Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Something New: Flagstaff Gardens & Station (Go)

The sun came out today. The fog lifted and there was blue sky, a complete lack of rain and clouds and grey. Even the BOM said there would only be 5% chance of rain. We were daring: we left the rain cover, the rain jacket and the umbrella at home. We couldn't waste this day... only problem was not many of my outside 'something news' were on/open on a Tuesday. So, with Dear Boy on my lap, I played with google maps, zooming into the city to find something, anything new.

GO: Flagstaff Gardens is one of the oldest in Melbourne and it had been tagged as somehow different from the others: more native, less European, I think the word 'archeological' was even thrown about. Well, we didn't find any of that, but the gardens are fine, nonetheless. I've always loved that juxtaposition of cityscape, city skyline through the trees.

At 3 o'clock on a Tuesday afternoon in winter, this part of the city is fairly much a ghost town. The workers and business people have cut short their long lunches to avoid frostbite and the tourists are down closer to the Yarra, the museum and the galleries. Except for the group of fitness freaks having a boxing class or some kind of PT session, Dear Boy and I had the place to ourselves. We wandered up the hill to the settlers' memorial, looking out over King St to the top of St James Old Cathedral, which pre-dated the gold-rush...although 'pre-dated' in a different location. Turns out it was shifted in 1914, dismantled stone-by-stone and moved several blocks to its current spot. The same side of the gardens offers a view of a half finished ferris-wheel and the distant industrial buildings and shiploading cranes.

After a brief stroll through the rapidly emptying Queen Vic Markets, Dear Boy and I were headed home. As a little extra 'something new', I took us back to the gardens, skirting round until we found Flagstaff station, that elusive train station, which is closed on the weekends and public holidays... the only days I've normally been in the city. On weekends, the platforms are empty and the city circle trains whizz past. So, finally, today, we descended in its terribly slow elevators, down, down to platforms 3 & 4, where our train was announcing its arrival with a gush of air forced from the tunnel.

Dear Boy squirmed to be let out of the pram, and spent the trip draped over my arm, waving his wet fingers at the window and laughing at the world as it sped by.

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