Hello from Melbourne!

Melbourne skyline over Flinders St. train tracks

Melbourne skyline over Flinders St. train tracks

Sorry for the long pause. I promise to try to keep them shorter this time, though the next month will be pure madness, work-wise. At the moment, I’m in Melbourne, Australia, taking a little break before I head to Canberra for an experiment. So far? I’ve walked everywhere. This is a city to explore on foot, if you can; the public green spaces are ubiquitous and well-planned, and there are people out and about everywhere. Running, chatting, drinking insane amounts of caffeine. You can’t help but pick up a bit of inspiration as you walk by your umpteenth jogger of the day.

Check out the metalwork. These details are common throughout Sydney and Melbourne.

Check out the metalwork. These details are common throughout Sydney and Melbourne.

The city has a little something for the food-obsessed, as well, though I can’t say it’s necessarily unique for Australia. If there’s one thing you’re pretty much guaranteed to find in any of the major cities out here, it’s an excellent market or two. Melbourne is no exception. The Queen Victoria Markets are definitely a tourist attraction, but they also happen to have a huge selection of produce, meat, eggs, fish, and pretty much anything else you might hope to eat. I got an awesome Barramundi, which is a white, tender, sweet-tasting fish, and some cavolo nero for dinner while I was there, though I’ll save that for another post.

Queen Victoria Markets -- one of many produce isles

Queen Victoria Markets -- one of many produce isles

There are also smaller venues, like Prahran Markets, which would put your local store’s produce section to shame. Even in winter! It may be a zillion degrees and humid back home, but it’s positively chilly here. This sort of explains the sad looking crop of tomatoes I saw pretty much everywhere, though I hear their second season should come soon.

Prahran Markets. Go have a coffee, and then buy yourself some apples.

Prahran Markets. Go have a coffee, and then buy yourself some apples.

I was happy to discover that there are also a few awesome little bakeries popping up across the city. In St. Kilda, along Fitzroy St., I came across Baker D Chirico, which makes deliciously crusty, buttery, chewy baguettes with organic flour and fairly basic ingredients. (The challah and pastries also looked amazing, but food’s expensive here, so I only got one loaf). It’s worth a trip, especially if you pair it with a coffee at the end of the St. Kilda pier, where you just might see a few dolphins:

This was taken next to the cafe at the end of the pier. There were three of them, and they played in the relatively shallow waters for quite a while.

This was taken next to the cafe at the end of the pier. There were three of them, and they must have felt like putting on a bit of a show, because they stayed for quite a while!

Other highlights so far: The Melbourne Museum, which combines culture, science, art, and history under one roof, shows at the Art Centre (with a student discount), and the amazing Botanical Garden. For more pictures, visit me at flickr.

And one last thing: James is dutifully tending our own wild bunch of tomato plants back home, and I thought I’d give an update, since it’s been a while since my last garden post.

Tomatoes gone wild.

Tomatoes gone wild.

Can you believe we started these things from seed? This picture is a week or so old, too. There are probably 20-30 brandywines in that mess, and hundreds of sungolds and yellow pears. He’s starting to get ripe ones, too … Yum.

That’s all for now. Tomorrow, I’m headed to the Dandenongs, and perhaps a Yarra Valley winery or two for a tasting. After that? Well, I’ll be ready to get back to work. At least, I hope so, anyway …

Before I forget, thanks for all the well wishes on the last post — I’m better now, thankfully!

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2 Comments

Filed under Melbourne, stories

2 responses to “Hello from Melbourne!

  1. Glad to hear the trip is going well! Melbourne looks amazing… keep us all updated, and good luck with your work!

    P.S. I have tomato envy. Still: 3 tiny little green tomatoes that are not growing or ripening (out of 15 plants!). Oh tomatoes, what happened to you this year??

  2. liz

    Thanks! (You, too — hope writing is going well!). I made it to Canberra, and haven’t yet had a chance to see anything, but the lake is pretty first thing in the morning. Telstra tower looks sort of like an alien presence, and is the only visible landmark (it’s so flat!), so it’s kind of a weird place. But more on that later…

    3 tomatoes out of 15? Yikes … We are having better luck, but we have lots of light and acidic soil, which makes them happy. Aside from a little early blight, and a few split brandywines after thunderstorms, we’ve done pretty well. James said he’d send some tomatoes your way if he has too many to eat, so once all three varieties are ripening at once, you may hear from him …

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