Melbourne, round 3.
After having a great time my last couple times in Melbourne, I couldn’t help but squeeze in another trip. I spent a wonderful week in Sydney and was nearly heartbroken to leave, but I turned on my heel and got myself to the domestic airport. I gave Ryan a quick hug goodbye, feeling terribly sad. I made my way over to Terminal 2 and waited for my flight to board.
After enduring an hour and a half of some crazy intense air conditioning, we began to make our descent into Melbourne. I was thinking, I’m Canadian and I am freaking cold right now. The pilot began to alert us of the heat.
The current local temperature is 41 degrees celsius. Local time is 6:35 pm.
I was thinking it had to be some crazy joke and ignored it. We touched down. They opened up the rear exits and had as make our way down the stairs onto the tarmac. As my leg stepped out the door, I could feel a rush of hot air against it. I stepped outside feeling blown away by the heat. I kept telling myself, don’t worry, it’s just the contrast of the air conditioner, it’s really not that hot.
I made my way into the terminal, greeted by Todd’s friendly face. We gave each other a warm hello and he took me down to grab my bags. Taking a quick glance at my beat up military boots, he looked to me and said, “you’ve got thongs in your bag…right?” ”Uh, yeah why?” ”You’re going to want to change your shoes… it’s really hot out, like 40.” So the pilot wasn’t joking.. nice.
Todd was a gentleman and carried my overpacked backpack over to his Jeep and we hopped in quickly, embracing the air-conditioning. Rolling back through the Melbourne highways, I felt like I had come home. Don’t get me wrong, I’m obviously no expert on Melbourne, but the familiarity of it all was really nice.
As we got to Tor’s, I stepped out of the car feeling the hot air rush against my face. Todd gave me a quick hug before he stepped away, saying he’d give me a ring later in the week to link up. Was super happy to see Tor again, she was having a chat with Hannah on Skype so we all got to hang out.. via internet. Groovy.
The next day I literally did nothing but research Thailand. All day. I waited at home for Tor to get back like a desperate puppy in need of attention. After skimming through cooking classes available in Koh Samui, all I could honestly think about was thai food. A bowl of green curry with prawns later, my tummy was singing. We made our way over to the Clyde to grab beers with Ben, which ended up being closed. I had never been to anywhere near the University of Melbourne so I found it kind of interesting. I compared it to my student life back at UBC. We had a lovely time with Ben and I got to try Little Creatures Bright Ale. Seriously dope beer.
I made my way to St. Kilda beach the next day to be greeted by some of the windiest weather I’ve ever experienced. I might have gotten a bit TOO much sun. I parked myself up at Hotel Esplanade, a wicked old hotel overlooking the beach turned concert venue. I grabbed a pot of Fat Yak and made my way to the patio to overlook the sun shining over the water. Yeah, this isn’t so bad.
I met up with Katie later to have a chat and head over to Victoria market for some gelato. FYI, TIM TAM GELATO? AMAZING. She gave me a quick tour of the colleges that surrounded Melbourne Uni. Talk about gorgeous brick buildings. She pointed out her colleges and described all of them. She dropped me off and we said a quick goodbye, promising to see each other on the weekend.
The next day I was honestly bored to tears as I had discovered it was another day alone, as everyone busy at work. I plugged “trip advisor melbourne things to do” into Google and started searching. Done it, done it, done it…
Wait, what’s this?
I hastily got ready and on my way out decided to give them a call to make a booking.
“Hey just inquiring about your 2 pm brewery tour, hoping there’s space left.”
“Sorry, we’re fully booked.”
“Can you come in tomorrow, we’ve got heaps of space left for 2 pm.”
“Mm, not sure. My plans are all over the place at the moment so I’ll have to check back tomorrow.”
“Is it just you?”
“Yeah, just me.”
“Can you hold on a second?”
30 seconds later..
“We’re fully booked, but what’s one more..right?”
As I checked in, the man at the counter spoke to me. I guess my unusual accent tipped him off. ”Vanessa, right? We spoke on the phone, my name’s Andrew.” I thanked him for squeezing me in last minute and he assured me it was no trouble. I inquired quickly about a few items in the gift shop, hoping to bring them home to friends as a gift. He said, “Just a tip, if you buy them at the end of the tour, you save 10%.”
There is a tall, middle aged, friendly faced guardian angel named Andrew who works at the Carlton United Brewery. Just saying.
I had Regan as a tour guide, and she was great. I learned that Carlton United Brewery brews 2 million litres of beer PER WEEK, 4.1 MILLION stubbies. Also, fun fact, the leftover yeast is sold to Kraft to make vegemite. Gotta love reusing.
After my tour I met an older couple named Jenny and Scott who shared a passion for microbreweries and breweries alike. They were on an excursion through Australia and New Zealand for 7 weeks, off to try different beers. I swear to god, when I find someone who will put up with me for the rest of my life, we are going to do something like that. Guaranteed.
Andrew had a quick chat to us about his life in the states and his travels in Canada. Mentioned he worked on cruise ships so he was used to interacting frequently with people. He offered us a free round, although I was tempted to go for the Fat Yak once again (seriously, obsessed), I settled on Carlton Black. Rich in flavour, smooth, creamy finish.
I parted ways with my new friends and met up with Tor for some shopping. Although I rocked the shopping scene, I couldn’t for the life of me find multipacks of Bonds socks in any number bigger than three. I could’ve sworn I had bought at least 4 at a time. I settled on a new Country Road bag. I’ve only wanted one for about 3 years.. no big. Also I got it on sale for half price, huzzah, bargain shopping!
I met up with James Foo in the morning for a quick brunch at Triim in the Melbourne CBD. Salmon eggs benny, my absolute favourite, complete with a flat white. Although the food wasn’t particularly extraordinary, I loved sitting outside with the sun creeping down the alley. James also informed me that George Calombaris (judge of MasterChef Australia) was enjoying brunch across the street from us. Sweet, my first celebrity sighting!
After whining to him about my inability to find Bonds socks, James agreed to take me outlet shopping.
Side note, when I first moved to Canberra I bought Bonds socks within the first week. Most of the pairs have lasted me 3 years. I want these socks again because they are so freaking awesome and last for literally an eternity. They are THAT GOOD.
Anyway.. we tried the outlets at the docklands and I was up a pair of Canterbury track pants (on sale for $35, of course), but still, no socks. He took the trouble to drag me along the tram over to the DFO, where I was up a 3 pack, but still no 4 pack. Finally, things came full circle when we went back in the city to Big W. 4 packs galore, 3 different colours, a couple different sizes.. I was STOKED. Not to mention $10.45, cheapest in town, cheaper than the OUTLETS.
Celebrating a variety of successes, we capped off at James Squire for our tasters!
Pleased with our success, we retreated to Hu Tong’s to find it closed. We made our way over to Russell St instead to Noodle Kingdom. We indulged in the Shanghai Glutenous Noodles (Rice cake noodles, my absolute favourite. Steph Huh, if you’re reading this..) and some dumplings. We said a quick goodbye, promising to see each other later.
I capped off my day digging through used books at an antique shop. I found an amazing book called Escape by David McMillan and so far, it is incredible. Google David McMillan drug smuggler and you will get what I’m talking about. He wrote the book and I got it for a mere $4. Best investment ever, I can’t put it down. I ended up heading out to play a little tennis with Tor and Kat and decided to lay low for the rest of the night.. yup, I’m a total granny.
I’ve been trying to get ahold of a few people to hang out with, a friend from college, Will to name one of a few. After not hearing from him about potential plans for the weekend, it’s hard not to get frustrated when people are waiting to hear back from you on what you plan to do. Today I got the best excuse EVER for not replying. Seriously.
“Hey sorry i didn’t get back to u earlier. I ended up spending the day fighting a fire just near home. U may have seen it on the news? Still hoping to get down tomorrow night, but ill let u know for sure during the day. Hope u r enjoying melbs x” -Will
First of all, you fought a fire, you are the hottest thing since sliced bread. Second, you are still planning on driving all the way out here to see me. Third, you gave me well wishes for my vacation. Honestly, some people are so nice sometimes, I am rendered speechless by their kindness.
St. Kilda tomorrow to see Josh and hopefully get a chance to see some more beautiful people!
I love Melbourne.
Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi: O FortunaJames Levine; Chicago Symphony Orchestra
O Fortuna | Carl Orff (as performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra)