august in melbourne - day one
When my friend Owlgirl got back from her first trip to Sydney recently she'd come up with a theory about the differences between Melbourne and Sydney. If the two cities were people, you would date Melbourne for its quirky personality whereas you would date Sydney because it was just so incredibly beautiful.
I don't disagree with this, but I did add the caveat that if you were dating Sydney you'd discover as time went on that the anthropomorphic personification of the city did all of these cool activities that you never knew about and that it would regularly surprise you.
And now, being back in Melbourne for the first time in about 18 months I do wonder if after a while of dating Melbourne you'd start to wonder if he ever actually took a bath... you'd also start to realise that he had some really ugly tattoos.
Yeah... I think I've pretty much beaten that analogy to death...
In case it wasn't completely obvious, I'm a little bit ambivalent about being in Melbourne. Yes, it's nice to get away from Adelaide and do some things that we can't do back at home, but this isn't a trip I've been excited about.
Part of that was because of all the job application stuff before I left which I think has been weighing on my mind even though my application is submitted and it's in the lap of the gods now, but I wasn't excited at all this week... not even yesterday when I had the day off work... I wasn't excited when I was packing my bag, I wasn't excited when I got up at the crack of sparrow's fart this morning, I wasn't excited at the airport...
Generally the trip to the airport wasn't too bad... it did start raining about halfway there, but rain definitely seems to have been the order of the day today. And the flight, while a little bumpier than I would normally like (especially as we came in to land at Melbourne Airport, I swear we were going a little too fast as we touched down, and it was all a bit rocky before that), is a mercifully short flight overall.
When we got to Melbourne airport, the nice man from the chauffer car company was waiting for us... and really, I never get tired of seeing someone holding a sign with my name on it... although these days it's normally an iPad.
It seemed to take forever for my bag to come out... but I get the feeling that my suitcase may have been one of the first ones to make it on the plane. And it's always good to have a distinctive bag... whether it's Ma's virulently pink case or the fact I have Gary Seaman flying pod stickers on mine.
The chauffer guy was really nice, and brought us into the city a different way, via Grattan and, I think, Rathdowne Streeets, rather than the way we've come in previously. He also dropped us right at the door of the hotel, even though it's down a little one way paved lane thing. I'm guessing it was probably around 10am or so by that stage... although possibly a little later.
As with what usually happens when we wander around on our first day in any city, I'm not completely sure where the hell we went... I know it will come back to me as I type, but right now I'm having trouble remembering the order of anything.
I know we ended up at Bourke Street to have a bit of a poke around at the shops (which, to be honest, we really didn't do) and check out the street art in Union Lane (which we did... as per some of the photos in this post... and I released a few eyeBirds into the wild).
Then, because it's only around the corner we ended up at Minotaur. I was partially tempted by their vinyl toy offerings, but resisted, because I wanted to see what Villain had first.
They do make a decent ham, cheese and tomato toasty though... but their minestrone soup is so so... and their mocha is pretty much just a coffee. A decent coffee though.
After that we wandered back down Elizabeth Street, stopped off at Outré Gallery to look at their art and things... I was very tempted by a couple of their pieces but while I liked them, I didn't LIKE THEM like them... so I passed.
It was around that time that it started to rain a little bit... so we mostly stuck to what cover we could find and headed over to QV to check out Villain.
I didn't go completely crazy with vinyl this time around, and as always with blindboxes, you picks your box and takes your chances... in a couple of cases, this was good, in a couple of cases it was just okay.
I ended up being glad that I hadn't bought any artwork from Outré since they actually had some stuff in Villain that was completely awesome AND original artwork. I ended up buying a piece by Luke Feldman (aka Skaffs) which was pretty damn awesome! And which also fits nicely into my ever growing collection of monochrome artwork.
After Villain we decided to head back to the hotel to drop off my purchases (paper artwork plus paper bag plus rain is just asking for trouble) and to see if my room was ready.
We spent about quarter of an hour or so unpacking and sorting ourselves out in our separate rooms before I traipsed down the hall with my vinyl purchases so I could unbox them and show Ma.
Then we headed back out again with the intention of hitting the Queen Victoria Markets. I'm somewhat in the market for a leather jacket... something not overly heavy, probably with those fetching arm stripes, etc. I knew that it was unlikely that I would find one that I actually liked and that was in my size, but I figured, what the hell.
We decided to jump on the free Circle Tram which is usually a good idea, except for the fact that it's often completely packed... which it wasn't when we got on, but was not long after. That was fine, although the annoying small child across from us who wouldn't shut up was a little draining. I'm still not sure if we jumped off the tram at the optimal stop for the markets or whether we could have stayed on for another stop, but a bunch of other people were jumping off, and I'd had enough of the small child, so we jumped off too and wandered up to the markets.
I'm guessing that the markets are either better in the morning, or just generally better on weekends, because when we got there half of the stalls were empty and the other half seemed to be packing up their stuff.
The one thing I noticed about the Markets last time we went (which was a while ago now with Princess T), is that there are a number of stalls that all seem to be selling the exact same merchandise. It was slightly more obvious on a day when all the stalls were full, but even just as far as men's leather jackets go, there were two stalls that I'm pretty sure had exactly the same stuff... or at the very least they had the same jacket that I was interested in in exactly the same place.
Essentially if there had been a tiny bit less me or a tiny bit more jacket, I would now be the proud owner of a leather jacket. Alas, neither of these things is the case, and, as usual, the jackets that they did have that possibly would have fitted me were more than a little bit ugly.
Anyway, we called it a day, wandered down Queen Street until we got to Lonsdale Street then had a poke around Hardware Lane just in case anything looked like it could be amazing for breakfast tomorrow (nothing jumped out at us), then headed, somewhat randomly in the general direction of the river/Flinders Street.
On the way we made a stop off at Haighs (gotta support the SA brand!) and we were also kind of looking for one of those juice places... you know, with the freshly squeezed juices in the bottles with coloured lids and no labels we've found in every major capital city we've been to. I swear that there used to be one downstairs in the Collins Street arcade place, but, alas, no luck.
Just as we got to the end of the arcade it started to bucket down with rain. So that put an end to the "heading towards Flinders Street" plan and we kind of started heading back in the generally non-specific direction of the hotel.
The weather had very much taken a turn for the worse but the time we'd finished, so we figured we'd head back to the hotel since it was around 4:30 or so by that stage and we could have our general pre-dinner rest and travel journal writing.
We'd already made the decision before we even hit the ground in Melbourne that our first dinner would be at Wagamama... I've been craving it ever since Owlgirl went to the one in Sydney in the middle of July, so just after 6 we rugged up nice and warm and headed down the hill (more or less) to the one on Flinders Lane.
So much food. Such tasty food!
Thankfully the food was outstanding as always. Although I feel like the place in Melbourne does their Tori Kara Age differently to the one in Sydney... but I think I'm just misremembering it.
To finish up we shared a Banana Katsu as always... so good!
And now I'm a very full, very satisfied little piggy.
And thus, pretty much, endeth the first day. With a full Wagamama-filled belly I kind of feel better about Melbourne than I did when I sat down to write the beginning of this post this afternoon... but I still feel a little bit like "It's not you, Melbourne, it's me"...
But to be honest, like anyone who says that, I think it pretty much is Melbourne, not me.