Queen Victoria Market
Trip Start Nov 20, 2013
139Trip End Ongoing
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After wandering around the park and the convent for a bit, we headed by train to Queen Victoria Market. This is a very large market that sells everything from meat, dairy, and produce to clothes, toys, and souvenirs. Again we took a couple of samples and wandered around the whole market. We bought some strawberries, which were delicious, and a well known Turkish food called a borek
After the market we walked through the city to the Royal Botanic Gardens. These gardens are massive. There are so many different areas of these gardens that we spent a good couple hours walking around them. They have so many different sections within the garden. We were able to see plants native to southern China, California, and Australia. We also walked through an herb garden that smelled amazing. There are ponds and small lakes throughout the gardens and pavilions and gazebos. It was a really pretty area to walk through.
When we had seen everything we could in the gardens (some parts were closed before we got there), we headed back to the CBD to a pizza place we saw with great pricing
Our last stop before heading back to the house was a gelato place. We had passed it on our first day in Melbourne and thought it was a club at first because of the crazy line up in front and out the door. But then we saw kids in line and realized other people nearby were eating gelato. We knew this would be our last chance to try it so we just had to stop! There was a large line, but we heard it moved quickly, and it did. It was definitely worth the short wait though and we both really loved it! When we got back to the house, Harley informed us that this gelato place, Messina, has a couple locations in Sydney, but had just opened up here in Melbourne two weeks ago and is already crazy popular. Maybe we'll taste it again in Sydney!
Today we decided to join a free walking tour around Melbourne. It may have been wiser to do at the beginning of our time here, but we were so busy with other activities! Jason and I were both very impressed by this tour. It's a completely free tour, not even a tip was asked for, and it lasted 3.5 hours
Next, we went to St. Paul's Cathedral. It's a beautiful cathedral with many intricate details similar to ones we have seen in Europe. However, since Melbourne and Australia as a whole is young, this cathedral looks more modern than European cathedrals. From the cathedral we walked down Flinders Lane and were taken to see some of the graffiti and street art we had seen earlier this week on our own. We learned that recently the entire lane was painted black for new street art to be done, except for one beautiful piece of a Hindu god. This was painted in 2010 and restored by the same artist in 2013. It's also one of the only street art pieces that hasn't been covered by someone else's tag so it was nice to be able to see the entire piece.
Along Flinders Lane we learned about how many buildings in Melbourne are protected heritage buildings. Some of them had the entire building protected, others have some parts protected, and some just have protected facades. We saw one building that has been fully rebuilt in the last year and looks so modern from the back and the sides
We went into some more beautiful buildings, including the Sofitel Hotel where rooms start at $300/night. We went up to floor 35, just below where the hotel actually starts, and got a great view of part of the city from here. The hotel is unique in that every room has a wall with windows facing outside or a wall with windows facing down into the hotel itself. From this view, we could see where the Australian Open is played, the first fire brigade of Melbourne, parliament buildings, and much more. We then headed across the street to a government bank which has a beautiful copper mural of the history of Melbourne
We took our walk through some of the arcades and lane ways that Jason and I have explored previously and were shown some interesting shops and restaurants we missed on our own. Our last stop on the tour was to an old hotel now called Young and Jackson's, but it used to have a different name. This hotel houses a very large painting of a naked woman from almost 100 years ago and used to cause a lot of uproar. This hotel is right across the street from St. Paul's cathedral and the men would always come across after services to see "Chloe" and the women didn't like this. Now "Chloe" is up one floor in the hotel but it still able to be seen by the public. The actual woman used as the model was the lover of the artist at one point. But when she turned 21, the artist decided she was too old to be his model and lover and she committed suicide shortly after. The frame of the painting alone is worth ton of money and if anyone wants to buy the painting, they would need to buy the entire business
After our tour we bought some things we need before heading to Tasmania tomorrow and I finally tried some famous Melbourne coffee. Melbourne is a coffee city with tons of cafés. The coffee seems expensive here for its size compared to Toronto but we learned that they make fun of Canadian and American coffee drinkers. Here they are influenced by Italian coffee so it is bold and rich. They do not sell the large sizes we have at home, which they call "coffee milkshakes". In fact, Melbourne is the only city in the world that Starbucks tried to tap into and was not successful. Before Harley told us this, Jason and I had noticed that we had only seen a couple Starbucks here, which now makes sense. I have to admit, it was really good coffee!
At night we hung out with Harley and Krystel one last time since our flight is early in the morning. They shared some travel tips and experiences since they are both well traveled and have spent a ton of time in Southeast Asia. Overall, we had a fantastic time spending a week here in Melbourne!