Sunday, 23 August 2015

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, JULY 2015


























Melbourne (City)














St Kilda
































It's incredible what two months away from home can do for your grounding and your "emotional" gravitational pull. Despite the great times and adventures that I had in Australia, it sure is good to be home. Scrapbooking and blogging on the agenda with a dash of smoothie making and a big helping of SimCity 5 (oops)... I am reminded of the many things that I enjoy in life. However, that's not to say that I didn't enjoy Australia because I bloody did. I spend most of my time in Newcastle, NSW visiting and making friends. But my first 'proper' trip was one to Melbourne, Victoria. I regret that time and money reduced my stay to only 2 nights, and I would have liked a few more in hindsight (maybe a long weekend sorta thing) but nonetheless I really enjoyed it. Being named the world's most livable city for the fourth time, it's no surprise Melbourne was a great experience. 

I stayed in the Base Backpackers hostel in St Kilda. It was my first experience staying in a hostel, although I did stay in a private room and not the main hostel-hostel rooms. It was really good, considering all the horror stories you hear about hostels. The kitchen was super nice and clean, the bar/lounge area was real trendy and the staff were heaps friendly. Noise didn't ever get bad. Although, I will say... the fire alarm went off at one point followed by an announcement that 5 dollar burgers were on sale downstairs. Hm.  I would recommend staying here though, it was fairly priced, an alright tram distance from the main city and a taxi back from the main city at night wasn't too expensive, about twenty or thirty dollars I think.


My strongest memory of my couple of days in the city was the street art. Melbourne is quite well known for its heaps of street art but my favourite was that of Franklin Street (...I think?) just round the corner from St Paul's Cathedral. It was so colourful and vibrant and there was nothing but creative vibes - people were even spray painting whatever blank crevices they could find as we wandered the rainbow streets. There was also lots of street side cafés and sandwich shops around the city too, offering plenty of extremely affordable sandwiches and sushi. Don't buy the first sarnie that catches your hungry eyes though - as competition is clearly a thing and each store was cheaper than the last. 

I always enjoy China Town areas of cities due to my love for the cuisine and for Hello Kitty paraphernalia. I recall thinking to myself that Melbourne's China Town was better than the one in Sydney, just as an FYI. There were reams and reams of restaurants, and it took a while to find a menu with a fair enough vegetarian selection. Eventually we dined in a restaurant on the Town's outskirts (I regret I cannot remember the name) and it was an alright meal. The dumplings were too big for my mouth which took away from my enjoyment, honestly. But the service was attentive enough. 

Nightlife, I didn't experience much of due to my short stay of only 2 nights. However, we did make a visit to Cherry Bar on the wednesday night. I can see why this place is a hit amongst the hipsters and lovers of all things vintage. I would compare it to the wednesday nights of HiFi club in Leeds, only more busy. The club interior was nice, and it was only $5AUD to get in. If you're into motown, the 60s, floral flares and sharp hair cuts with fringes, then this is definitely your thing. Definitely go. For me, however, not my best night out. First of all, the staff was incredibly rude. Like, seriously rude. I have pretty high standards for service anyway but I was genuinely shocked by the staff's approach to customer service. The lady taking the money and running the cloak room practically shouted at some poor guy in front of us when he was depositing his jacket into the store room. Then, when ordering my EXPENSIVE and DISGUSTING drink which I sincerely doubt contained any real alcohol at all, the woman that served me was cold and impatient. Other bar staff were too busy chatting to their friends despite the hoards of people crowded around the bar. Definitely pre drink. A lot. 

One of the best features of Melbourne was definitely its public transport, and that's no secret. The trams of Melbourne were fantastic. I've always shied away from trams, not quite understanding how they worked, but I had no trouble at all. Trams are FREE in the main circle of the city and there's a special tram (as pictured above) that goes on a loop route around the city, for free, with occasional commentary to point out touristy bits and bobs. This tram could get pretty crowded, but it was a great way to conduct your own tour of the city. 

St Kilda was my favourite part of Melbourne and possible my favourite part of the entire Australia trip. Although, it was a fair distanced tram ride out of the main city, I would definitely recommend making the journey. With gymwear/lingerie shops, trendy bars, French bakeries and vegetarian restaurants, I was in my own little bubble of heaven. Plus there's Luna Park, which isn't really my thing, but it's a nice feature of the area and I'm sure it takes the fancy of many. My favourite features of St Kilda were Sister of Soul and Lentil As Anything, 2 very different but very wonderful vegetarian dining experiences. 

Sister of Soul, situated on a corner right towards the seafront and Luna Park, had big windows allowing for lots of light. A very #trendy interior and #trendy service staff, and an outstanding fully vegetarian/vegan selection for us veggie folk. Breakfast seemed to be a speciality of theirs but I dined there in the evening (but not before popping in for a midday for an Acai superfoods smoothie as pictured above)! For my evening meal, I had the aubergine/eggplant rasavangy curry (pictured above), which comes with poppadoms, yoghurt and jasmine rice... and I've been putting aubergine/eggplant into my curries ever since. Other dishes that caught my fancy were the rawsagna and the miso udon, but any of the dishes I would have devoured given the chance. Check out their menu here

Lentil As Anything was an experience that I'd never had before and it's something I would definitely do again. Lentil As Anything is a bit different because it is a "pay as you feel" system and thus there are no prices on the menu. You simply order, eat your meal, and put whatever cash you feel or can afford into the wooden box before you leave. It's fully vegetarian and not-for-profit. The menu we received had a 'smaller' and 'larger' list, dividing the dishes into two. I shared the 'larger' dish of lasagne and not only was it extremely filling, but it was THE BEST vegetarian lasagne I have ever eaten.  I can't remember the other dishes available, but although the menu was quite small, there was a modestly amicable selection and the food was fantastic. Plus the kitchen was right in the centre of the dining area, so you could watch the action unfold. Really great. 

There was a community garden in St Kilda as well, a large allotment area with lots of plants and veggies growing and seemingly an art centre, with a sandpit outside for kids to play in. To my delight, however, was the fact that there were chickens... and birds... and guinea pigs? It seemed pretty random but it was really cool and it was nice to do a couple laps of it, discovering all the neat little quirks of each section. And of course, St Kilda has the sea front. But watter is watter init. SeA for yaself. 

WARNING - DO NOT EAT AT SHIFU DUMPLING EXPRESS (St Kilda). MYSELF AND MY TRAVELLING COMPANION BOTH GOT A "LIIIIIITTLE" BIT ILL FROM THEIR FOOD. I wasn't too bad, probably due to the lack of meat in my meal, but my omnivorous friend was quite poorly. And bad service too! Very unattentive, forgot my rice dish, generally underwhelming dining atmosphere. Plus, my veggie dumplings didn't even taste particularly nice. Big fat no. No no no. NO.

2 comments:

  1. Melbourne looks like such a cool city - would love to visit! Obsessed with graffiti and Chinese food so it is definitely on our bucket lists :)
    Feel free to check out our latest post x
    http://looklovewear.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/autumnwinter-wishlist.html

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  2. Uauuu, I'm in love with those pictures, specially of the food :p
    I'm following your blog; if you want check mine :p

    xoxo,

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