Have you seen the advert Tourism Victoria have been sprouting lately?
The one with the geezer sporting enormous white side-burns wearing a blue top hat, looking like he has stepped straight out of a scene from Alice in Wonderland. His white-gloved, fisted hands open to reveal where the group of young people in front of him should go to find adventure in Melbourne.
Stay and play is the catch phrase.
Melbourne has always been about:
sampling gourmet delights and cultural treats with the chance for a little retail therapy on the side.
At this time of the year (mid-July) it’s a chance to dig out the winter woollies, gloves and boots and declare winter on your body. (Unlike the paltry excuse for a winter we experience in Brisbane.) But with my 2013 trip to Melbourne, I stumbled upon a few extra treats in the latte City.
Queen Victoria Markets – is a must do play place. Anyone wishing to indulge in some Retail Therapy should head past the produce section, where the noise is created by the competing stall holders vying for your attention, to the quieter back section of the markets. Here are many lanes of sellers offering products ranging from clothing, toys, gadgets, art work etc. The variety will keep you occupied for a few hours. The stalls are still showing reasonable market prices.
Talking of food again (well it is Melbourne), a selection of delectable baking delicacies reminiscent of Europe’s fine bakeries wait for the lovers of fresh baked cakes and pastries in Acland Street, St Kilda. Catch a tram to St Kilda and walk the board walk that hugs Port Phillip Bay before tucking into some of these to die for pastries.
il Fornaio cafe, St Kilda
St Kilda where you catch a beautiful sunset and walk along the pier.
The art exhibit Claude Monet’s “Monet’s Garden” was showing at the National Gallery of Victoria – a short stroll from Federation Square. Until September 8th, you can view an impressive number of stunning originals by this iconic artist. The exhibit invites you to enjoy a collection of paintings from Monet’s life (including many of his watercolours inspired from his garden in Giverny), together with a history which enlightens you of his humble beginnings in Paris and sad decline with failing eyesight in his late 80’s. For any lovers of Impressionism this is a must. But anyone who appreciates colour and light will also enjoy this exhibit. Tip: book your tickets on-line beforehand – saves time (no-line ups) when you go through.
The Hollywood Costume exhibit was a bit of fun and something you won’t see everyday. I read a column by William McInnes, where he ventured through the exhibit and made dry reference to the size of Daniel Craig’s dinner suit, (worn in Casino Royale.) Wandering through Federation Square, past the Australian Centre for Moving Image, I saw the sign for the exhibit and felt the need to see the famous dinner suit in person. The closest I will ever come to anything that had been on Daniel Craig’s body.
I was drawn to the detail and intricate thought processes that went into each creation. I will now view the costumes on celluloid in a new light! My costume pick was the Arnie Schwarzenegger Terminator 3 jacket and trousers complete with bullet holes. The tiny waists on the dress worn by Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn’s famous black dress from the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s – gave me a new appreciation for petite.
Reality TV, Channel 9’s show THE BLOCK – co-incidentally had their open for inspection week-end, the same week-end I was in Melbourne. Not saying I was “addicted to” the series, but I watched a few episodes. So a chance to get in to view the room transformations in person was too good to pass up. A wise word to potential travelers to Melbourne – when travelling on Melbourne’s trams, ensure the tram you select is in fact going in the direction you are meant to head!
Due to an error in tram journeying, we arrived 5 minutes after they shut the barricades to the general public to enter the building block. However there was some consolation, as we mingled among the new celebrities – the show had created. It was quite hysterical – these hard working Aussies were being treated like rock stars.
REALITY TV – creates celebrities from unknowns.
After all their efforts though, they deserved the attention.
It was refreshing to see each couple we had photographs with, showing brimming smiles, acting gracefully and saying nice things to their fans, despite having performed for the cameras and queues of 1000’s of people, the day before. Trumps to these guys – they were very accommodating!
Melbourne – it is a great place to stay and play. Cultural indulgences, gourmet delights, a few new and unexpected experiences and many bargains hidden in our suitcases. Even though I am not the target audience for Tourism Victoria – I am thankful, I do not require encouragement from a weird looking old geezer to come and play.
Where to stay:Rendezvous Grand Hotel
328 Flinders Street (opposite Flinders Street Station)
Where to eat:
The Quarter 27-31 Degraves Street Ph:9650 6156
2 Acland Street, St Kilda 3182 Phone 03 9534 2922
Movida –1 Hosier Lane Phone: 03 9683 3038 www.movida.com.au
National Gallery of Victoria, 180 St Kilda Road Finishes September 8, 2013
ACMI Gallery Hollywood Costume Federation Square Finishes August 18, 2013-08-03 www.acmi.net.au/costume