Our first full day in Melbourne was packed with lots of events! After our breakfast at the YHA of Melbourne, we all set out to meet our tour guide, Matthew, for a walking tour of Melbourne. We met him outside of the city's library and traveled by foot to the Old Melbourne jail where we learned about the story of Ned Kelly, a famous Australian convict. Then, we walked to the Royal Exhibition Garden and Parliament all while learning about Melbourne's history.
As a group,we passed by the local Princess's Theatre where Matthew informed us that shows are frequently performed, the local favorite being The Book of Mormon, which typically sells out fast. China town was our next stop and was exactly how you would imagine it: paper lanterns hung from the buildings, Chinese food everywhere you look, and vibrant colors of red and gold with Chinese styled buildings.
After passing by the famous cafe lane named Center Place and Saint Paul's Cathedral, the group was introduced to Flinder's Street, which is most well known for its magnificent street art. According to our guide, the street is constantly changing from all of the artists that use the walls as their own personal canvas. In a months' time, the street could look completely unrecognizable from the art that we saw today.
Finally, we ended our tour by passing through Federation Square, past the Performing arts center and museum, and ended along the Yarra River with a sweet view of the city skyline.
After saying our "thank you's" to Matthew, we stopped for lunch at a nearby food court, then got ready to attend the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Center (MSAC) for a sports medicine discussion. When we got there, we were introduced to two experienced "sports trainers" who gave us some insight on their job. In Australia, they do not have athletic trainers, but instead have a wide range of professions that each do an American athletic trainer's job. For example, an Australian 'strapper' is in charge of taping athletes. An Australian 'Physio' is similar to a U.S. physical therapist, which focuses on rehabilitation. And finally, an Australian 'sports trainer' is a certification that specializes in first response and first aid and can be achieved in as little as ome 16 hour session. An American athletic trainer, on the other hand, encompasses all of these skills and responsibilities and requires an extensive, rigorous amount of schooling. After our discussion at MSAC, we rushed back to the hostel to prepare for the National Rugby League match for the local team the Melbourne Storm.
Two crowded tram rides later, we arrived at the lively AAMI stadium and got a quick bite to eat before finding our seats. It has been exceptionally cold through out our last two stops in Australia and some of us took the opportunity to snuggle up under blankets, especially roommates Mike and Colby, the only two guys on the trip.
During the rugby game we were reminded how little we know of this sport. For example, instead of a goal or a touchdown, when the players score it is called a 'try.' The final score was 40-12 with the Melbourne Storm coming out on top!
Tomorrow we are headed to the University of Melbourne to watch an Australian Rules Football match- Stay tuned!