My previous stories about our Australian trip last year - yes, we need another vacation soon - had all been about food. This week I'd like to take a break from my regular gastronomic programming and (finally) start the first part of a photo series (hopefully) telling the tales of our adventures Down Under. Over the course of about two weeks there we've been quite nomadic I've stayed at five different places - Vijay six as he was there longer - but it all started with Melbourne. U2's 360 concert at Etihad brought us to the city of trams for the first time and we fell in love with it.
Our apartment at East Melbourne came with a full kitchen, complete with an oven. With a supermarket bursting with fresh produce just behind our place, I got the chance to whip up some simple breakfasts for our quiet mornings in and even a mustard pan-seared lamb dinner with roasted potatoes during one of the nights we decided to eat in. The beginning of summer in December still brought a good amount of wet days to the city and we took in the cold weather like ducks to the pond. See how Vijay thawed his favorite salted butter?
Melbourne CBD - although bustling with stylish commuters all in a day's work - was an architectural haven for us, from its distinct Victorian houses to grand stone buildings tucked comfortably amongst modern high rises. We trammed and walked around town and only took a cab once when we were running late for a visit to Victoria Market.
We found ourselves (accidentally) at the graffiti filled Hosier Lane while on our way to make a reservation at The Press Club - a late lunch the day after turned out nice, although the famous Aphrodite dessert item didn't look quite like the one served on Masterchef Australia Season 2 - and went slightly trigger happy there before dropping by Movida for dinner - not as impressive, my fish was overcooked and the churros was sad, among other things.
We managed to catch a school of little penguins crossing the rocks of St Kilda after an afternoon of coffee, Turkish delights, cannoli (Le Bon Cafe, a random pick out of an entire row of menacing-looking bakeries along Ackland Street a.k.a. Cake Street) and Il Fornaio. I was beside myself with happiness to be able to see my little wobbly friends and was thankful that Vijay arranged for a trip to Philip Island in our packed itinerary.
Sunset by the pier was - as expected - breathtaking.
We returned to live for a few days at North Melbourne after returning from Great Ocean Road and Philip Island - more on that next time. Vijay managed to do his rent-a-blue-bike thing for a short while in the city before we left for Sydney while I caught up with a schoolmate I haven't seen for more than ten years at D.O.C. Pizza - good stuff there.
I almost skipped Sydney just to stay longer in Melbourne - in fact we only bought our domestic flight tickets at the very last minute and ended up paying much more for it than if we planned ahead - but in the end decided to move on because I knew that I would definitely return for another visit very soon.