It is now sixteen months since the pandemic Coronavirus COVID-19 struck us and for the majority of that time we have been under quite heavy restrictions. It is not possible to take a flight out of the country except for special reasons, and travel & holidays are not special reasons!
We have both had our second COVID jab but there is still a very long way to go before enough people are vaccinated to allow travel to start again.
So where do we stand now? Victoria has been almost COVID free for some weeks but now New South Wales has had a major outbreak and they have gone into lock-down. Hard borders between the states are once again in place.
Another window of opportunity to get away arose last week-end when a memorial gathering was held in Melbourne for a relative who died in May 2020 but the majority of family and friends were unable to attend the funeral. We took the chance to stay over night in the city and enjoyed the change of pace and scenery.
After attending the memorial gathering we went for a light meal in Lygon Street Carlton. The atmosphere was electric because the Azzurri, the Italian football team, were playing in the Euro Cup 2020 final later that night. With press cameras, scarfs, flags and supportive signs, it was fun to be a part of the occasion. The final did not start until 5 am Australian time so we awoke the next morning to the happy result.
In the meantime we enjoyed pizza & red wine, then Nutella crepes with strawberries for me and a caffe corretto for him. Buono!
By the end of this pandemic we will be the most cultured art fans around! The National Gallery of Victoria has an exhibition 'Melbourne Winter Masterpieces - French Impressionism' so after booking tickets and a time to attend (crowd control) we were once again looking at great works of art.
We are beginning to wonder how many lily ponds, Giverny bridges and hay stacks we have seen around the world but as Monet lived to 86 years I guess there are still more to see.
This exhibition is beautifully arranged with great quotes segueing between each of the ten rooms; each further enlightening the reader. The circular room with fourteen Monet's was amazing, and there were another three amongst the more than one hundred paintings from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. As well as Monet there are canvases by Van Gogh, Renoir, Manet, Pissarro, Degas, Cezanne and several others. A new name that caught our attention was Eugene Baudin. It was Baudin who encouraged the teen-aged Monet to paint from nature, especially in 'plein air.'
No trip to Melbourne is complete without a visit to Mediterranean Wholesalers in Sydney Road Coburg. First the coffee and then the shopping!
Mid afternoon we were on the road home again...but not finished with art yet. A long-time friend of our daughter's had a small exhibition with the Seymour Arts Society so we called in to see her work. Entitled The Birds and the Bees, both artists used different media to portray their theme. This tiny exhibition only took ten minutes to see but how impressive to have such an opportunity in the small town of Seymour. Well done ladies and SAS.