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Istanbul, I and II:


I managed not to take any photos of trams in Belgrade, the only place we actually caught one. It looked quite similar to most of the others.


Bratislava was too small and uneventful to have trams.


Subtly, every tram is different. Actually, though, through most of central/eastern Europe they feel very similar. They're quite slow, and quaint; they stop a lot; and they don't service much outside a pretty central hub of the city. They don't really have all that much in common with trams in Melbourne, even though it's very much my nostalgia for those which spurs me to take all these photos.

Trams in the Netherlands are closer, except in the centre of Amsterdam, where they revert to quaint and uncomfortable. Here, for example, is a serious looking tram coming up to a serious looking tram stop in Rotterdam. From memory, I was catching this tram alone to escape a karaoke night.

It's pretty hard to explain all this, to an audience of people not from Melbourne (who don't have any trams to miss) and people in Melbourne (who it's probably never occurred to that you might miss them). But you do. One night, in the middle of what was then my longest time in England without going home, I half-dreamt that there was a tram rattling down the High Street in Oxford.

I have a tram pencilcase, and a tram teatowel. Partly this is just the way you accumulate stuff, when people have realised you like something: the same thing explains why I at one point had five bottles of Amaretto, and why my housemate owns an absurd number of fox-related objects.

But partly it's one of the motley collection of things you never used to think about - trams, Christmas in July, Midnight Oil, lamingtons, the ABC news theme - which you, in a strange place, gather around you almost defensively to fend off the unfamiliarity.