If You Always Do What You've Always Done...Then You'll Always Get What You Always Got

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Escape to Melbourne

My first visit to Melbourne was a high school music tour.  In the middle of winter.  It was freezing, raining and hailing, and they took us to the beach.  Needless to say, I wasn't a huge fan of Melbourne after that.  My second visit was only as the start of the Great Ocean Road.  I noticed just how flat it is (I like hills).  It was January.  It was freezing, grey and raining.  This did not improve my opinion.  However, when my bestie moved there a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to go and visit.  This was the only wedding-free weekend before the end of this school term. 

1.  I was actually looking forward to going to Melbourne.  Partly to see Jeannie, partly to escape a nasty neighbour situation, partly to learn to at least like this city.  Post-landing required a coffee by the window.  I caught the Skybus from the airport, then bought an actual ticket and caught the train to Jeannie's nearest station.  Later, I bought a myki (like Brisbane's gocard).

2.  Although even the pilot admitted the weather was foul (11C, blustery and raining), it was great to get some wear out of my coat.  And warm cap.  Thankfully, Melbourne knows its weather is horrible and compensates with heating.  This is good.

3.  Dinner was at the Oxford Scholars' Pub, then coffee (this was I think my 5th for the day...) at the Marriott (reasonable).

4.  Bennetts Lane Jazz Club.  Fabulous.  There was no cover charge, and the evening's entertainment was in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Mabo land rights decision.  Not just the music was great, but the vibe, the service - and I noticed that we weren't at the older end of the age spectrum, there were people of all ages there.  The general vibe out and about in the city was so different from Brisbane, much less raucous. 

5.  Saturday morning.  Running.  In a new place.  With no fixed route.  Agh!  I had to remind my brain, this is a good thing.  We ran 12 km around the neighbourhood, nice long straight streets, a few gentle rises, a bit of bike path and oval.  It was lovely seeing the gardens - although not pretentious at all, just the difference between the plants in Melbourne and Brisbane was interesting.  We're both running the Melbourne half marathon, and now I'm really looking forward to it!

6.  A train and a tram and we arrived at the Ceres Organic Markets.  The actual markets were closing up, but they pointed us towards the cafe.  I could spend a whole Saturday there, easily.  90% organic, sourced as much as possible from the surrounding garden farm, recycling as much as possible - just imagine the greenest possible place.  We both had green eggs (no ham), I had my usual coffee and Jeannie had a dandelion latte.  A great place for kids, they were running around and climbing the hill and just generally mucking around.  Nice people, too.

7.  A couple more tram rides, including the city circle tram, to get to Federation Square and the National Gallery of Victoria.  We couldn't find the stained glass (next time!) but we did see the Felton collection (Aboriginal art - some of the red works were wonderfully intense) and the Joseph Brown collection, as well as a textile collection which was akin to ballet costumes, so vibrant and Australian.  In the Joseph Brown collection I finally saw many famous favourites, including The Shearing of the Rams and Lost, and some Grace Cossington-Smith paintings of the Sydney Harbour Bridge under construction. 

8.  Food was needed, and I found organic coffee bean yoghurt.  Yum.  We found the Chocolateria San Churro, a Spanish chocolate place and I didn't have anything.  Most likely, only because I had just had the yoghurt.  But still...

9.  We went to a production of Under Milk Wood.  In St David's Welsh Presbyterian Church (of course).  This was a Whistling Vicar Theatre production - still running until September 1st I think.  Both of us were a little anxious about having to listen to words so much, but there was enough acting to help us along.  Plus good singing.  Plus Welsh accents (yet no "but I am the only gay in the village"!).  And, as I was meant to have read this in high school (I admit it, I cheated), references by other family members previously went over my head but now I know what they're talking about.  I would have missed about a quarter of the dialogue still, but that's much better than I expected.

The weather was still quite overcast on Saturday, and the general landscape reminded me at various times of Sydney, Adelaide, and Canberra.  However, it is starting to grow on me.


  1. Oh my! Those cups of coffee look so good!! I really miss Aussie coffee ... no flat whites or frothy caffé lattés here. Cappuccino is the closest I can order and, even then, they don't seem to be as good as back home. So if you ever feel that you are drinking too much coffee, you can drink one for me :-)

  2. Oh that's so dangerous! but if you insist... :) I was actually surprised at how few coffees I had when in the coffee capital, but as Jeannie's given up coffee (the horror!) it wasn't every second activity suggestion. I had a taste of the dandelion latte and it was really delicious - maybe there's hope for me yet... :)