On day 12 of our Australian adventure, we had two field trips instead of class which brought us to the Rod Laver Arena and the Melbourne Convention Centre. As always, our professor came along with us to see all of the different places, but this time we were also introduced to a TEAN representative named Rachel who was stationed in Melbourne who led our group to each location and told us about her city along the way.
Rod Laver Arena
The Rod Laver Arena is where the Australian Open takes place as well as many different concerts are held throughout the year. Our tour guide at the arena was Julian, who showed us all of the behind the scenes areas of the arena. We got to see the locker rooms for the tennis players (including Rafael Nadal) put all of their stuff while they are playing in the Open, as well as the VIP Box Seats for the arena and also the media room. We found out that the arena has 15k seats available, but they usually don’t sell out (guess tennis is still not popular even on this side of the world). Below is a picture of the entire tourism group in the media room, sitting (and standing) where the tennis players go after they play a match. We were obviously unclear on if we were smiling or being serious in this picture:
After leaving the arena, we made our way back into the city and to Degraves street for lunch where we were left for an hour to roam free and check out more of the alleyway culture we heard that Melbourne has. I left the group for a little bit to check out the different parts of the alleys after picking up a vegetarian wrap which was beyond amazing. There are a bunch of very cute shops all around and on Degraves street so I had no lack of interest while wandering around alone. I even got Matthew a souvenir…but to tell you what it was would spoil the surprise.
We were then rounded up and taken to the Melbourne Convention Centre where we met a representative from customer service named David who gave us a behind the scenes tour of the convention centre and told us more about the history and background of the building. The first building was opened four years ago, but the second building that we saw had been open for fifteen years. The colors of the centre were chosen based on the things surrounding Melbourne: the the green is based on the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the orange because it is a color commonly used on ships and Melbourne is a port town and then the floor is a brownish color because the river in Melbourne is very muddy. Unfortunately, there were no events happening at the time so instead we mostly just saw a bunch of different empty rooms. The architecture of the building was very pretty but since we had been up so early and already had gone on a tour, it was clear that we were all pretty exhausted. I think the tour guide took pity on us and ended the tour early and for that, we were all very thankful.
After both of our field trips, me and a few friends took a trip to the “hip” part of town (apparently it was actually a suburb?) called Fitzroy where we tried to find different art galleries, but were only met with closed stores since it was nearing 5 pm. Along the way we found a little bit of various street art, but nothing to the level of Hoiser Lane. We walked around the suburb for about an hour taking in the scenery and looking at the shops, but soon we began getting really hungry and found a place called Vegie Bar. I would highly recommend Vegie Bar to anyone and everyone because the food was AMAZING. After Vegie Bar, we walked outside and were met with the blistering cold, so we made our way back to the bus to get back to the hostel. The next day we had a full day trip to Phillip Island, so we went to sleep early in order to be ready for a full day of seeing various Australian wildlife the next day.