26 February 2008

Melbourne Day Trip

On Saturday my dad B, his wife K, and I flew to Melbourne - the city of my birth, which I left when I was 1 month old (cruel parents ignored my protests!). The day went perfectly, from the flight out at 6.40 am, to arriving back in Canberra at 8 pm.

When we got into the city, we walked up from Spencer Street Station into the main city, and hunted out the Caffe Cortile, which Kuka had recommended - I just love the little alleyways and lanes with cafes and tiny cosy restaurants... this is the view from our seat at Cortile, out across the tiny alleyway.

I threw any sensible eating out for the day, and had Vanilla French Toast with bacon, grilled banana and real maple syrup! Bacon with maple syrup is something I have loved since my Connecticut childhood (yes, I am Australian, we just moved to the States when I was 4 - my dad was at Yale). This was extremely yummy!! Thanks Kuka for an excellent recommendation!

The main event for the day, of course, was visiting my favourite Uncle T in the Oncology Ward of the Royal Melbourne Hospital (that's it below). I think it's fair to say we were all so happy to see each other, and it was great to spend a decent amount of time with him, and see how well he's doing, all things considered. He has an amazingly pro-active attitude, and a top class medical team - if anyone can beat this, it's him. I helped him set up a blog (just for close friends and family, so I won't share the URL), and he totally loved the neck pillow I made, and is using it.

At lunch time the three of us Canberrans hopped on the tram (OMFG, a public transport system that WORKS, and is inexpensive, and runs frequently - pay attention Action Buses!!!) and went to the Queen Victoria Markets. Wow. It's huge.

This is a pic of one tiny section of the covered food hall section ... all these old little shops with pull-down shutters, and yummy things of all descriptions. Cheeses, olives, South African foods, butchers, teas, coffees, hot food, bakeries, and lots more. We walked all through nearly the entire Markets (food / fresh fruit & veg / clothing / and heaps more besides). This took quite some time! I was looking for coin hip scarves for Dotter and me, for belly dancing class - I'd just given up, when K saw them on a stall! We now have a lovely dark brown and dark blue one. Yay!

After a healthy vegetarian zucchini Lebanese roll thingy, I bought something different from the main bakery - it's a Czech Kolace. Oh. My. Glod. This was SO yummy! It had 4 fillings - cream cheese in the centre, then cherry, then nuts (walnuts I think?), and then the big dark section near the crust is poppy seed. The pastry wasn't too sweet either, more like a sweet bread than rich pastry. I'm going to have to learn to make this ...

After lunch we did a bit more time in the city centre (love the architecture - old mixed well with modern) - and then headed back to the hospital. We had another hour and a bit with Uncle T, plus my cousin T and his partner S showed up too, so it was a very cosy gathering!

We got back to the airport in good time, and were home by 8 pm. My pencil knitting needles got through airport security without a mention, but I didn't knit on the plane this time. I was able to knit at the hospital, though, which was my aim.

The only bad thing to happen was I left my Branching Out lace alpaca/silk scarf at the Caffe Cortile! I didn't realise I'd left it behind for hours - thankfully, when I called them, they did have it, and my cool cousin T picked it up for me yesterday. Phew!!!

I must say I really really loved Melbourne. I haven't visited in over 20 years (!!), and it's just brilliant - the city centre has this really European feel to it, with lane ways and little cafes where you know you could sit for hours sipping nice drinks and reading. I liked what people wore - a bit more of a funky / cool feel to the fashion than you see in Canberra - and the transport system is brilliant. I liked the trees along the main boulevards, and could just imagine Phryne Fisher gadding about in all her glory. I'd move there in an instant if the opportunity arose.


  1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who likes bacon & maple syrup. Thanks for the Melbourne tour -- we love places (and food!) like that.

  2. LOVE bacon and maple syrple! Also quite fond of Melbourne, love the Vic markets and the city alleyways and cafes and shops.

  3. Bacon and maple syrup, two of my favorites. Almost as good as breakfast sausage and maple syrup. I have never had grilled bananas but they look awfully good. What a great trip you all had. Good wishes to your uncle. I'll bet the pillow feels good under his neck.

  4. Besides GOOD eggs benedict, that is my dream breakfast! I'm so pleased you were able to make a good day out of what could have been a very distressing and harrowing experience. Sounds to me like you have a pretty top-notch family!

    Also, I'm with you on the Melbourne sentiment. I think I am meant to live there, but alas I do love Canberra and the job and living opportunities so I just make myself with visiting Melbourne often. I take 4 day weekends and walk up and down Brunswick St High St and those grungy little alleys in the CBD and I get my cultural (and people-watching!) fix.

  5. So glad to hear that your Uncle is positive and it was a "good" visit.

    As a Melbournite, you made me so sentimental....love it for all the reasons you found! Would live there again in a snip.

  6. I totally want to go. I finally renewed my passport! It should arrive Saturday. Alas, the funds for traveling to the other side of the world will NOT arrive with the passport.

    Good to hear it was such a positive trip all around.

  7. I cant resist saying Hi and glad you liked Melbourne because I am a Melbournite and I love it to pieces. My husband moved here from Ohio and is in love with it too. Best wishes to your Uncle.

  8. ooooh that's what I get from Cafe Cortile too - sans banana though (I'm bananaphobic) they usually put strawberries or something instead mmmm delish!
    Glad you enjoyed the city!!
    I love that kind of european-ness too =D

  9. I'm so glad to hear that you had a great time! And that the pillow turned out well. I love Melbourne, too :) I've never found any of their supposedly brilliant yarn shops, though...too busy looking at clothes.

  10. You've captured a sense of Melbourne so well. I do love the place, as we have discussed. Your photos and stories make me long to go back!

  11. What a pack filled day. All this in one day! Love the virtual traveling and eating with you

  12. The Melbourne tourist bureau should pay you. I want to go!

    And I bet all the love and good wishes knit into that pillow are giving your uncle wonderfully healing dreams. He is lucky to have such a caring family!!

  13. im so glad you turned a difficult trip into at least a partially good one, and i always knew there were many reasons why i needed to go live in melbourne!

  14. Is Lulu going to belly dance, too?

  15. I love Melbourne for all the reasons you listed. THe alleyways near Flinders St station is brilliant. Sorry I didn't think to point you in the direction of the Auspost or Chinese migration museums, which are in walking distance of the RMH. Next time!


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