WHEN IN ROME
Documenting my travels across the globe
Then, we visited the Yarra River where we learned a bit of Australia’s history. In aboriginal language, Yarra means river. The British asked the aboriginals what the river was called and they told them Yarra, as if to say, “Obviously, it’s a river.” The British then named it Yarra River, which I find quite funny. To keep a long story short, the British found gold in Australia nearby Melbourne and decided to claim Australia as their own, despite the aboriginals living there. The aboriginal culture is similar to the Polynesian cultures of New Zealand and Hawaii, where they believe they do not own the land but are one with the land. Despite this, the British convinced them to sign a contract — that they clearly did not understand — saying the British now own the land and they have to move further into the country
Ben then took us through the old arcades, which is British for a covered street, where there are shops with a glass roof over the beautifully tiled streets. The mosaic tile work is original. We learned that when they first discovered gold here, several men volunteered to come to Australia in exchange for six years of service gold mining. The boat ride took eight months, as did sending letters back home. So the first time they could read a response from family could be over two years. The Irish even held a wake for men who decided to leave, celebrating their lives as if they were dead to them now that they’re leaving.
The other interesting story we learned was about the infamous Australian outlaw, Ned Kelly. Ned Kelly and his gang were known for robbing banks and holding people hostage for ransom. You may think people hated them, but they actually loved them. The police were the only ones that did not like them. The gang would rob banks, but also steal all the peoples' mortgages and burn them. And they would hold people hostage at bars, but pay their bar tabs afterward. In the end, there was an epic shootout between the gang and the police. Ned survived and was inevitably sent to the galleys. Before Ned was hung, it was said his last words were, “such is life”. As if to say, “Sh*t happens”. We visited the prison that he was held in, as well as the bar they brought him to the night before his hanging — in case the Irish tried to help him escape from prison.
Afterward our visit to the nature park, we walked the Pinnacles Lookout coastal hike. It was really beautiful and refreshing after spending time in the city. I’m so thankful to have met Brittany and for her to spend the day with me outside the city. She even packed us delicious vegan sandwiches, which we happily devoured after a day of activities.
The next day, I explored Queen Victoria’s Market and the hipster neighborhood Fitzroy. The highlight of the day was most definitely Brittany’s recommendation to visit the vegan restaurant, Smith & Daughters. Holy moly the breakfast pizza was ridiculously good. It was a thin crust pizza with pesto, buffalo mozzarella, creamy egg scramble, prosciutto, arugula, chilis, capers, and parmesan. I will be dreaming of that pizza for awhile.
On my last day, I booked a Great Ocean Road tour. The Great Ocean Road is supposedly one of the most visited attractions in all of Australia. It is a long, coastal road that was built by retired soldiers after WWI, to give them a job and a sense of purpose. The men were paid through tolls on the road, which were later removed for tourism. My favorite part of the tour was surprisingly not the twelve Apostles — even though there are technically only eight apostles left standing. I loved the last stop at the Loch Ard Gorge. The rock formations were ginormous, colorful, and breathtaking. And the water was a beautiful turquoise.
Despite thinking I was going to love the city of Melbourne before visiting, I fell more in love with its outskirts. Phillip Island was really lovely and the Great Ocean Road was beautiful. The city itself is also beautiful and international with lots to offer, but I couldn’t get a feel for its vibe. After talking with other travelers about this, we think it’s because the city is probably better to live in than visit.
Watch my video blog from Australia:
When In Rome
Two of my most cherished hobbies go hand-in-hand. Writing is my favorite way to reflect after traveling to a new country. I have kept this blog ever since I studied in Rome to share my travels with families and friends. I hope you enjoy learning about my experiences and getting a sense for my writing skills. If you have any questions, please reach out!