All holidays Megan and I had been wanting to go on a trip. We narrowed it down to Byron Bay or Melbourne. Both our boyfriends were going away for a hefty chunk of Summer, neither of us were working very much and so we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get away and do something fun. Things are never that simple though are they? Things always kept getting in the way and February crept up on us. I had just started a new job and so the only time we could manage to find before uni went back was 48 hours (including flights) to go to Melbourne. We booked a flight leaving Sydney at 8:20pm on Tuesday and one arriving back in Sydney at 8:20pm on Thursday. I worked all Tuesday and then at 5:30 we drove to the airport, dropped our car and got on a plane. We flew Tiger (if you read my blog you are going to realise that I continually fold to their low prices despite my bad experiences) and shorty after arrived at Tullamarine airport. Sarah my almost-sister-in-law) picked us up from the airport. Some people are just awesome. Sarah let Megan and I stay with her even though she is very pregnant, has a 19-month old (Ella) and I left her brother at home.
When we woke up the next morning it was our only full day in Melbourne. After a delicious coffee and hello-cry-cuddle from the gorgeous little Ella, Megan and I jumped on a train and headed into the city. After some confusion with the new Myki card system and paying what seemed like way too much for a train ticket (we had international students cards but still had to pay full-fare) we arrived at Flinders St Station.
We spent some time inside the awesome architecture of the Ian Potter Center, marveling at Australian paintings. It’s pretty cool when you see a painting you have studied at uni in real life, it’s a bit like meeting a celebrity. Megan and I both studied colonial (and then post-colonial) Australian art, and so had a good time checking out Glover and myriad other Aussie artists.
Megan had downloaded some Melbourne tourist aps, so we used to to lead us through some graffiti laneways to a great little alleyway full of cafes..
We eventually chose an organic/vegan place called TOFWD. It was great to eat here because it was food you can’t normally get. Megan had a dahl pie and salad and I have a gluten free-vegan pumpkin and tofu pie. Now, I know a pie is generally meat and pastry, so the idea of one without either sounds more than a little strange, but somehow it was fantastic.
After lunch we headed to the Australian Center of Contemporary Art where we were inundated by video art. I am not usually a big fan of video art. It often makes me feel motion sick, confused and frustrated, but there were some amazing pieces in the Desire Lines exhibition. Desire lines are really cool. The best way I have ever heard them explained is that they are the dirt tracks trodden through grass made by people who want to take the quickest rout rather than stick to the path. I was understandably excited when my favourite example was illustrated by a photographic series.
My favourite piece was a video by Francis Alÿs called railings. I really recommend watching it, it can be found here. We then headed to the NGA International and enjoyed more art. Yes, it was indeed an arty day, but what can I say (warning: made visual joke ahead), we are huge fans of art.
After the NGA we did some shopping and walked to the Victoria Markets at Elizabeth Street. The food is great in Melbourne, but is such a walkable city that you just walk it right off. We met Sarah, Ben and Ella at the very busy markets. It was great fun with music, clothes, crafts, lots of food and even more people. Also, there were delicious young coconut.
After a long day, Megan I debated going home with Sarah and Ben or staying out. Although we were tired, we got Sarah and Ben to drop us at Brunswick street so we could pack more of Melbourne into our 48 hours. We played pool at the Evelyn, listened to some live music and finally got home at 2am.
The next morning we headed back into Melbourne and had an unbelievable breakfast at Manchester Press. In Melbourne you walk along and look down an alley. Sometimes it’s abuzz with cafes and shops, and sometimes it is legitimately just an alley with bins and all. Manchester Press was strangely located in one of those alleys that looks just like an alley. There were not chairs on the street, but inside were the best bagels I’ve had in Australia. My bagel had this thing called avocado smash on it, which was avocado mashed with mint, lime and feta. So good!
After breakfast we shopped, bought bags, met up with Megan’s old friend from school and had some fabulously juices at another alleyway cafe. Time flew by and before we knew it we were on a tram, train, car and then plane! We said goodbye to Sarah and Ella (who cried when we left which is sad, but makes me a little happy because I can convince myself she likes me). Our flight was delayed because of the storm, but in total contrast to me previous-negative-Tiger-delayed experience. Instead of shifting blame and not keeping us up to date, this pilot got us on the plane, explained that all airlines were delayed due to weather and he boarded us so as soon as there was a spot for us we could go. We delayed for over an hour and didn’t get into Sydney until 11pm, but no-one got upset or complained.
We had a good flight, got back to Sydney and after a brief sleep I went to work. We squeezed so much fun into 2 days it was surreal to go back to work and know that instead of spending two days at a desk I visited family, went to galleries, shopped at Friends of Couture, walked around the Victoria Night Markets and played pool on Brunswick street. It’s amazing how much fun you can squeeze into two days in a good city with great company.