Tag Archives: Degas

10 things to do in Melbourne

As a Sydneysider, I am conditioned to think that Sydney is better than Melbourne. As much as I love Sydney, I still enjoy visiting Melbourne and can appreciate the city for its differences. Be it for a girls weekend, a wedding, a couples retreat, or to visit cousins- I’ve always had a good time in Melbourne-town.

First of all, the shopping in Melbourne is better than Sydney. It has the flagship H & M store, which is bigger than any that I have seen anywhere else and they have the few remaining Mango shops in Australia. Chapel St also has few more different fashion options.

I love shopping in the little laneways like the Block Arcade and the Royal Arcade with Suga- a shop where you can see them roll out and make yummy lollies. My favourite jewellery shop, The Rose Garden on the Walk Arcade, is where I bought all my wedding jewellery and accessories.

The next best thing about Melbourne is the shows. The theatre district near Chinatown always has a great blockbuster like Chicago or Avenue Q, sometimes before they make it to Sydney.

The beautiful National Gallery of Victoria is my top sight seeing pick. I was lucky enough to catch the Degas exhibit last time I was there- one of my favourite artists. The water-featured entry way always gets me straight away and the modern layout is spacious and light.

The Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium is also fantastic. The wonderful Emperor Penguins make it better than Sydney Aquarium, especially as they still have a shark tunnel.

Another good spot is the huge Fitzroy Gardens complete with Captain Cook’s Cottage. Melbourne loves its English style parks, and this one is my top pick.

Melbourne is known for its great restaurants from world class fine dining, to the Italian precinct on Lygon Street and casual laneway dining experiences like the Meatball and Wine Bar and Touche Hombre. All delicious!

It is also renowned for its serious café culture. And I must admit that these Melbourne-ites know how to elevate a café to the next level. My recent top pick is #hash with its signature hot chocolate science experiment served with fairy floss.

My favourite suburb in Melboure is St Kilda. It has the original Luna Park, the famous Esplande Hotel where they filmed The Secret Life of Us, the Beachcomber Café at St Kilda Baths and the weekend markets. I was lucky enough to live and work here for a couple of months and play the local, catching a tram into the office everyday.

With the newly renovated Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and me working on the conference circuit, there was another year that I went to Melbourne a lot. It was good as to discover the adjoining Southbank area with the Crown Casino and Rockpool Bar and Grill, both of which I rate better than their Sydney counterparts.

And of course the DFO is right near the convention centre for any last minute shopping emergencies, like suddenly finding out that you need to attend networking drinks at the Old Melbourne Goal.

And then there’s the tennis. Even this non-sports-lover has to admit that watching the tennis in Melbourne for the weekend was atmospheric; and I didn’t even get bored.

Related posts: Sydney vs Melbourne, 10 things to do in Sydney, Small town vs Big city

Buenos Aires, 2005

South America was high on my list of places I wanted to go, so when my friend Phil said he was headed on an extended journey in that area, I leapt at the chance to meet him in Buenos Aires.

By the time I arrived, Phil had already spent some time in Central America where he had met a local Buenos Aires girl who he had fallen for. This meant that I had a somewhat distracted travel partner, but also one with some insider knowledge.

My bags had been lost in Los Angeles airport somewhere on the way, so I was given $50 to buy essentials and we spent most of my first day searching for an underwear shop that sold something other than g-strings.

The trusty Lonely Planet stated that if you are vegetarian to not come to Buenos Aires and it was right. All you can get to eat in most restaurants was steak and potatoes. I was also introduced to the city’s very strong drinks on my first night- after only two drinks, Phil and his lady had to send me back to the hostel in a cab where I was told off for having the TV on too loud in the common room after hours.

The Obelisk on Avenida 9 Julio at Plaza de la Republica remains one of the most enduring images from my stay in Buenos Aires. We were staying a couple of blocks away from this- the widest street I had ever seen- and I passed it most days on my sight-seeing adventures.

As a dog lover, I also loved all the paseaperros or dog walkers that were everywhere in the city. I was constantly snapping pictures of them on street corners and in parks- some of them with more than 10 dogs at a time on the leash.

Buenos Aires is a city of plaza’s and fascinating buildings. In our local area were Plaza Lavelle, the Templo de la Congregacion Israelita, the Asociacion Cristiana Feminina de Buenos Aires and the huge orange Palacio de Aguas Corrientes. Nearby, the richer area could be found along Avenida Alvear to the Plaza Intendente.

Other notable squares were the huge Plaza de Mayo with the red Casa Rosada, the Palacio del Congreso where the Monumento a Los dos Congresos looked like a wedding cake with a green roof and the nearby Confiteria del Molino was easy to spot; and the Plaza Libertador General San Martin with the cute Petit Paris café and Huge Faculty of Law Building nearby.

We visted the Museo Nacional de Belles Artes to see my favorite Degas paintings and saw the bizarre Biblioteca Nacional on the way back. We went inside Museo Mitre- the house of past president Bartolomé Mitre- that had a pretty courtyard with his statue in it. I liked the lovely Palermo Park with its large lake, Rosedal and Planetario Galileo Galilei.

Related posts: New Zealand, 2004, Europe, 2003, Vietnam, 2003