Central Park has Strawberry Fields. Hyde Park has its Speakers' Corner. But Albert Park in Melbourne has ducks. Lots and lots of ducks. And cool ducks too! These ducks have to tolerate a large amount of unwanted and unwarranted noise when, in March every year, the Formula One Grand Prix races its first event of the year there. But these said ducks handle this motorised inconvenience with an equal measure of aplomb and blatant disregard.
And from all accounts, those more human and less duckly visitors who venture to Albert Park, including many who do it on a daily basis, seem to handle it in much the same way. This is, after all, the best part of the best city in the world. By that very notion: the best place in the free world. A little grandiose, maybe, but no less accurate.
Albert Park, now officially the best park in the entire universe, has the proverbial something for everything. BBQs littered around the lake that forever have the smell of grilled meat permeating the air. Five-star function rooms that show city views. Restaurants on the water that serve any cuisine imaginable. And did I say ducks. Lots and lots of ducks.
Albert Park and its surrounding lake is also a gym for a lot of would be gym-junkies, if gyms weren't the worst place ever. You'll see everyday runners pounding the pavement around the lake, geriatric riders lapping the racetrack in too-tight spandex and private school pupils row-row-rowing their private school boats on the lake itself.
Albert Park is on the doorstep of the greatest city in the world and within streets of, well, a pretty ordinary bay, to be honest. But despite being so close to a buzzing metropolis and a smelly sea, it still retains a sense of the serene. Drive there sometime. Just watch out for the ducks.