The Aboriginal Journey of the last post took me to the other almost-capital city of Australia: Melbourne! And let me tell you from the beginning, this is no doubt the best place I’ve seen so far in this continent.
Its cosmopolitan, multi-cultural and alternative character is so strong that you can spot it at any corner, you feel it as you walk down the little alleys and through the arcades. I haven’t taken many pictures in Melbourne, as more than on dramatic or spectacular sights (like the Opera House in Sydney), the soul of this city lies in every brick, in every persons and every shop. This is what welcomed me to the station from the airport: a bag shop completely covered in… bags!
This town made me feel instantly like at home. Outside the center, houses are wooden, old and all different. All frontyard owners struggle to keep up with the green grass as Melbourne has a deserved reputation for being very rainy and grey… well, maybe that helped made me feel like home!
Travel-wise, my situation is similar to what I’ve live in Seattle four years ago, as also in this case I am staying with friends. I met Damien and Tom when they visited Stephen in Amsterdam, less than one year ago. I guess Tom will never forget his stay as he helped us toss the flooding water out of the window, while it was leaking in the restaurant downstairs… errr, back to Australia.
Their place is a cozy house just north of the city center and well connected via tram and train. They are computer people as well, so finally I came back to an accommodation where the internet connection works like a dream and screens outnumber people by large! Also, like it was in Seattle, we have big dinners (last night I cooked my special Carbonara for the five of us) and plenty of friends and bikes are always around the house – I even got to ride a fixed gear bike to the grocery store!
Before coming here, I had the great advices of Hayley. She has emotionally partecipated to the Australian leg of my journey, even drawing stuff on a map for me – which also had the purpose to distract me while the others upstairs were preparing a goodbye cake for me. A few days ago she emailed me tips for Melbs, the place she is most enthusiastic about. She tried to explain me how the best of this city resides “underground”, away from the lights, in little bars that only locals know. Thanks Hayley, that’s the advice I’ve tried to follow and the best one you could give me! This was the backyard of a lively bar in Fitzroy.
Here’s a shot from another night, a gig in Carlton. At the end, the band invited as many people as it fit to go on stage and scream all together – never seen such an enthralling concert closure! Can you spot me up there?
Although it will be very hard, I will try to render the texture of the city with a few moments I captured with my camera. Strolling the narrow alleys in the center, you fairly often see photo-sets: a lot of urban fashion surrounded by graffiti art, which often covers every inch of available walls.
We often have food in a cute, little café on St. Georges, close to where we live. A very anonymous café, there’s not even a sign from outside; you have to either know it or stumble across it. It’s no touristic place whatsoever, still it’s so cute that it’s impossible to describe. This is a “sandwich of love” that I got there!
There is a main pedestrian strip where buskers entertain the crowd in many creative ways, a bit like Grafton Street in Dublin, Ireland.
With all these premises, the art museum scene of this city couldn’t be anything less than brilliant. This is a composition I have found at the National Victoria Gallery International, another deserved tip from Hayley. Named “One and three brooms”, it shows the broom itself, a picture of it and the abstract definition from the vocabulary. VERY contemporary!
I don’t have many days to spend in this city. I wish I had planned for more, which would allow me to explore the surfing culture as well. But I already know that, shall I ever look for a job in Australia, Melbourne would be the place.