I began my extremely LONG journey to Melbourne on Wednesday afternoon. You know what they say; desperate times call for desperate measures. So in my dire financial situation I have “elected” to take the train to Melbourne rather than fly to save some cash. However, this savings comes at it’s own intangible price, 27 HOURS OF MY LIFE I WILL NEVER GET BACK. And that’s each way. Oh and that’s economy, the sleeper car was a luxury I could not afford. My wallet better be grateful that’s all I’ve got to say.
I met some Canadian guys on the last leg of my train ride and they happened to be staying at the same hostel so we were able to navigate our way there together upon arrival in Melbourne. We were staying in a cute suburb close to the beach 15 minutes from the CBD called St Kilda. My friends weren’t due to arrive until after midnight so I went down to check out the local night market with the two Canadian guys. This place was hippie central with an abundance of bongo drums and fire dancers—it had a very similar to the crowd you would find at Tam Tams in MTL.
The next morning we headed the Melbourne’s downtown core for a walking tour I ripped out of my Lonely Planet book. We started at the Queen Victoria Market to grab some grub. For the next couple of hours we toured around the streets, passing all of Melbourne’s iconic buildings and monuments. The coolest part about Melbourne though is the little tiny alleys found all over the city lined with unique boutiques and some of the best food in Australia.
We headed over to Southbank to check out a floating pop-up restaurant open for the Melbourne’s food and wine festival. The venue allowed you to enjoy some very high quality food for a reasonable price! I split a four-dumpling taster with Mere and the chosen paired wine.
Eventually we made our way to Brunswick Street, known for it’s hipster vibe. The street is full of awesome cafes and shops but we headed to a restaurant called Little Creatures, as we were meeting my McGill roommate Casey’s friend from Newfoundland who is in Melbourne for Vet school. The “dining hall” was a super cool venue and the food was to die for. I also tried out a beer tasting platter that was quite good made up of the house cider, a pale ale, a darker vanilla infused beer, and an IPA. We ended our night on Chapel Street—Melbourne’s famous nightlife street.
The next morning Elai arrived and we had a great breakfast in St Kilda. We then walked along the St Kilda beach and out to the pier, as it was much warmer than our first day in Melbourne. Afterwards we strolled the streets and cute shops of St Kilda and ended the afternoon at the St Kilda botanical gardens. Elai and I headed back to Brunswick Street to do the shops and were just in our element. We had a dinner date with two girls from our Thailand trip right downtown at a yummy Mexican tapas place. It was really great to catch up with them and after dinner we headed to a bar called the Croft Institute recommended by Casey’s friend Kathryn. This place is literally down a sketchy alley in Chinatown but the concept is cool! The bar is themed like a science laboratory and drinks are served with syringes for consumption.
On our final day in Melbourne Elai and I got off to an early start and headed to Chapel Street for breakfast and a walk around. Afterwards we trained into the CBD and explored some of the inner city streets some more. Being together again in the food capital of Australia left us no choice but to find a lunch that would blow our socks off. Kind of by chance we ended up at a South East Asian joint where we enjoyed an amazing meal that brought back memories of Thailand. After lunch and a few wrong turns we finally arrived at the Brisbane Exhibition Centre to watch a couple of Australia’s top Crossfit Athletes throwdown for the Open WOD 14.2. It was a lot of fun to watch and as it turned out the WOD happened amidst a fitness and health expo so we got to walk around a few other booths (and sift through lots of body building meatheads on roids). The most hilarious booth at the expo goes back to my remark earlier about fake breasts. This booth was advertising “cosmetic vacations”, trips to Thailand to get a boob job! What a vacation package…
We enjoyed one final dinner in St Kilda at an awesome Italian restaurant and then had to part ways. I was able to shave 6 hours off my return by inquiring and catching an earlier train back to Brisbane (and got upgraded to first class in the process) #winning.