Who would’ve thought? Certainly not me.
While Niall took the opportunity to visit Belfast for his grandad’s 90th, I decided to spend some quality time with my darling sisters Holly and Cherie. Holly lives in Melbourne and emailed to let us know it would be ‘hot as balls’ while we were there. After checking the forecast I proceeded to tell Holly that she’d been living in Melbourne far too long if she considered 31c hot as balls.
Oh boy, did I eat my words. The forecast only stretched to Sunday and by Tuesday it was a stinking 43c. Being quite the anomaly for Melbourne, every taxi driver, shop assistant and even a little old man on the street wished to discuss what we thought of the day’s weather. Early on in the day we were unphased, it was just like home. By late afternoon we were cutting our exploration short and taking turns to cool off in the shower.
Anecdote aside, we had a wonderful time and were reminded why Melbourne is an easy city to love. Here’s what we got up to:
Gazi- owned by celebrity chef George Calombaris, Gazi is a no fuss restaurant serving up Greek street food. This relaxed establishment has terracotta pots lining the ceiling and lovely staff.
Vegie Bar- located in Fitzroy, an area full of hippies and hipsters, is this little gem. Vegie Bar is unanimously regarded as Melbourne’s best vegetarian restaurant (according to my source, Holly). Well, I wasn’t disappointed. After South America I was craving some leafy greens and ordered the appropriately named ‘mostly greens’ with tempeh and temari. Washed down with a ‘ginger ninja’, it hit the spot. The menu is so extensive I’m sure you could eat here for a week without getting bored.
Chin chin- this Flinders Lane restaurant has an amazing reputation, and as it turns out, one that’s well deserved. Chin Chin served up possibly the best SE asian dishes I’ve had outside of Asia. It was definitely the best meal we had in Melbourne and at 2.30 pm on a Monday there was no need to wait in line. Full of flavour, the laab gai and massaman were standouts.
Fonda Mexican- not to be mistaken with a sloppy Mexican takeaway joint, Richmond’s Fonda delivers delicious mexican staples such as tacos, burritos, quesadillas, tortilla chips and charred corn. All coupled with a selection of refreshing beverages. Treat yourself to the lychee and elderberry frozen margarita.
Mr Wow’s Emporium- this place is oh so Melbourne. Situated in Fitzroy, it offers free popcorn, indoor bocce, pool and ping pong. All to a soundtrack of sweet indie tunes. It’d be hard not to have fun here.
El econimico- had Holly not promised me a delicious and decently priced mojito, I’m not sure this is a bar I would of naturally walked into. The dimly lit bar is fully caged, and you must buy tickets to purchase a drink like you’re at a music festival. The room is very bare, with the exception of some cardboard signs stating that you must drink. But these guys know what they’re doing. The mojito, served in a plastic cup, was delicious. And had it not been, there is lime juice for you to mix in as you please. As an added bonus there’s dominos to take you back to your childhood.
Speakeasy bar- has a courtyard off commercial rd perfect for an afternoon bevvy when the sun is shining. There is also an inside section accessible from chapel st.
The Alchemist- the staff here know how to make a good cocktail, pity they let you order then tell you that you have 5 minutes to drink it before closing..
Rooftop Bar- located on Swanston this bar by day, cinema by night is a perfect place to relax with a glass of pimms (or any drink for that matter). Provided the sun’s out of course.
Yoga- it wasn’t all drinking. We also got our asses out of bed for a spot of yoga, of which there is no shortage in Melbourne. I had forgotten what a great workout it could be. Even Cherie was sweating more than in a dance class.
King Kong- it’s no Lion King. Most of the songs aren’t particularly catchy and the show seems to lack something. It comes across a bit confused, but King Kong himself is truely spectacular. Weighing more than one tonne and with a number of puppeteers King Kong is made up of some crazy animatronics. The facial expressions and emotions the creators are able to produce make him a very believable character. This and some songs like Get Happy make it a production still worth seeing. And the Regent Theater is a lovely setting to take it all in.
Shopping- no trip to Melbourne would be complete without some serious shopping. Of course, the perfect spot to start is Chapel St.
We also hit up the Rose St Artists Market which by chance had a rooftop bar to quench the thirst we’d worked up. How convenient.
Not satisfied with only one days shopping, Cherie and I also explored the CBD and Bridge St while Holly worked (sucker).
Beach Time- as I’ve said, you don’t visit Perth for the city. And by the same token, you don’t visit Melbourne for the beaches. Yes, I’m a total beach snob. That aside we had fun down at Port Melbourne eating fish n chips and playing frisbee while the sun went down.
St Kilda was also on my must see list, not having been before. And while it was much nicer than Port Melbourne, it wasn’t quite inviting enough to get us in the water. Still, nice for a stroll with slushy in hand.
Street Art & Laneways- this city is famous for them. And rightly so, they give Melbourne plenty of character and charm.
Sunset Sounds- staged in a few locations we chose to set up shop at Victoria Gardens, Prahan. Armed with a picnic rug, blanket, cider and nibblies, we enjoyed the lovely sounds of a local band playing a collection of soul and motown classics. Perfect.
And finally, an activity which has nothing to do with Melbourne specifically. Cards Against Humanity, possibly my new favourite game. Not suitable for kids, people lacking a sense of humour, or those easily offended. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.