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Leah Down Under

victorian melbourne

AUSTRALIA | Monday, 8 June 2009 | Views [610]

As luck would have it, Melbourne, Victoria, notoriously rainy and chilly in the winter, where we were expecting clouds and drizzle, miraculously gave us a bright blue sky for our day of exploring. So we took it and wore ourselves out wandering around this delicious city on Port Phillip Bay on Australia's southeast coast. Gorgeous building after gorgeous building line the historic streets of the central business district, along the Yarra River, and the atmosphere and people struck me as very European compared to Perth (which I think is more "California"). The shopping is wonderful, and there are lots of neighborhoods and districts with cute shops and cafes.

We ventured south to St. Kilda, which was an upscale seaside suburb during the Victorian era and is now a trendy place to see and be seen, mainly on Acland Street, which is lined with boutiques and amazing cake shops whose front windows are filled floor-to-ceiling with colorful, sugary treats. Chapel Street is another chic shopping district, where I spent plenty of time popping into shops while Seb unbeknowstly continued walking down the street talking to himself.

There is a lot of green space in Melbourne, and the Royal Botanical Gardens are very spacious and lovely. They are inside a huge park that also includes the Queen Victoria Gardens and the Alexandria Gardens, which lead back up to the south bank of the Yarra River.

The architecture, the shopping, the food and the cafe culture are all fantastic, and my favorite features of the city are the little arcades and alleys that encompass all of the above. Block Arcade and Royal Arcade, which sit between major streets in the city, both date from the late 1800s. They are these gorgeous arched walkways with mosaic floors, beautiful moldings and colorful chocolate shops, bakeries and clothing stores. The pedestrian-only DeGraves Street is another favorite, where the umbrella-ed tables sit in the middle of the street and it's impossible to tell where one cafe stops and the other begins. I could not get enough of these heavenly little thoughfares, as Seb can attest to because I kept dragging him through the same ones. I highly recommend going to Melbourne for them alone.

I did not take many photos of Melbourne, as I was too busy simply taking it all in, but there are some in the "melbourne" gallery.

Melbourne's Yarra River--the CBD is on the north bank (the left side) and lots of park space is on the south side.

Melbourne's Yarra River--the CBD is on the north bank (the left side) and lots of park space is on the south side.

Tags: melbourne, st. kilda


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