So its been quiet in The Darling Times bloghouse this week - because I have been on holiday! (And yes probably should have been updating constantly at the time but I’m still not the most up to date with uploading from my phone on the move. Must get better at multitasking.)
So Melbourne baby!
An Englishman, an Australian and myself flew to Melbourne early Tuesday morning, and I was the only one who’d actually been to this great city before! So after a frustratingly delayed flight and skybussed it in to the city centre, I led Laurence and Rachel to Degraves Street for some lunch. We’d also been past the tourist information and drowned ourselves in maps; over a salmon pizza, vege pizza and pan of mussels, and the all important glass of wine, we tried to figure out our plan for the next couple of days!
Mapping plans on Degraves Street
Wandering through some of the laneways, hopping on the City Circle tram and finding a couple of shops was decided as the next stop for us, and later as the sun left the sky we were enjoying a mulled wine at Ponyfish Island.
Last time I was in Melbourne, a friend introduced me to Ponyfish, a bar hidden under the Yarra pedestrian bridge (yes it sits in the middle of the Yarra!). What a great location for a bar! Its on one of the main routes home from work for many on the way to Flinders Street Station: the perfect place to stop for a beer whilst skipping the hectic rushhour traffic!
Finally we thought we should drop off our bags: my delightful flatmate Will was putting us all up for the few days in Glen Iris, about 20 mins from the city via train. And once Vegetarian Mexican Feast was decided upon for the evening, we were soon cooking up a Bean Burrito hotpot and nachos, with the beers and caipirinhas flowing. Very very good!
Hoping for an early start, we munched our way through crumpets at Will’s and were soon on our way back into the City, with a bit of a ticketing debarcle to start the day. Melbourne is heading over to a MyKi system, much like the London Oyster Card, and single tickets are slowly being phased out. Annoying for tourists like us!
I had a couple of Laneways on my list to see: Hosier Lane, ACDC Lane and Duckboard Place: great graffiti and heaps of photos taken!
Beauty & Desruction? @Hosier Lane
Sticky Date & Rocky Road Cupcakes: The Cupcake Bakery
After stopping for a coffee and cupcake (mmm!) we headed on down to the Immigration Museum on Flinders Street. They’ve done the permanent exhibitions so well, both informative and interactive, and not just for children. As a person who’s fallen in love in Australia over the last year, I found many of the stories about those who’ve set a life up over here incredibly moving.
And there was a play-area upstairs too, where we could make “flying objects” using plastic bottles, felt, rubber and other bibs and bobs. Definitely a fun hour wasted getting creative!
Fitzroy and Brunswick Street was next on the to-do list, and lunch necessary - it was now 4pm. Our afternoon on Brunswick will have to be in another blog post here, as there’s too many places to talk about!
Little bit of a lazy morning after the shenanigans of the previous evening, and we headed into the City for a spot of Italian for lunch. Well, Laurence was feeling a little under the weather still, so Rachel and I munched on ravioli and gnocchi from Maccaroni Trattoria on Manchester Lane. Great cheap eat for a quick lunch.
After running a couple of errands, we all caught up again at the National Gallery of Victoria, Federation Square. I remembered the Indigenous Collection from when I was here in January, and it was still just as beautiful and incredible. The use of colour and representation is just fantastic. I find aboriginal art often has limited connotations of earthy tones and dot paintings, as this is what is seen in tourist areas and transmitted across the globe. However, contemporary artwork is much more experimental in its use of colour and meaning, yet still based on indigenous stories surrounding The Dreaming.
A temporary exhibiton was also displayed: Linda Jackson’s Bush Couture, showcasing some of her pieces alongside recordings and photographs of her work being modelled across Australia. Her work draws on a very Asian/African-tribal influence and her experimentation with materials and colour is pretty good. Super-funky!
Linda Jackson: Bush Couture
I then spent donkey hours in the NGV shop going through all the books, flirting with purchasing myself a whole array of stunning books. (The amount of coffee tables I’m going to need in my own apartment is unreal!) Eventually couldn’t say no to one concentrating on Indigenous Art, relevant to the NGV collection and containing some beautiful imagery and photographs alongside communities stories. Resolved to give it to a friend.
Sadly this was the point Rachel had to love us and leave us to head to the airport and fly back to Sydney. And as Laurence headed back to Will’s to partake in some traditional Victorian Chicken Parmy or something, I set to catch up with a friend I met in Bali before Christmas.
Headed on to meet Michael and wandered up to Tattersalls Lane just off from Chinatown. Basically a cocktail bar living out of a container with a blocks and cushions to sit on and enjoy your evening. I now find out that its called Section 8. Had a couple of excellent cocktails but cannot remember all the ingredients:
Daddy Cool: tequila, lime and something, salt & pepper rim
Sloe & Steady: sloe gin, apricot brandy and something else
A work out was next as we ran up the 10 flights of stairs up to the Rooftop Bar on Swanston Street for a cheeky couple of glasses of mulled wine. Great bar - looking across the whole of Melbourne city; you feel like you’re in an urban garden party oasis with green astroturf under your feet! Apparently they also have film screenings here every week in the summer months: sounds worth a check out!
Heading back to Glen Iris, got off the tram far too early and this cyclist decided to freak me out by slowing down on a deserted dark street and then bike past me again…luckily I realised it was Ben, Will’s cousin and he could show me the way home!
Then it was to bed, with a 4.45am wake up to allow us to run to the airport for our flight back to Sydney.
Fantastic stopover in a super city - I’m thinking I might try and live in Melbs for a few months when I come back to Australia in 2013 (if thats the plan!)