It is no secret that Australia is such a laid-back country. During my Sydney trip, I experienced the relaxed atmosphere first-hand. It was a much needed hiatus indeed!
Melbourne, although also a part of Australia, had a different feel, in my opinion. There seemed to be a more sophisticated air amongst the people who lived in this city. I noticed this even from the street fashion. In Sydney, there was more colour and a beach-y vibe, regardless of it being winter when I came.
In Melbourne, people seemed to have a more eclectic taste. In just one trip in the train, there was a combination of surfer dudes, ladies with punk hair, tattooed couples, senior citizens, preppy university students, yuppies in power suits, and a really loud group of obnoxious teenage boys (I was so glad they alighted before me). From the graffiti-clad walls, entertainers in different corners, musical events, and other activities, it is obvious that the art and music scene is very much alive in this city.
My love for Melbourne was ignited by its cafe culture. With amazing local coffee shops everywhere, it’s no wonder Starbucks didn’t exactly conquer in this city. It’s a shame that I missed the Melbourne International Coffee Expo this year!
Amongst the cafes I went to during my trip, Market Lane Coffee is definitely at the top of my list. I went to the one at Queen Victoria Market and ordered their cappuccino (so rich and creamy!). They roast their own coffee beans and consider themselves a “boutique coffee roastery and retailer”. I was so tempted to buy their Jet Set Kit (for the mobile coffee lover) and had to convince myself I had no space for it in my luggage.
Before meeting Shei (my good friend from my university days), I went to Queen Victoria Market. It was the perfect place for me to get fresh food and coffee (naturally). Knowing how large the food portions are in this country, I decided to just buy food for my dinner and breakfast at the hotel. I could always have lunch and a snack while exploring.
I was thrilled to buy a pack of fresh assorted cherry tomatoes for just 1.80AUD (whaaatt?!). I also bought freshly baked Turkish bread, prosciutto, and a homemade spread of capsicum, mixed cheeses and other herbs – all two-days worth of dinner and breakfast. For an affordable overall price, what a steal it was!
Since I was there, I treated myself to a cheese and spinach borek at the Borek Shop (highly recommended!) as well as Koko Black chocolates (the chili chocolate one was the bomb – literally and figuratively!)
After my QVM adventure, I had lunch with Shei at the Victoria Harbour. She and I were in the same block back in our De La Salle University days. It’s been a while since I’ve bonded with her so it was a welcome break for me!
Since she had the whole afternoon free, we had time to do some window shopping and just chatting. I had a good time catching up and reminiscing about our “younger” days. Well, we haven’t changed much since (…is what I always tell myself.)
The day after, I went on a day tour of the Great Ocean Road. And what an epic one it was! More on that soon…
Even though I was only in Melbourne for six days, immersing myself in this city gave me an instant fondness for its energy and culture. It is one place I look forward to come back to.