By SAM ILIEV
Why do you take holidays?
Because your annual leave was adding up? You had an itch to tick that next thing off your bucket list? Or your airpoints were simply about to expire and you couldn’t bear to see them go to waste?
Well my most recent trip away was none of the aforementioned, and I’m not too sure if I could pin my decision down to one single factor.
But regardless of that, I went anyway and I don’t regret a single moment of it! Sit back, take a break from whatever you’re doing as I fill you in on the details of a journey, where to put it simply, I got sore legs from wandering where hundreds upon thousands of people have walked before me: Melbourne.
#1 Melbourne Central
There’s no denying it; I LOVE food. And once I try something I like, its hard to limit myself to just one.
Meet Melbourne Central, a bustling mall atop an underground metro station, full of places to empty my wallet faster than a Kardashian.
My first encounter with this particular shop was seeing a giant tub of pizza dough on its side, spilling out up against a glass wall like a grubby child outside a sweet shop. Behind that was a man busy making fresh pizza from scratch – it sold within minutes of it leaving the oven.
After exploring the alleyways and arcades of the city, I’d make my way towards Melbourne Central, through the streams of people and up to Pazzi Per La Pizza. Each time I waited for the same person who had served me before, a young chick, with short hair and one side shaved. She had a casual relaxed manner that really stood out amongst the bustle in the food court. $2.50 focaccia bread was my staple, and occasionally I’d get a pasta or extra slice of pizza, before descending the escalators into the metro and heading back out into the suburbs.
Was it the familiar face, the tasty food or the price that made this place so inviting? I’m not sure, maybe the combination. But if you happen to be in Melbourne Central for a day, you’ll have to pay them a visit!
#2 Coffee shops
‘Melbourne’ and ‘Coffee’ are two words that should be in the same sentence. Because with coffee shops comes food. Food. And more food. I came across a lot of quirky, trendy and even slightly sketchy places in Melbourne, but one my favourites would have to be Chapter House Coffee. If you know Flinders Street Station, you’ll be familiar with the Cathedral on the other side. Well as I was trying to look for the famous Hosier Lane with its street art, I stumbled across the little coffee shop tucked away around the side of the Cathedral. After buying a hot chocolate, the friendly staff sent me in the right direction for my street art fix. The thing I loved about this place was with it being so close to Flinders Station, I didn’t have far to walk after getting off the train to get a hot drink and tasty bite to eat.
#3 The art scene
I was really excited for the street art, but soon discovered that once an artist has finished their piece, any ol’ person would come along and tag over the top of it. And because Hosier Lane is so renowned, the signature artists (the ones who just tag with their initials or sign) move in real quick!
I had this idea I’d thought of on the plane over, and Melbourne seemed like the perfect place to try it out! So while I was in Hosier, I approached various randoms, asked them to take photos of me, tell them to not forget me because I might be famous one day, and then asked them to send them to me when they got Wi-Fi or processed the film for those with cameras. I suppose it was a bit of a social experiment. The idea was to see the time that elapsed would be enough to cause them to forget, and that if they did send them, I’d get a cool surprise sometime in the future. So far, I haven’t got any of the photos but I hope that one day, one might pop up in my inbox!
Although the city has its allure, the suburbs have a certain charm about them too – a perfect getaway from the city. One of my favourite things, regardless of where I am in the world, is trains. They still hold that idea of freedom in my mind, unconstricted by the heavy amounts of traffic on the roads.
A few times I jumped on a random train at the station and got off at whichever station took my fancy. I’d explore the streets and shops till either my phone died, I got too tired, or had to head to a food source. Fitzroy was one of my favourites. I actually met this guy called Fraser at the Fitz Café who knew our mayor! After lunch, he passed me a handwritten note to pass on Her Worship. Her sister goes to that café each week, and the Mayor goes too while she’s visiting. I bumped into her a few days in town and passed on the message – she was so happy and started to reminisce about the times she’d been there with her sister. Good vibes, right!
One more thing I want to mention before I finish up is the suburb of Yarraville where I’d been staying. Thanks to the Cornershop, I was introduced to this cute tea pot of loose leaf Chai, little pottle of honey, and handless mug. Such an indulgence on a chilly morning! And their Buckwheat & Blueberry Waffle is to die for, so full of flavours!
Each day I’d head into the Yarraville village, past this really neat shop: Mosey. This trendy store spilled over with greenery, as well as a selection of Ceramics and Greeting Cards. There’s something refreshing about seeing all the different green foliage, almost like a tropical suburban retreat in the middle of a twisted mess of infrastructure. I popped in several times, and the ladies were super friendly! I ended up buying several things from there during my stay, and since getting home have freshened up my room with a few easy care plants. My favourite is a Monstera Deliciosa (some people call it the fruit salad or Swiss cheese plant), catching green finger syndrome on holiday! Who would have thought?
If you’ve got any Melbourne travel tips, feel free to drop a comment below, because I can’t wait to go back and start my day with a Chai. ?
For more travel tips and stories, check out our Student Travel section, brought to you by YHA!