A flight of less than an hour brought us from the green and rolling hills of Tasmania, to the flat and arid land of Victoria and its capital Melbourne. We love our hotel here, because we are in an apartment. We are doing a load of laundry as I write, a real treat for a traveller who moves every few days. It's hard to believe I am complaining about this, but we are a bit tired of eating out, even though the food has been great. It takes so long to find a restaurant and order when there's so much to see and the portions can be much too large. We were trained to eat everything on our plates, which clearly is not a good strategy. So we stopped at a nearby grocery store and nuked little steak and mushroom pies in our room. The Fuji apples grown here are especially tasty; they were desert.
The nine of us who spent the week together in Tasmania for the pre-trip, have been joined by seven more folks for the main Australia tour. Some of them clearly are exhausted so this first day is low-key. We had a group meeting where our leader tried to bring the new ones up to speed and integrate them into our cozy little Tasmania group. From our experience on OAT tours this always happens eventually, but the group seems so big now. Most companies form travel groups of forty that will fit on a motor coach. This brings the trip price down, but isn't worth it to us.
Our first impressions of the CBD (central business district) where we are staying is that this is a vibrant place where most of the people we see are forty years younger than we are. There is a nice mix of modern glass and shiny metal skyscrapers and classic buildings erected when the British first settled the area. A tram circles the CBD giving free rides, which will get us out and about tomorrow when we see and learn more.
latitude = San Francisco