8-13 March 2009

I went to Melbourne (Australia) for the Australian International Aerospace Congress (AIAC13) where I presented my paper "The Role of Binocular Cues in Human Pilot Landing Control", but I also had some time for sightseeing.

Melbourne is a VERY international city, with lots of people from lots of different countries and a wide variety of shops and restaurants as well. The atmosphere was really nice, the weather was great (not too hot, but a very nice late summer), and so were the yoghurt and bread :-).

As usual, I checked for UNESCO sights, and as the Willandra lakes region and the Tasmanian Wilderness would be impossible to go in the short time I had, the only one left was the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens.

When I was there it was all closed, but I could get a glimpse of the inside because the old wooden doors were not closing that well and it seemed completely empty. It is said that once in a while it is still being used for trade shows or exhibitions, but unfortunately it seems there are no tours.

Lots of churches all through the city. It seems that every community has (had) its own church and didn't want to share or so. There were all kinds of things like "Scottish church", "Irish church" etc, and in all kinds of varieties of christianity. I think I took this around Flinders street station when I was on my way to some parks and the Royal botanical garden. The botanical garden was really nice by the way. I was surprised that at various spots in the gardens there were wedding parties or ceremonies going on or planned. Later I also saw this habit of "open-air wedding in the park" in Sydney.

The second day I got up early and took a train and bus to the William Ricketts Sanctuary. It is a sculpture garden with lots of ferns in a hilly, forested place.

The garden is not very big, but there are a lot of sculptures. A video showed what a weird character this Ricketts was and explains about how his contacts with the aboriginals inspired him.

When I arrived at Melbourne central station (I wanted to do some shopping, especially stuff for easter) a lot of escalators finally brought me to this place.

[HDR] After one of the congress days I decided to go for a walk along the river

[HDR] Federation Square by night

This is a cute little church across the hotel where I stayed (Alto hotel on Bourke). I was very happy with the hotel, it's close to the Southern Cross station, about 10min walk from the convention center, had great breakfast and internet access included and offered a relatively good price (internet booking).

One of the weird things in Melbourne is the way they want you to turn right... (Note: they drive on the left side). It really creates a weird traffic situation, but I was told it is in order not to block the trams (which use the rails in the middle)

This picture shows all the benefits of that system... (not)

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