Sunday, November 27, 2016

Melbourne | Day 1

Last week I traveled to Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula for a family holiday and it was a blast! I'll journal my travel diaries in a series of posts because I brought my camera along and took a lot of photos. I graduated from university in July but since I was working I didn't have a holiday to celebrate finishing school and this was the closest thing.

We had to wake up at 5am to give us enough time to clear all our parking arrangements and it was much earlier than any of us are used to waking. I bought a couple of coffees from Merlo at the domestic terminal gate and they were hella expensive.





We flew Virgin and it was a good experience - if you download the Virgin Inflight Entertainment app onto a mobile device (iPads and tablets give optimal viewing on the larger screen) they offer a selection of movies and TV shows to pass the time. The app works via the plane WiFi but the plane Wifi doesn't work if you're looking to use it as regular internet.

After dropping our bags off at Breakfree on Collins we toddled down to Emporium because I had sought recommendations from various Melbourne-savvy friends who had lived there and I'd heard that Jimmy Grant's, Chinta Ria and Italian were good at the Emporium food court. I had the chicken curry laksa from Chinta Ria and it was pretty good. The Hainanese chicken rice special from Chinta Ria was alright too but nothing else we tried was particularly outstanding. I don't think it beats my mum's Singaporean laksa made with Prima Taste premix but I finished it and I was pretty happy.



We spent some time in the shops in Emporium and walked to Coles to buy supplies. Part of the mall was completely windowless and it felt so much like Singapore!


Passed by Flinders Street Station because if you're going to be a tourist, do it right. My sister commented on how Brisbane lacked an iconic, historic train station because even South Brisbane doesn't compare to this stately building.


St Paul's Cathedral where we would go to church for service the next day.


Federation Square- we arrived on a Saturday and it coincided with the protests by Malaysians against the political situation in the home country so we saw a whole procession of people wearing yellow tees.


Mum led us to do a laneway walk that she had found on a map and it took us to Degraves St (you can see Kha from Masterchef in my photo below! He walked past my sister and looked her in the eye and she was trying to figure out where we knew his face from and I did the same a few metres behind her and we realised later that he was on TV) which was near our apartment and we stopped at Degraves Espresso for tapas and drinks. We got the mussels, eggplant and chorizo. The sangria was enjoyable (though nothing like the sangria from Ole - we got the sense that this was the real thing and not the sweet jugs filled with lychee liqueur that we were used to) and mussels and chorizo were great!






We finished the laneway walk at Centre Place, which was even closer to our apartment on Collins St and this was the classic laneway that everybody takes photos of. It's so quaint that everybody posts about it and it becomes commonplace and synonymous with Melbourne but the Urban Design team at work mentioned that the Melbourne urban design guys started working on the laneways 20 years ago and they are only seeing the laneways come to fruition now.


A little soup kitchen that we passed - all the post-it notes on the wall are soups that have been paid forward so that anybody in need can stop and enjoy a free soup!



Cakes in the window of Hopetoun Tea Rooms which was in a nearby arcade - so pretty and very busy inside! They were closing when we walked through and turned the window display lights off shortly after I took the photo.




Christmas was in full swing when we visited - everybody was either decked out in trees and decor or in the process of it. We had dinner at Pacific BBQ and went back to our apartment.

After the first day I was surprised that the sun set so late - we'd be due to get dinner because we were hungry but the sun was still out, which I wasn't accustomed to. I was also struck by how many homeless people were on the streets and how dirty the actual streets were- there were so many flies about that we don't see in the Brisbane. But it was a fun trip and full of good food, lots of coffee and pretty pictures.

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