Saturday, March 5, 2011

Melbourne, I love you

Considering my travel to quite a few places overseas, it surprised people to know that I had never travelled to Melbourne. The bff Meredith was born there and thus the perfect tour guide for my first trip to the Garden State.

Last weekend we took a leisurely Friday off work and caught a 7.30am flight to Melbourne (getting up at 4.45am was so insanely enjoyable). First up we checked in at our amazing hotel (cue sarcasm). With goths galore, a druggie having a breakdown and a damp floor in our room it was all class. The best part was the price tag and for this I was willing to endure the seedy company to save dollars for shopping.

One of the greatest things about Melbourne are the little laneways that duck and connect each of the main streets. Even greater? The quaint little cafes and coffee shops. We started off our Friday morning with brunch, coffee and people watching at one of these red-cupped locations.

We then spent several hours in the hidden underground bargain stores that Meredith frequents when she visits her two older siblings and neices each Christmas. It was cheap Asian galore. A $6 skirt, $35 shoes and a little denim jacket that grew on all of us over time.

While M's mum hit the town with some friends she met on a cruise in Alaska last year, M and I made our way to Southbank for cocktails and dinner. Our chosen location? Nobu. We were desperate to go here in New York last year but somehow never made it to the Robert De Niro founded sushi joint. After Apchee martinis (yes, lychee and apple mixed together) we were seated at the sushi bar. Fresh salmon, crab and avocado rolls were made right in front of our eyes while wine was aplenty. A spin around The Crown Casino and some delicious gelato wrapped up a great night. Oh, and don't forget the amazing people outside our hotel as we got back to our fab digs.

Saturday was a morning of hash browns, peppermint tea, amazing coffee and M's favourite cafe's eggs benedict. We checked out a few more alley ways and found some amazing art. Energised, we began what turned out to be a massive mission to get to Bridge Rd. Trust that the weekend we are in Melbourne there was tram work. So two trams and a bus later we were ready for our next big shopping day. Treats from Country Road, Gorman and Wittner were on the list.

Dinner that night with Meredith's brother Leigh, his wife Lisa and two adorable girls Maddie and April rounded out a pretty great day. Minus Maddie being sick in the middle of the restaurant after enjoying a few too many calamari rings. Don't fret though, 20 mins later she was enjoying raspberry gelato.

Sunday started with rain and a hilarious Greek (no wait, "I'm Aussie," she insisted) cab driver on the way to Chapel St. More shoes, clothes and food galore we were very happy ladies despite the wetness that Melbourne always delivers.

After drinks in the afternoon with M's mum we were back at the airport by 8pm, exhausted and ready to head home. Let us not forget the hot boy that made us both blush. Somehow, although insanely tired we still managed to giggle half the way home on the flight. I discovered my talent for social commentary that made us laugh our pants off.

What an amazing weekend? I definitely fell hard for Melbourne. Can't wait for my next visit.

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