Standing at the limit of an endless ocean...
hidden in the summer for a million years
|The Domain Gardens - perfect for a picnic in the shade|
Thank you to everyone who left such kind comments on Facebook about my previous post - The Insect Bride. Reading your well-wishes made our celebration even more special We spent our 25th Anniversary in Melbourne - a long-planned and much looked-forward to week of sheer indulgence.
Trying to book an apartment at the beginning of this year proved to be unexpectedly difficult, until it finally dawned on us that we were married on Melbourne Cup day, and would be staying during that City's busiest week of the year. However, I am fortunate to be married to one of the planet's greatest organisers, and even this obstacle proved no match for her mighty skills.
We arrived on a grey, chilly morning, and left a week later in a tar-melting 37 degrees, browner, happier but also poorer after enjoying shopping and cuisine in a city world-renowned for it's cafe and restaurant culture.
|The Yarra river (and Flinders station on the left) from the south bank|
Both somewhat frazzled by our regular work and commuting routine, we were determined not to spend the week rushing around and achieved this goal pretty well. It helps that Melbourne is an extremely easy city to navigate, laid out in a grid pattern and easily land-marked by the Yarra River and distinctive Eureka Tower. Following the advice of making a one week tram ticket our first priority, getting around proved to be extremely easy, especially as our centrally-located apartment genuinely was. Early mornings would see me running along the banks of the Yarra River before grabbing a couple of takeaway coffees to bring up to the apartment on my return. Our balcony caught the morning sun and despite still being on 'kiwi time' and rising early, it was wonderful to relax out there and not feel as if we had to rush to begin our day.
|Inner city living - some feat.|
When we weren't eating and spending, we visited the Jean-Paul Gaultier exhibition - already iconic and striking creations made all the more so by the mannequins wearing them. Precisely positioned projectors cast footage of human features onto their blank faces, an unsettling effect particularly when a mannequin unexpectedly blinked or even spoke to you.
|Blinkin' heck - did that dummy just open its eyes?|
The Melbourne Cup Races were an inescapable presence, and we went with the flow, drinking in the undeniable elegance on display by people-watching at Flinders Railway station, and Rose buying a 'fascinator' to wear while watching the Cup Day race at Federation Square.
We had meals with friends, one who's lived in Melbourne for two months, and the other for 20 years - both very much in love with the place and it's certainly easy to see why. One morning we hired a couple of the bikes which the City council makes available at various stations throughout the city, and traced the upper section of the Yarra river - crossing at Port Melbourne to make our way back again. Paths are well marked for cyclists, and equally, areas where they are not welcome. I'll risk incurring the wrath of the popular cyclists front of Wellington by voicing my approval. As an early morning waterfront pedestrian I dearly wish a route for cyclists could be delineated, rather than feeling as if I'm trying to walk to work on a velodrome track.
We finished our week at a long established Melbourne cabaret - entered via a ghost train. 'Dracula's' has entertained this City and the Gold coast for almost 25 years with a blend of playfully horror-infused burlesque and musical entertainment and we were treated to a seventies-themed show with well-staged and performed renditions of hits from that era.
Packing the following morning involved shoe-horning a large number of rare and long-sought blu-ray discs into our bags - now much fuller than when we had arrived. Many of these movies will be fodder for film reviews in following months - I'm looking forward to finding the time to watch them.
Our foremost impression of Melbourne is that it is an incredibly relaxed and friendly city, which made it perfect for combining a shopping trip and culinary expedition with a peaceful getaway break.
|Grungy, lively Degraves St - perfect for breakfast at any time of the day.|