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Al la Colthard

Melbourne is both bi-cultural and multi-cultural. The dominant cultures are American and British. The skyline is one of skyscrapers, there is a grid system of blocks. You feel you are in Houston or Seattle.

Alongside this the Queen is on the coin, the Union Jack on the flag and there is colonial British architecture too. Add to this mix the Chinese and Greek populace and you have a polyglot City. It’s great rival is Sydney, so much so that to make one the capital would only have offended the other, hence the choice of Canberra where sheep graze on the hills.

The Grand Hyatt where we stayed was big, glitzy hotel. It was fine but after a while the Muzak, lift  not responding  to the room cards , lack of warmth  and atmosphere  did begin to tell. Of the hotels we have stayed in thus far it was the least memorable. The breakfast buffet though with a section offering the full works including freshly-braised glazed ham ranked with the best.

I enjoyed a fine fish supper at the  Box in Collins St nearby the hotel where the whole flounder was delicious and the oysters creamily tasty.  The Moviado  a Spanish restaurant was spoiled by a one diner,a friend of a friend, causing one of those embarasing rows complaining  that he had to pay too much as he had a coke not red wine.  He refused to pay any service charge even though we explained the service change may not finish in the hand of the hard working young waitress who explained the Spanish dishes carefully. Ok they were not of  Seville standard but these arguments tarnish the evening.

Today we left for Sydney  and who did I meet as I boarded the plane but Aussie skipper Steve Smith. I would not mind delivering a bouncer on his stumps!!!