Around the bend
Trip Start May 16, 2011
203Trip End Jul 31, 2012
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Where I stayed
What I did
Gertrude Contemporary Art Space
Yarra Bend Park
First up is a stop in at the Alcaston Gallery on Brunswick Street, a place that specialises on indigenous art. Some colourful paintings and etchings take my fancy but on the whole it's quiet a small place.
I turn left on to Gertrude Street and start to locate smart boutiques and cafes, plus plenty of street art in the side streets. It's a strange mix of run down building with smart shop interior, (which I'm slightly to early to catch some of them open). Apparently this is the street of the moment. I just window shop, except to grab myself a very tasty macaroon biscuit from a bakery that draws me in
Continuing up Smith Street (which seems a bit rougher around the edges) I discover more shops, all on the vintage style of things, which gives way to more and more clearance stores the further north I walk. I spot two police officers posing for a photographer's shoot, then further up, two more officers searching a man's car on the side of the road.
I cut along Johnston Street and then head south for a few blocks taking in the residential area and street art before turning on Moor Street at a very impressive (local) town hall type of building.
Back on Brunswick and things have picked up in the gentified stakes. Another busy retail street full of boutique shops rubbing shoulders with restaurants, coffee houses, bars and pubs. Young designers, funky homewares, as well as more vintage stuff can be found here. It's creative objects and no main chainstores in sight
Feeling hungry I duck into Little Creatures Dinning Hall and am pleasantly surprised with what I find. A vast hall (think small business factory tinned roof, than school hall) with a long bar down one side and tables and booths filing the remainder. It's a friendly place with funky music playing in the background and a cozy intimate feel, yet light and airy at the same time. I order a vegetable tangine and am truely surprised at how yummy it is. After a leisurely spell in here, I'm back on the dusty pavements in the sunshine (and heat today) wandering around and photographing more street art.
I leave busy Brunswick St behind and turn east on Rose St and start a steady walk through the leafy surburbs into Collingwood. Then south to pick up Johnston Street to find Abbotsford and it's Convent (no nuns left, just creative studios and eateries now) nestled next to the Yarra River.
I'm tired and hot when I arrive so pick a spot in the convent gardens in a shady pavillion (of sorts) to rest. It's here I meet and start talking with a dutch lady in her 60th year. The afternoon passes by and we are still chatting away, when she kindly offers to drive me in her car and show me some local sights.
We head around to Yarra Bend Park and find ourselves in bushland within the city. It's in these trees that she shows me a huge flying fox colony just starting to awake from their day's slumber. They are chatty and noisy as we sit on the ground below watching thounds of bats above, some swooping down to the river to drink, whilst others are carrying young
A great feast is laid on by volunteers, on a pay what you want scheme. The dishes on offer are all vegetable with a huge selection to pick from and no portion control. It's busy and an eclectic mix of people have rocked up and are busy tucking into the food prepared with love.
Eaten and it's back to see the bats take off for the night. Just as we rock up (to an empty sky, thinking we've missed them) they take off en mass. The sky is full of huge bats, swooping past us as they go off in hunt for fruit in the city. I'm stunned at the sheer quantity of them. We are stood for ages watching as the sun sets and leaves a beautiful colour as the backdrop. All that was missing was the running commentary from David Attenburgh and we'd have been sorted!
A quick drive and walk by Victoria Street in Abbotsford to take in the local Asian scene and I'm dropped off back in town tired and worn out.