowds and the rush of sight-seeing.
After a while, we strolled over to see the Royal Exhibition Building in all its Victorian grandeur and the Melbourne Museum in all its modern sleekness. As the day was still young, and the sun still high, and we walked over to the State Library of Victoria to check out even more Victorian architecture.
As all great libraries do, the main entrance welcomed visitors with striking Greco-Roman columns before opening up to spacious reading rooms and a dome reaching up seven stories. Of course, we went up the dome and looked down upon the studiers from our great height. I took time to look at the history of Melbourne exhibit while Kirsten continued to walk around.
The sun was setting when we left that hall of knowledge, and I realized yes, we comparatively we hadn’t done much that day, but that’s what made it great. It was simple, easy and just the pace I was trying to achieve. That’s the thing with traveling for vacation. It’s sometimes hard to find the right balance (at least for me) between relaxing and sight seeing.