Monday, November 23, 2009

Mugshots, Melbourne and a little bit of Samba



C'mon, I was posing a'aight? It's a mug shot and I look a damn site better than Nick Nolte
(and a whole lot worse than usual)

We four girls pack a lot into three days in Melbourne. Four friends who have known each other longer than I care to remember and one absent (she thought Bali would be more exciting) gathered at an apartment lent to us by another friend and did the sights, sounds, smells and wonder that is Melbourne.

I'm not sure I want to live there as the weather is inclement to say the least but it has a unique character and lack of pretention that you find in cosmopolitan and rather 'up itself' Sydney. I'm not going to give you a blow by blow description because there's just too much for one post but I will give you two highlights of the weekend . . no maybe three, OK four at a push.


The Apartment

Usually, I stay with my friend Kahlerisms and Brethred then maybe a night or two in a hotel but this time was a girly weekend at a beautiful apartment in Albert Park donated free by another friend. Brand spanking with two double loft bedrooms, all mod cons, close to the tram line and right next to the Alfred hospital. I was a little worried that we'd be kept awake by ambulances and the frequent arrival and departure of rescue helicopters (which was very exciting except for the fact that some poor sod needed airlifting to hospital) but they miraculously seemed to disappear at night.

Air Ambulance viewed from our balcony.

Brunswick Street

This is on the outskirts of the CBD. It's long, very long and daubed with curiosity and vintage shops, African cafes and shops at one end and just about everything from factory outlets, boutiques, restaurants, bars and florists linking the 4km expanse.

Upmarket boutique surrounded by pretty awesome graffiti.
Bought me a Boo Radley top I did, proper swish.

The day we were there a Hispanic festival just off the main drag had us doing the samba down the corso and eating amazing food.

Paella anyone . . I'll need a new cooktop for a pan that big

Then we found The Alchemist. Gorgeous little wine bar with a jazz band, patronised by old and young alike. Shabby chic Victoriana in red and gold and just the perfect place to rest our weary feet and enjoy something that simply doesn't exist in Sydney and intimate, friendly, small, and quirky venue where everyone feels part of the furniture.


Slouch and Jazz very nice

Old Melbourne Gaol
I've never been here. Famous for housing such people as Ned Kelly and the sight of many colonial incarcerations and hangings. It's beautifully preserved, unusual for Australia which lets pretty new historical buildings decay and eerie to tour.

Interior of the ground floor cell block of Old Melbourne Jail

And old Ned's Death Mask. He doesn't look a bit like Mick Jagger or Heath Ledger

We engaged in a rather touristy Watch House tour where we were marched in and 'processed' after our arrest by a tiny but bolshy police woman who gave us an idea of what it might be like to be arrested and detained here temporarily. The Watch House was only closed in 1995 and housed all sorts of perpetrators, mostly drunks and prostitutes but did see the likes of Squizzi Taylor, Chopper Read and the Hoddle Street Bomber processed prior to their trials.


Women's 'holding pen' latrine door . . .many stories scratched there

The Lanes
Intertwined between the regimented city grid are a series of grubby laneways. A sort of Caucasian version of Bangkok or Vietnamese alleys with fantastic well-spruiked restaurants, coffee shops, bars, vintage boutiques, pawn shops and just charismatic characters. You can't sit there without someone asking you for money or cigarettes or trying to raise funds for the homeless or unfortunate but everyone seems to put out whether it's a dollar or a local restaurateur offering a pastry or mug of soup. It's where the affluent meets the weird, wonderful and woeful. A magnet for tourists but also clearly the hangout of locals. I ran into Kahlerism just walking up the lane, iPod in ears . . who'd have thought I'd run into him. He didn't know I was in Melbourne and these days he doesn't work in the CBD but there he was, bold as brass and a little set back when I flung myself at him in the middle of the lane!

The man in the flat cap had scored more money than I earn in a week, a mug of soup and two Danish pastries in just 50 metres. No wonder he can afford Colorado boots!

Ok that's just a taste I'll post on Flickr and more in my sidebar on the weekend. I'm not sure I'd want to live there but it's a lovely and very underrated city to visit. I recommend Melbourne but get off the beaten track and explore.

Did I access the internet whilst away? No . .not for a minute and oddly, I didn't miss it although it was lovely to get back and see all the TT well wishers. Seriously I was the brunt of many internet addict jokes but didn't feel a pang until perhaps our wait for a return flight. So, still catching up on your news but I will eventually. If you ever venture over here, see Sydney and the Queensland Coast but don't write Melbourne off. It has plenty to offer. Including four seasons in one day! Take your sunscreen and a brolly. And thank you my darling girls. . .you are all on the top of my 'ten things' list even if I don't tell you so.

39 comments:

nick said...

Jenny and I weren't very keen on Melbourne, though it has its highlights like the Ian Potter Centre and the Botanic Gardens. Glad you had such a great weekend with your mates. Hope you went back to work feeling a bit more aggro-proof.

Roy said...

Nice shots, Baino! That looks like it was a fun trip. And that area you called "the Lanes" reminds me of the downtown shopping area of Providence, RI, just up the road about 25 miles (40 km). The mains streets are Westminster flanked by Weybosset and Washington, main cross streets like Dorrance and Eddy, but in between all them is a warren of side streets and alleys with pubs, restaurants and shops fronting on narrow sidewalks and streets made dark even on the brightest day by the surrounding tall buildings. That shot you have almost looks like Moulton Lane, which has a small, dark men's hat shop that I stop in from time to time. It's wild how scenes like this repeat themselves all over the world.

Kate said...

It sounds fascinating and just the thing for Hippy chicks!
Nice mugshot lady!!!

hokgardner said...

Sounds like a lovely weekend! I love getting to see so much of Australia through your travels and pictures.

Alan Burnett said...

You seem to have had a great time. Thanks for giving me a flavour of Melbourne.

Candie Bracci said...

That is so great thanks for sharing that!The first pic is awesome!I'm glad you had a great time.

Grannymar said...

Did you not run into my little bro?

Brian Miller said...

nice. looks like you all had a great time. wonderful shots...so what was it that landed you in the mugshot? lol. the festival sounds like my cuppa tea~

ian said...

I always though Mick Jagger made a better Ned Kelly than Ned Kelly did!

Are you really 5' 10"?

Ronda Laveen said...

Your photo pictorial along with narrative is so fun. I feel like I got to go with you girls.

I laughed when you hugged "K" in the street. Caught him off guard, eh?

Baino said...

Nick it's growing on me. I think having a local to show you around is everything. The CBD is like any other but the nooks and crannys well worth exploring. Fitzroy Park is one of my faves actually.

I think these little laneways are everywhere Roy but Sydney is so 'modern' that they're having trouble creating that atmosphere. I suspect Paris and the US do them a little better than us but they are a treat to explore.

Kate if you're into 'vintage' definitely the place to shop!

It was Heather, but the weather was all over the place. It's the sort of city where you need your bathers and a coat!

Alan whenever we get together, we do have fun. Just shame we don't do it more often.

Haha . . not my best side Candie but touring the jail was fun.

It's a mugshot from Old Melbourne Jail with the back wall set up in one of the old interview rooms. The festival was good but mainly food.

Ian I'm about 5'9 the other inch is frizzy hair!

We certainly did some walking Ronda, my feet are killing me. How coincidental was that. I usually stay with him when I'm down there but didn't even tell him I was coming this time due to being with the chick posse! He's a very cool customer, doesn't surprise easily. I was the one who got the shock at seeing him!

Darlene said...

Thanks for a mini tour of Melbourne. I really enjoy travel through the lens of your camera.

AngelMay said...

Wonderful photos, Baino! Thanks so much for sharing them.

Ropi said...

It is not really a photo which fits to a family album if I may say so.

Megan said...

Oooh, jailbait! :)

I love all your posts but the 'travelogue' ones are so fun - you do such a good job blending the photos and the commentary.

Glad you had a good time!

Babysis said...

Looks unreal, love the mugshot - should be your photo on Facebook!

laughingwolf said...

glad ye had fun...

steph said...

Bet it was tough going back to work after that lot!

Thanks for the tour, Baino.

otin said...

Did you say that you didn't miss me??? (pout)

I am glad that the Mug shot was just a tourist pic! I would hate to have to come over there and bail you out! haha!

Jill said...

What a wonderful time you had!

I should like to have a stroll down Brunswick Street!

Kath Lockett said...

Top photos, Baino.
If only I could say the same -ie that my father-in-law had a good time in Melbourne or made hosting him a pleasant one, but I. Just. Can't. Say. It.

What I *can* say is that he's now gone and Melbourne's a much nicer place!

Pam said...

Great mug shot Baino. I prefer Melbourne to Sydney anyday, although last time I visited Sydney I managed to get a photo with Roy of Roy and HG fame outside the newsagent.He was more than happy to oblige, even with his Saturday morning stubble!

River said...

A Boo Radley top and no picture of it?? Hmmm.
I love those giant paella pans, somehow paella made in a small pan just doesn't taste the same. Maybe those Spanish cooks have a trick or two up their sleeve that we haven't figured out yet. Anyway, food bought on the run at street stalls is always the best, probably because we don't have to shop for it, cook it or clean up after it.
We have a small side street here in Adelaide with painted wall murals, I'll email you some pics that I took of it last year.
It's nice to get away for a bit isn't it?

Kate Hanley said...

My husband has been to Melbourne a couple of times on business. He loves it. I keep trying to get him to get transferred there for a year or two. Maybe someday....

e said...

Lovely mugshot Baino. I too love your travelogues and photos since they are probably the nearest I'll get to Australia. Sounds like a fun weekend!

Renee said...

You are gorgeous even as a convict.

I love this post Helen, it is wonderful to travel with you.

Renee xoxo

Leah said...

So much fun; I would love The Alchemist!

And what Renee said--you look beautiful even in a mugshot, and that's a hard thing to pull off!

Rowe said...

Great mug shot, Baino. I'm coming too next time you go there ...

Ribbon said...

I enjoy Melbourne too and I love the way you have shared it here Baino...
I'm not keen on their eratic weather... but then again it seems to be changing everywhere these days.

One of the nice things about living in Sydney is that you are very close to other places to get away to.... unlike Perth where it is a cut lunch and water bag trip everywhere :)

love to you and great to read that you have had some fun away from home.
x Ribbon

Ribbon said...

PS... even in a mug shot you look beautiful!

xx

Lorna Lilo said...

Great to see you were in my neighborhood and walking through some of my favourite places... and with no mention of sport or anything sporting related (unless of course shooting at people with metal buckets on their heads was a sport in those days). Melbourne is a good place but you just need to find out which laneway it is in.

The Man at the Pub said...

Next time you come you should go to Carlton and join the Mafia as we need new material for "Underbelly 6-The Blogger" and we already have your mugshot which confirms you look the part.

Just don't drop the soap.

Ces said...

Baino, these photographs are terrific! I especially like the bottom one. I am sorry I can't read the post. My eyes are so tired from working so much but I have not visited you for awhile and I just wanted to say hello!

Carolina said...

Looking good on that mugshot!
Noticed that the photo of the wine bar and the ones after that are a bit blurred. Proof of it being a nice wine bar indeed ;-)
Looks like you had a great time. Melbourne sounds wonderful.

Quickroute said...

Love the mug shot - Only spent a few days in Melbourne but loved it and have friends in St Kildas

jay said...

Oh, now I want to go to Melbourne and wander through those grubby lanes!

Funny how the helicopters stopped at night. I wonder if it's because they mainly do planned transfers from other hospitals?

Glad you had a good time with the girls. There's nothing better, is there? :)

Miladysa said...

Very interesting and enjoyable post!

I think I would like The Alchemist and the prison visit too. Spent ages looking at all that grafitti and wondering about the women who wrote it...

The prison is not unlike Walton Jail - very similar. Not that I have ever been there in a personal capacity LOL

Sarah Lulu said...

Looks like you had a fantastic time ..mug shot or not LOL.

My daughter was in Melbourne the week before for a wedding ..she loves it there to visit and shop.

I've missed our interaction.

I was too sick to bother with anyone but I'm back in the frey now!

sandyshares said...

fun time I see yay