Thursday, December 27, 2012

Melbourne Trip 2012

 It seems that I picked the perfect timing for my trip to Melbourne.   Though the weather swayed between hot, warm, cool and cold, there was not a drop of rain during my stay.  The city was decked out beautifully for Christmas, including some of the historical arcades.

I ate a lot of fantastic, massive portion meals at a variety of places:

1. Avacado & fried mushrooms on toasted pida.  - St Kilda Galleon Cafe - Carlisle St, St. Kilda
2. Macadamia Salad - Vegie Bar -  Brunswick St, Fitzroy.
3. Spiced Dandelion Tea & Chocolate & Prune Brownie - Storm in a Teacup - Smith St, Fitzroy.
4. A Shak-in-roll breakfast burger - Beatrix - Quensberry St., Queensberry.

 5. Lemon Brioche - Beatrix - Queensberry St, Queensbury.
6. Strawberry Tart - Gallery Cafe - National Gallery of Victoria.
7. Pumpkin Salad - Spud Bar - Chapel St, Windsor.
 8. Yasai Ramen - Yoyogi - Swanston St, City Center.

9. Muesli Slice - Crumbs Bakery - Errol St, North Melbourne.
10. Welsh Rarebit - Hopetoun Tea Rooms - Collins St, Melbourne.
11. Bircher Museli - Mileto's Bar - Chapel St, Prahan.
12. Mango & Pomello, Matcha Icecream & Sago - Dessert Story - Swantson St, Melbourne.

I intended to be a tourist and go to Luna Park but it was packed with school kids.... so instead I enjoyed seeing the gingerbread version in the Gingerbread Village by Epicure (to raise money for the Starlight Foundation). instead I enjoyed seeing the gingerbread version in the Gingerbread Village by Epicure (to raise money for the Starlight Foundation).

I waited in the cold dark for Fairy Penguins to come into their homes amongst the rocks but only saw a few.  Apparently it was good fishing for penguins that evening.   This showy little juvenile penguin was less than a meter from me.  Squee!

I saw some incredible street art...

...and I visited the NGV to peruse more traditional art.  I enjoyed the Ballet and Fashion exhibit (thanks to Bessgeorgette for the tipoff.)  I also paid to see the Radiance exhibit of Neo-Impressionist artworks, which I loved.  After that I wandered through the European Art section.  I felt entirely calmed and at peace by the time I left.

One of the main events for my trip was the vintage clothing shopping I had planned.  Below is the list of stores I visited (ending in only a few purchases).

1. Hunter Gatherer Showcase Store - Royal Arcade.
2. Anonymous Posh - Royal Arcade.
3. Hunter Gatherer (St Lawrence Op Shop) - Royal Arcade, downstairs.
4. Circa Vintage - Melbourne CBD
5. Hunter Gatherer (St Lawrence Op Shop) - St Kilda.
6. Shag - Brunswich St - Fitzroy.
7. Shappere - Smith St - Fitzroy.
8. Sally's Retro Fashion - Smith St. Fitzroy.
9. Sixes and Sevens - Smith St. Fitzroy.
10. Friperie - Smith St. Fitzroy.
11. Out of the Closet - Brunswick St. Fitzroy.

70s/80s skirt.  I loved the pattern and colours in this skirt so tried it on as well as a peasant blouse that didn't really work for me.  The girl in the store was friendly and attentive, the music wasn't too loud and the fitting room spacious/mirror huge. 

12. Vintage sole - Brunswick St. Fitzroy.
13. Hunter Gatherer - Brunswick St. Fitzroy.
14. Sheila Vintage - Brunswick St. Fitzroy.
15. Ruby Red Dress - Gertrude St. Fitzroy.
16. Red Rocket - Melbourne CBD.

Red Rocket gets an honourable mention because though I didn't buy anything there I spend a long two hours browsing through the store and would have bought a dashing green 50s dress if it hadn't been 2 sizes too big.  The atmosphere was great, the store staff didn't hassle and it was a great shopping experience.  I definitely recommend this to any visitors to Melbourne wanting to do a bit of Vintage shopping.  (Also - duck upstairs one floor to Lucello, a charming and whimsical store which sells vintage and antique haberdashery.)
17. Fancy Pants - NOW CLOSED - St Kilda.
18. Treasure Trove - Chapel St. Windsor

The lovely gentlemen in this shop were very helpful and affable.  The owner was very willing to bargain down on the older stock which means I got this nearly new 60s dress at a steal price of $80.   It seems that a lot of stock in this store is from the closed Fancy Pants store at St. Kilda.  There was a great mix of items in the store and I really enjoyed shopping there. 

19. Fat Helens - Chapel St. Prahran.
20. Chapel St Bazaar - Chapel St. Prahran.

What can I say except that shopping at Chapel St Bazaar was an absolute pleasure.  I tried on two 50s dresses and a 50s cardi which all fit perfectly.  I talked myself out of buying all three items and now wish I had at least bought one of the dresses.  I was unwilling to pay $120 for it when it was slightly damaged and I had another rather similar. I did however go nuts on scarves and bangles here.

21. Out of the Closet - Melbourne CBD.

I was pleased to find the exact style of peasant blouse I was after.  However, I didn't like the general feel of this store and found the store owner who served me snide and off-putting.

I suspect if I were to go back to Brunswick and Smith St again I would have been more free with my money.  Trying to cram all that vintage shopping into just a few days was hard - and I always had the thought "I don't want to spend $x on that when I might find the perfect dress in the next store/tomorrow."

I was often disappointed by the large amount of 70s, 80s and even 90s clothes available and the scarcity of 50s and 60s.  This was entirely my own fault as I had traveled to Melbourne like one expecting to find the vintage clothing equivalent of the Cities of Gold (i.e. the streets lined with 50s dresses, so common that only a pittance of say $50 was being charged.)

But I am delighted with the few pieces I bought and have already worn all of them in outfits over the last week.

I loved the beautiful old buildings around Melbourne - both in the city and out in the suburbs.

Finally, the real highlight of my trip was when I visited the Melbourne Zoo and was able to enter the enclosure to get photographed with a group of Meerkats.  They were so small, dainty and full of energy, like hyperactive children.  

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