Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Art, Penguins and Italian...

Art has long been my first love. Studying a fine art degree only strengthened my love and understanding of visual art. There was no doubt in my mind that while in Melbourne I would be visiting the National Gallery of Victoria again. Cohen whiled away three hours without protest which allowed me to explore the the gallery, until the noises of complaint started and he needed a nap at the hotel. Even in three hours I was unable to cover as much of the gallery as I had hoped, but enjoyed everything I saw.

We stopped for dainty sandwiches and a macaroon, wandered wide eyed through the different exhibitions and different floors. Sat on the large black leather seat to admire an artists interpretation of Cleopatra astonishing Marc Antony as she prepared to drop a priceless pearl into vinegar, which she then drank.
"There have been two pearls that were the largest in the whole of history; both were owned by Cleopatra, the last of the Queens of Egypt--they had come down to her through the hands of the Kings of the East....In accordance with previous instructions the servants placed in front of her only a single vessel containing vinegar, the strong rough quality of which can melt pearls. She was at the moment wearing in her ears that remarkable and truly unique work of nature. Antony was full of curiosity to see what in the world she was going to do. She took one earring off and dropped the pearl in the vinegar, and when it was melted swallowed it..." Pliny, Natural History
That night we ate at the loveliest Italian restaurant while a French waitress ensured that Cohen was occupied in his highchair, so that we might eat our amazing meal with the least amount of disturbances.

Our last day in Melbourne we took Cohen to see the Aquarium. We delighted in his joy and fascination as he encountered fish, stingrays, jellyfish and sharks for the first time and like children we enjoyed every minute ourselves. There is something so breathtaking about watching a shark glide over you, or searching for a seahorse that is camouflaged amidst the seaweed. Truly we do learn something new each day, for I learnt that day that day that Australian fresh water eels will live in rivers and billabongs until they are ten years of age, at which point they will travel across land and thousands of kilometers to get to salt water and breed before their death.
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