Melbourne, August/September 2013

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September is always a stressful time of year at work, and in addition it turned out to be my last month in Sydney, so two friends and I went off to Melbourne for a fabulous girly weekend before all the craziness, featuring lots of delicious food, and an inordinate amount of art.

We stayed at the Crown Metropol, which was nice and spacious enough for the three of us to share a room, and has a gorgeous pool as well. Great location too, and everywhere we went was in walking distance. Our room did have one of those odd bathrooms which isn’t entirely enclosed, which was a bit weird! But it afforded much more privacy than the Standard in NYC, at least!

The food in Melbourne is amazing, and it’s so much cheaper than Sydney. We had brunch at two amazing places, The Hardware Société and Dead Man Expresso, which had super weird and delicious donuts – I called the raspberry lychee which was amazing, whilst my friends were more adventurous for that early in the morning, and split the chocolate tabaco and the maple bacon. We had some tasty sushi but the culinary highlight of the trip has to be Burch and Purchese and their divine deserts.

We found a cute little market, selling artisan products, behind a coffee shop, and went on the Old Melbourne Jail tour where they lock you in a cell and yell at you, but left early because the guy in charge was being really offensive, completely ignoring the socio-economic factors of criminal behaviour.

Our art explorations were much more successful. We checked out some smaller niche places, including the fantastically named Utopian Slumps, the Diane Siinger gallery, and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, which is smaller than you would think. The highlight was the National Gallery of Victoria. The gorgeous water feature outside, the awesome floating bowls in the lobby, the awesome stag made from shiny baubles, and the Monet exhibit, which was beautiful. There was also a cool installation featuring two fans and some magnetic tape, which my friend and I sat and stared at for ages.

We took a wonder through the botanical gardens, beautiful even in winter. I could see why people prefer Melbourne to Sydney. It’s not as beautiful a city, but I can see it being a more fun place to live in some ways.

Mario at Out and About Travel in Sydney organised this trip for us.

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