I lived in Melbourne for about 6 years when I was at university and fell in love with the city. The city is famous for its unpredictable weather and for weeks before my recent trip many people had said the weather was terrible – cold and dark and wet – after all it was the middle of winter. Imagine my surprise when each day of my recent trip was warm (15-16 degrees) and sunny. Melbourne . . . go figure★!
The city has change quite a bit since my university days (about a 100 years ago). Many new buildings have been erected in the city center and they have spoiled★ the old-fashioned charm of the place somewhat. However, I really like the entertainment complex on the south bank of the Yarra river, the river running through the center of the city.
This complex, Southgate, lines the river and offers a great selection of restaurants and bars. My first morning was spent at one restaurant … and it was my most enjoyable morning for years. Not only was the service excellent and waiting staff polite, but the weather was brilliant and the food terrific. I would like to enjoy many more such mornings in the future.
Of course, I visited a lot of my favourite places during my trip: St Kilda Beach and Acland Street (famous for its continental cake shops and fish and chips), The Italian precinct★ based around Lygon Street (famous for its Italian restaurants) and the Greek precinct on Lonsdale Road (my favourite restaurant, Tsindos, is still doing business there).
I guess the best change I noticed was the transportation system. Melbourne has a fantastic and convenient tram system and the city center is well-serviced by a number of tram lines. The city center is not so large but walking around all day can be tiring for an old man like me. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that a “free travel” zone has been established, and you can now ride the trams free of charge in the city center … maybe this is why there is a growing obesity★ problem in the country.
Anyway, if you like good food and a relaxing meal by the river, visit Melbourne and maybe you’ll meet me there someday!
★go figure: みんながメルボルンは寒くて暗くて雨ばかりと言っているのでそう思っていたら、冬にも関わらず、滞在中は晴れで気温も15～16度とそんなに低くなかったことで「（なぜこんなことが起こったのか）不思議だ、驚きだ！」という意味のGo figure! が使われています。「（なんでそんな事を言うのか）信じられない！」「（私に聞かないで）自分で考えて！」などの意味でも使う表現です。
★spoiled: 「だめにする、台無しにする、甘やかす」などの意味をあらわすspoil. ここでは、メルボルンの古風な魅力をたくさんの新しいビルが台無しにしていると言っているのですね。
★precinct: 「地区、管区、警察管区、投票区」などを意味します。ここでは中華料理レストランが集まった中華街のように、イタリア人やイタリアンレストランがたくさんあるイタリア人街を指しています。Italian precinctにあるItalian restaurant…食べに行ってみたいですね！