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Fifth continent

In no one of the prosperous countries of the world can you find such a combination of prosperity with untouched nature and limitless open spaces …

Today, Aeroflot refused to fly to Australia, citing economic reasons. However, the KLM Boeing 747 crammed full of passengers (including from Russia) suggests that the “economic reasons” for canceling flights are associated only with inept management at our airline.

The Amsterdam – Sydney route is the longest for KLM and the execution of it is entrusted to the best crews. We landed at Sydney International Airport in the afternoon and two hours later I flew on, to Adelaide, on the Boeing of the local ANSET airline.

ADELAIDE

Adelaide, the capital of the state of South Australia, is a calm millionth city on the ocean. The central multi-storey part with several modern skyscrapers is small, and the main city consists of one or two storey houses in which Adelaideans live. Striking is the perfect cleanliness, accuracy and impeccable finish of buildings.

Leaving the hotel in the morning, I was surprised by the vociferous singing of birds. At first it seemed to me that this was just music from the player, noting the inclusion of green light at the crossroads (in Japan and Korea, green light is usually accompanied by birdsong), but there were no traffic lights around, and the singing continued. The low transparent blue sky with clearly defined clouds and a completely unusual flora for us leaves a strong impression. The first thick book I read as a child was “Children of Captain Grant” by Jules Verne, and I was surprised to recognize the drawings from this book that seemed almost fantastic in the landscape surrounding me.

I was interested in the art of Aboriginal Australia. The fact is that in 1990 an exhibition of paintings by Aboriginal artists was held at the Museum of Ethnography of St. Petersburg, it made a great impression on me and wanted to know more about this art. Adelaide is home to the Tandanya Aboriginal Art Center, which has a rich library and hosts exhibitions of Aboriginal artists. A good original picture can be purchased for 300-400 US dollars. Of course, for a professor from Russia this is a large amount, but for our businessmen it is quite acceptable. Outwardly, the picture is attractive even for a person of an average cultural level, but their value is very great for Russia, if only because I don’t know a single collection containing paintings by Australian authors. I highly recommend to those who have managed to steal quite a lot, fork out and buy some of these paintings for themselves, while realizing that they partially atone for their guilt by importing cultural property to their homeland.

Despite the advice of my friends, I decided to take a bus from Adelaide to Melbourne. A ticket costs 40 Australian dollars, but you enjoy watching the Australian landscape, getting to know the small neat towns that meet along the way (350 km). I left at 8.15 in the morning and already at 19.30 was in Melbourne. Small cities are characterized by wide streets, beautiful buildings of the colonial period, in excellent condition and plenty of greenery.

Australians are calm and friendly, on the streets, in shops, in cafes and bars, I have never encountered rudeness and have not witnessed loud-voiced clarifications of relations.

At first, we drove along a freeway with a split traffic, but very soon the road narrowed, resembling our regional roads, and only 90 kilometers to Melbourne again turned into a freeway. Passing the hills surrounding Adelaide, we drove on a flat road with endless fields of wheat that alternated with forest stands. After Horsham in Victoria, the road again went along hilly terrain, giant thuja trees and magnolias began to appear, we drove through virgin forests and picturesque valleys. The small cities of Apart, Borfort, Ballarat were surprised by the accuracy, perfectly preserved architectural monuments of the Victorian era and cleanliness.

MELBOURNE

Melbourne appeared unexpectedly. A huge group of modern skyscrapers stood out clearly on the plain scorched by the sun. A few more minutes – and we were at the city bus station. Melbourne and Sydney are rightfully among the five most beautiful cities in the world. Beauty is achieved by a mixture of architectural styles. Here, modern buildings of glass and steel are adjoined by administrative buildings and banks of the colonial time. The city center is a rectangle, the perimeter of which runs until 6 pm the so-called “city ring tram”, the passage on which costs nothing. The four-axle tram cars themselves – buildings of the beginning of the century – are in excellent condition and riding on it gives great pleasure. In addition, using it, you can explore the entire city center. In general, the city tram is the most important form of public transport. Tram tracks, as well as rolling stock, are in excellent condition.

Of course, traffic jams occur due to heavy traffic. Once I had to go about 1.5 km in order to transfer from the carriage at the tail end of the carriage to another tram leaving the traffic jam. It is worth visiting the art gallery, which in its richness cannot be compared with our collections, but the aesthetics of the design of the exhibitions certainly deserves attention. In addition, there are several famous paintings by French impressionists. There are a lot of attractions in and around the city (for example, Victoria Markt), but I don’t want to specifically recommend something to our tourists, the whole city is interesting in itself and therefore I advise you just to wander around the center, go to restaurants and bars, take the nearest tram beach.

SYDNEY

I had very little time left on Sydney. According to the original plan, I arrived in Sydney by plane at 13.00, departing from Melbourne at 11.00. However, I ended up at Melbourne Airport at 8.55 and, having instantly issued travel documents, managed to catch a plane flying to Sydney at 9.00. As a result, at 11.00 I was already in place. The airport has automatic lockers (the same as we had in the early 80s), and using a shuttle bus (costing Austrian 9 dollars round trip), I ended up in the city center on Alfred Street, right in Sydney Harbor . To my left is the famous Sydney Suspension Bridge (a miracle of technology from the beginning of the century), to the right is the huge shell of the Sydney Opera House. Not reaching the bridge, on the left, next to the historic building of the Ocean Marine Station, there is an observation deck from where you can take excellent pictures of the opera house and a group of skyscrapers adjacent to the harbor. The landscape is adorned by the Cahil Expressway and the railway running under the foreground, at the height of the 6-7th floor. Rounding the harbor, I went to the opera house and then I was disappointed. The dazzling white surface of the huge shells – the roof of the theater – was covered with banal white ceramic tiles, and the glass of the theater was dirty and, apparently, did not wash for a long time. Then I went along Pitt Street to the city center to the TV tower, which is also an important attraction. There is a monorail station on the corner of Market Street and for those who have not used this mode of transport, I highly recommend making a ring through Darling Harbor past the exhibition center and the Maritime Museum. The monorail sometimes runs through buildings, sometimes it hangs over water or goes over the sidewalk, taking up very little space in urban traffic. The entire route takes about half an hour, but you will have time to see a lot.

  1. Returning to Market Street, I turned onto George Street’s main street, inspecting it from the huge Queen Victoria Building, a colonial-style red stone department store. Walking north back to the harbor, I headed to the historic Rocks district, where Sydney began. There are many private restaurants and bars, and from here you can climb the famous Sydney Bridge. The bars are free and comfortable, a glass of beer costs about 2 Australian dollars and you are instantly served. It was already four o’clock and it was necessary to return to the airport. I flew back with the KLM. There was a table with the inscription “Aeroflot” hanging at the Sydney airport, and I was delighted to think that our airline resumed flights to Australia, but it turned out that the plate remained from the old days.
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