I love Melbourne. There's something so unique about this city that sets it apart from the rest of Australia. It's a city full of culture and notoriously known for its rainy whether, which that alone, doesn't sound like your stereotypical image of our usual "sun, surf and sand" country. My good friend Anna had been never been before and when I saw cheap flights advertised on Facebook, we spontaneously booked them that same day and spent eight lovely nights in the city back in June. My sister, Kym, and best friend, April, came along for a few days too.
If you're a foodie, you'll love Melbourne. There are a million independently owned cafés all across the city, situated in Melbourne's infamous alleyways. Our favourite was definitely RMB Café on Degraves Street, where we indulged in poached eggs and French toast with bacon and strawberries, drizzled with maple syrup. It was absolutely epic! I caught up with Milda, my lovely uni friend, who I hadn't seen about four years, and she took me to this amazing café called Naked For Stan, which was kind of like a buffet tapas and each thing you ate cost $1! They served some delicious flavoured Vodka cocktails too. I also tried peking duck for the first time in Melbourne, which was basically heaven, and as my best friend is now a vegan (and a redhead!), ate out at an all vegan restaurant, which was surprisingly delicious! Fried avocado? Yes, please!
As I mentioned, Melbourne is a city full of culture, so there were days where we did more than just shopping! We dedicated one day to our "culture day" where we walked all around the alleyways in awe of the incredible street art, visited the Hollywood costume exhibition and then went to the National Gallery of Victoria to see the Monet exhibition. I could spend hours watching films and Monet is one of my favourite painters, and as much as I love shopping, I love a city that has so much more to offer. We ended this day by going out to dinner to Dracula's, which is probably Melbourne's most famous cabaret restaurant.
On the weekend, I caught up with my good friend, Innesa, who took me to the Queen Victoria Markets, which wasn't that exciting, but if you live there, a great place to buy fresh fruit and veggies. If everything goes to plan, I'm hoping to be housemates with Innesa when I make the eventual move to Melbourne! On the Saturday night, April and I caught up with one of our Contiki friends who we met on our Europe trip last year, and he took us bar hopping across the city. My favourite place was The Croft Institute, which is bar themed like an old hospital and you drinks are drank through syringes! It's eery and dark, and actually smells like a hospital too. I had a hangover the next day, but the carbonara and tea I had in Little Italy made me feel a hell of a lot better.
On our last day, Anna and I had yum cha for lunch (we ate too much dim sum in Melbourne!), visited the DFOs (direct factory outlets), did some shopping in Melbourne Central and stopped off at Madame Brussels to end our day. Madame Brussels is a quaint and super cute rooftop bar, which doesn't sound like you're typical place to visit in the middle of winter, but the heating and blankets they provide make it so warm and cosy! We enjoyed a delicious cheese platter and some warm, fruity butter rum before getting sushi to take home for dinner and back to the hotel. We ended our last night in Melbourne snug in bed watching movies and packing our suitcases. Perfect.
I wish I'd taken better photos of the gorgeous buildings and Flinders Street Station, but I'm sure I'll be back in Melbs soon. As much as my hair and I despise the rain, I could definitely see myself living here in the near future. I do love Sydney, but Melbourne just has such a cool vibe and it feels more me. Not that I think I'm cool or anything, but I feel like this city has everything I love. I love the sound of the trams and the yellow taxis. I really can't wait to call this city home one day.
Look out for my Melbourne haul coming up next! Not gonna lie, it's pretty epic.