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Published: June 12th 2016
View from Eureka Skydeck I
Flinders Square and Flinders Street Station just on the other side of the Yarra River in the foreground, CBD in the background.
You might recall that before our trip down Great Ocean Road and to Mornington Peninsula Mizzi and I had one evening and one day in Melbourne. So when I arrived in the city on a Friday in the late afternoon Mizzi came to pick me up from the train station. She lives not far from Flinders Street Station in the Southbank, just a ten minute walk or two stops by tram from Fliders Square. We dropped off my luggage at her place and then went for a walk in the beautiful Botanic Gardens. Then we had a nice dinner in a brewery, and of course some home-brewed beer.
The next morning we went for breakfast in one of Melbourne’s wonderful cafés, The Kettle Black
, that has lots of very special breakfast dishes on the menu. Afterwards, we went on a kind of city rally that Mizzi had booked for us. We were a group of eight, with six other people that we had never met before. The task was to find a bag of cash that had been stolen and we needed to follow different hints that took us to different parts of the city. What was cool about the tour was
View from Eureka Skydeck II
View down the Yarra River towards Docklands.
that it took us to places one would on a normal tourist tour not get to, for example the jail, the former public baths, and so on. Some of the hints were written down somewhere, or we had to guess them by combining different pieces of information. Other hints we had to get by asking people on the street. The tricky thing about it was that you did not know in advance who might be a normal pedestrian and who might be one of the actors holding the piece of information we needed, so sometimes we tried to get hints from people who were surprised to be asked all kinds of weird questions. The tour ended in The Duke, Melbourne’s oldest pub. It had been great fun and very well and creatively put together by the tour organisers.
The weather was splendid, so Mizzi and I went up to Eureka Sky Deck, the highest building in the city, from where one has a great 360 view of Melbourne. There is also a little cubicle that is called ‘The Edge’. It is entirely made of glass and once you step in it moves outward so that you can look straight
View from Eureka Skydeck III
National Gallery of Victoria (with the Eiffelturm-like metal construction on top) in the foreground and the tennis courts and stadium on the other side of the Yarra River.
down through the glass floor. Everyone who does it receives a wrist band that has ‘I survived the Edge’ on it. When getting back down into the city we went on a river cruise on Murray River. The boat took us all the way down into the newly designed area of Docklands. It was interesting to see it all from the water. We went to a rooftop bar for pre-dinner drinks (yes, Mizzi and Katha are the rooftop ladies 😉) and then had Chinese dumplings for dinner. The next morning we left for Great Ocean Road and Mornington Peninsula, so our exploring Melbourne continued on a Friday.
In the National Gallery of Victoria there was a Ai Weiwei and Andy Warhol exhibition, so this is where we went on Friday morning. At first the connection between the two artists to me had been the fact that, as indicated on the museum website, they were considered to be the greatest artists of the 20th century. Another parallel between the two seems to be that both greatly influenced art and culture in their respective countries or even hemispheres (western vs. eastern, so to speak), at the same time reflecting the respective
... on the Yarra River. Our boat and the CBD in dhe background.
cultures and current topics at the time. There were even some interactive areas where one could push around balloons of different shapes that were blown around by a current of air.
For lunch we met with Charn, my colleague Tishal’s uncle whom I had met at Tishal’s wedding in Kuala Lumpur last year. He lives not far from Melbourne, and he took us to an Indian restaurant not far from Flinders Street Station. After lunch we walked along Murray River down to the Crown Casino, a very famous casino that apparently offers such great conditions for playing that professional players from all over the world go there to play. One of Mizzi’s flat mates is a professional poker player and really lives on it, can you believe it. And he does not look like you would imagine someone like that to look like. He is in his mid-20s and looks more as if he was studying maths. By the way, Mizzi’s other flat mate also has an exciting job: He is an actor, but he can’t live on it, so he works in a café to earn some additional money. Anyway, I found the Crown Casino just about as
... National Gallery of Victoria, where we looked at the Ai Weiwei and Andy Warhol exhibition. The bikes you can see here are by Ai Weiwei. It looks as if my hand had been shaking when taking the pic, but in fact it is several bikes in a row.
horrible as I find casinos in general, particularly because there were so many slot machines that create an awful atmosphere and that make players look sad and lonely. In the evening we met Mizzi’s friend Devina and went to the Meatball & Wine Bar
, a place where you can have all kinds of different meatballs (even vegetarian ones) with all kinds of different sides. For dessert, we went to an ice cream place called Dex2rose
. They use nitrogen to rapidly freeze the ice cream base directly after one has ordered and they give interesting names to their ice cream creations, such as ‘Not Your Granny’s Apple Pie’ (which I had, suuuper tasty) or ‘Bee-ch Better Have my Honey’. The thing about this place was that it was located in a small alley and looked more like a workshop than like a gelateria, and I am sure nobody would find it unless they knew about this place. There are many restaurants and cafés like this in Melbourne, they seem to be hidden, yet well-known. After dessert we went to a bar for drinks – and guess what kind of bar? Correct. Rooftop bar. It was a nice evening and it was great to finally
meet Devina in person, after I had heard so much from her already.
On Saturday we decided to have a lazy day. We started the day with a tasty breakfast in another hidden breakfast place in South Melbourne, St. Ali
, that again looked like a workshop from the outside. Inside it was kind of designed like a workshop, and the breakfast was really nice. On our way back home we went into the South Melbourne Market, where you can buy all kinds of nice food – cheese, fruit, dips, bread, nuts, and much more, everything decorated nicely. Jeez, and I just realise that my blog starts turning into a worldwide foodie guide 😉. Anyway, I guess those of you who know me also can imagine why…
Okay, let’s get back to our Saturday in Melbourne. All we did for the rest of the day was just hang out in the Botanic Garden reading our books and talking. In the evening we went to the moonlight cinema in the Botanic Garden. They set up a big screen in one area of the park and close it off. Then people can sit down somewhere on the grass. Everyone brings blankets, picnic,
Self-guided walking tour II
Royal Arcade with effigies of mythical figures Gog and Magog and a clock which chimes each hour.
drinks, books and what not. While waiting they eat and drink and talk – pretty much what Mizzi and I did as well. The film we watched was Spotlight
and is based on a true story. Reporters of the magazine Spotlight uncovered a pattern of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in Massachusetts. Shocking story, but I don’t think one necessary has to see the film. The evening was super nice though, and I like the concept of having a picnic in the park and watching a film.
The next day was my last day and we decided to take a few self-guided walks through the city. It took us through small lanes and alleys, many of them beautifully decorated in art déco style. We had lunch in famous Hardware Lane, where the atmosphere is great. On our way back a stopover for a decent cup of tea and a piece of cake in the Hopetoun Café was a must. And then it was time for me to get ready. I packed up my stuff and Mizzi took me to the airport, where my plane departed shortly before midnight – back home into winter in Northern Germany. Thank
Self-guided walking tour III
Graffiti art in one of the lanes.
you Mizzi for ten splendid days in and around Melbourne!
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