We had our first meal-of-the-Melbourne-merry at Winsdor Castle, which, on walking through the doors, we were immediately confronted by an erect nipple and a hairy chest. Further, I was the only one who seemed to notice it. The man was, apparently, posing for a photo. Once I got past the disturbing nature of this incident however, Windsor Castle wasn't at all that bad. With yummy food, and a large albeit ridiculously crowded beer garden, it was actually quite nice.
The Castle was a light and airy walk from our place of stay which ended up being greatly convenient and wonderfully good value. And, they had a television (something of which I have none at home) which played such things as Snakes On A Plane and The Secretary. How did it know we'd be into such things? Oh, Maggie. Oh, CGI.
Michaels Camera Museum allowed us to wander and ogle at cameras as old as 120 years. I fell hard in love with an amazing and entirely gold, partly snakeskin Leica camera.
St Jerome's in Caledonian Lane that evening however, held no such antiques, the pub crowd seemed to average even younger than me. I was vaguely reminded of Purple Sneakers back home. I'm inclined to blame the night of the week though, and being Saturday, (pre a major football match at that) I would imagine most places in the City were of a similar vibe. I certainly, had we had enough time, would have loved to go back one afternoon during the week.
Daytime is so much prettier for such things and The Rooftop Bar at Curtin House proved as much. While the stairs took forever to walk up and the beers were rather on the expensive side, the view was wonderful, the building eerily similar to my home, and the Astroturf very entertaining. Who knew they could now make long-grassed and, yes, spongy Astroturf? I questioned my soccer (and therefore grass) knowledgable boyfriend for an accordingly long time. Awesome stuff. And when we realised it was crowded to the point of there being no seats, 'we' lamented, while I secretly cheered. Sitting on artificial grass with a normal-sized beer (none of those midis, or pots as they may call them, thank you) and a view of the city around. Again, while not as underground as one may be expecting (see what I did there?), I have to say, awesome stuff.
Due to Sunday laziness and an extraordinarily long walk, we unfortunately missed the better part of Coburg's Trash & Treasure and the entirety of Camberwell markets. On exhaustively plodding through the gates at the Coburg Drive-in, we noticed with dread there were an inordinate amount of cars leaving. True enough, it was because the stall-holders were closing up. Oh, Spader. Regardless, I still found a charming belt, two teddy bears strong, one of which with an apparently amputated arm. The concept of this non-market is wonderfully intriguing, it truly felt like twenty garages sales at once (I'm sure it would have been more, had we gotten there earlier), and I highly recommend it should you have a car and/or there is some secret Batmobile-type vehicle we were unaware of. Which actually could be quite likely, considering the location of said non-market. Check out the station after Coburg, it's lutes worth the train ride just for that.
The Carlton Hotel, with it's excess of taxidermy animals, was horribly nauseating. How this bar is well recommended I simply fail to understand. Palmz, the rooftop wasn't even open to allow escape, due to renovations. An unavoidable giraffe head (neck included) that hung on the wall between two doors was 'complemented' by emus and what one would imagine to be an entire Avery. Do you really find this impressive, Melbourne? Dim lighting and exorbitant '20s decor only added to what was already a uncomfortably heavy atmosphere.
In contrast, Lord Of The Fries is a breath of fresh air in its trade and you're highly recommended to, as we so merrily did, enjoy their thick but always crisp hot chips. Their menu is simple, and their delicious sauces categorised by country. Their prices are great too, even though I've heard it takes 24 hours to make a chip. And wait, here comes the clincher. They're vegetarian to the bone (they can do vegan too, if that's your thing) and their oil is reused in their vans as fuel.
Easy Cafe, in the basement of Bourke Street mall had fantastically swinging-from-the-ceiling benches, entangled with vines amongst garish (in the best possible way) colours. With Chinese Channel V and all the types of bubble tea you never knew existed, how can you go wrong? Sesame Milk Tea. Yum.
On Chapel Street I found the second best coffee I was to have in Melbourne. It was right up the end, opposite the train station, and it restored my hope for Melbourne coffee. The waitress was lovely too, and it seemed (I didn't nose too much) it had a garden in the back. I wish I could remember what it was called, but for now it shall just have to be that-lovely-place-opposite-the-train-station. The coffee was smack bam in the middle of our Chapel Street adventure, during which I found a dress I cut much too short, a little '70s purse and a check and floral scarf from Chapel Street Bazaar. The latter had an overwhelmingly large collection of vintage toys and clothes and furniture and knick knacks. It's the kind of place you struggle to find anything because there is so much to find.
Similarly, Retrostar was awesomely intense. Hidden away on Swanston Street, it's certainly a gem. It, believebly, claims to be the largest vintage store in Australia. On a less expensive note, Sacred Heart Mission on Brunswick is also worth a look, what with $1 vests and the like.
The best coffee now, wasn't due to the bean or the blend, the machine or the barista. As I was standing in line, waiting to order in a cafe opposite Retrostar, a strikingly amazonian woman turned around and walked past me. I smiled as one does when one thinks they know someone. I quickly ordered my coffee and found myself staring blankly as the waitress slyly smiled "Megan Gale just bought your coffee." As my severely hungover head struggled to compute this, she reiterated, "You know the supermodel? Megan Gale? She. Just. Shouted. You. A. Coffee." Giving Gale a mumbled thank you as I left, I spent the next ten minutes in a strange stupor. A lovely stupor however. Free coffee from a supermodel is a lovely thing. In fact, I'd even go as far to say (I don't think it's that much of a jump), she's a lovely one.
Alas, after rocking out in ACDC lane for a short while, it was time to turn away and go home. Turning away being something you might need to do, considering the absurd length of this post. Quick, before I flash you my nipple. And hairy chest.