I Went to Australia! Part One: Cruising in Melbourne Review and Video + Travel Reading

I haven’t been blogging because I took a week’s plus hiatus and went to Australia!

I spent three nights staying in East Richmond, Melbourne, two in the Grampians National Park and one in St. Kilda’s. I brought my longboard and spent 3 days cruising around the city as my main means of transportation. I’m not much of a shopper so most of the trip was spent on activities or just plain old exploring.

Trip highlights:

– Skydiving

– Grampians Experiences

– Kayaking on the Yarra River

– Cruising the City

Trip Lowlights:

– Bike Lanes

– Public Transport

For this post, I will be reviewing my experience cruising in Melbourne.

For those who do not know, cruising is when you are merely traveling on your board. Skating encompasses traveling (cruising) as well as doing tricks– be it freeriding, freestyling or dancing. I know this doesn’t jam with my usual theme but cruising is actually really my thing as much as books are.

Skating in Melbourne was really fun and the sidewalks are a lot smoother compared to Singapore, what with all our drains. But it was still quite the challenge. It was incredibly hilly, and some of the hills could really be quite steep. The sidewalks were wider than I am used to, so some sections allowed for carving (turning left and right) downhill. However, with Melbourne’s abundance of cafes with their tables and chairs sprawling the sidewalks, and with it still being quite the busy city, the sidewalks could be quite scary at times and I really wore my shoes out with foot breaking (a method of breaking your longboard by resting the sole of your foot against the ground while controlling the pressure) over just those three days.

There are bike lanes that were on the road and smoother than the sidewalks. However, I find them quite dangerous, what with being merely a thin-ish strip at the side of the road. Not only that, they seem rather redundant to me as they usually run adjacent to the sidewalk, meaning cars park over them rendering them useless, and they usually end abruptly. Many times, l was not clear where they lead; it is difficult to follow them. Perhaps with a bike they are doable, but they are quite dangerous for longboarding.

Conclusion: It is a good way to explore the city if you are able to go fast enough: on the second day, we covered Richmond, Victoria State Library, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne University, Federation Square, South Yarra, Fitzroy, North Melbourne and the Botanic Gardens just by cruising around. It is a fun, challenging and very skateable city. Make sure you’ve plenty of practice foot braking beforehand though. Or you could practice here. Also, if you are on the beginner side, maybe wear a helmet to stay safe with the downhills.

My favorite cities to cruise still remain New York and downtown Toronto. I’m glad I have covered Melbourne and hope to hit more and more cities as time goes along!

I hope you have enjoyed this post although it is unusual for my blog.

What I read in Melbourne: I brought along Murakami’s A Wild Sheep Chase.

As much as I have loved Murakami’s books so far, I have always had problems reading books with too much of a postmodern slant. For example, I love Jonathan Safran Foer, but Everything is Illuminated remains unread on my shelf. A Wild Sheep Chase had all the delightful Murakami oddity a fan could ask for. However, it was extremely postmodern in its structure which made it difficult for me to follow. It was a pleasant holiday read, nevertheless, especially for those sleepy in-between train rides or at night at the accommodation, with his matter-of-fact style I always find calming.

Perhaps I shall go back to this book another time, but for now I will read his other novels instead.

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