I like the juxtaposition of beautiful old architecture against the tall shiny buildings. Not so much the murky Yarra.
Some of the best moments of my ten days in Melbourne were the ones where I didn't take any pictures. So the pictures here were mostly taken while waiting for trams or other quiet interludes.
An exhibition of historic lace at NGV didn't so much inspire as intimidate me. It was a reality check on the commitment required to make great lace by hand. Do I really want to strain my eyes, abandon all other media and devote years to learning making lace that is all but indistinguishable from really good machine lace? It was all very beautiful but sobering.
Unnerved: The New Zealand Project. (I didn't go to this exhibition because I figure I can see NZ art at home)
But I didn't stay sober for long because downstairs in the bookshop I found a book on art embroidery that so excited me and filled me with ideas for my next project that I read the whole book right there (too expensive to buy). Then I went to the Contemporary Landscape Photography exhibition at the Ian Potter Centre which was very satisfying- very large format pictures that challenge the scenery.
Other great exhibitions in Melbourne last week included Self Portraits at the Ian Potter Centre and the Awards Exhibition for RMIT graduates- some very wonderful things to be see there including a wall sized painting of fountains and an interactive cloud. I went to one opening, at the Australian Print Workshop which was crammed full of beautiful prints and crammed full of people too, on a very humid evening. But I wanted to see their Albion and Columbian printing presses so I kept going back inside.
Hubble 3D at the Imax theatre in the Melbourne Museum was fantastic and really did a good job of giving a visceral sense of the immensity of space. And the natural history wing of the Melbourne Museum was pretty fabulous too. Fossils... I've been so disappointed in my search for fossils in NZ museums but here was everything my heart desired. I also loved the collection of taxidermy animals that was so beautifully curated that it completely changed my thinking on such things.
Window shopping on Smith Street (I liked the irony of the taxidermied birds right next door to the vegan shop)
Who knew vegan shoes could be so seductively elegant? (I took this one for you Sarah and remind me to show you the boots as well)
Most memorable meals in Melbourne: dinner with Louise and Alex at Rice Queen; lunch alone at Don Too, the Japanese noodle bar recommended in a guidebook that I was glad I sought out; dinner on my birthday at Mamasita: we had to queue to get in but the Mexican food was exquisite and the service exemplary; Portuguese pizza with Dutch Rob in a very Euro-feeling laneway; Book Club potluck with Louise's friends on her living room floor (milk cherries!); breakfast on my last morning in the back garden at Mixed Business in Clifton Hill.
Sukiyaki at Don Too on Little Lonsdale
Several meals consisted entirely of fresh, ripe, in-season mangoes: a whole 'nother class of fruit from those we eat as imports. Also, special mention must go to the European cake shops of Ackland Street, St Kilda. I tried to try them all and over a couple of days enjoyed a cherry danish to die for, macaroons too heady to share and a pecan tart piled high with sticky crunchy nuts. Oh, and I mustn't forget M. Truffe and the small, exquisite bar of chocolate so divine I keep tasting smaller and smaller crumbs because I never want it to end.
Rice Queen on Smith Street where the entire staff seems to consist of my daughter's friends and there was a live band on Friday night.
Other things to like about Melbourne. It seems like a lot of people in Melbourne ride bikes like mine, not sporty but stepovers with baskets- very nice. Also lots of car drivers give way to pedestrians.
I went to Bikram hot yoga sessions three mornings. Whew! I wish we had Bikram in Hamilton. Saturday's flea market at Fitzroy School- although it was sickeningly hot out in the sun, I couldn't tear myself away from the delightful bargains. On my last evening Louise took me up six flights of stairs (no elevator) to the Rooftop Cinema where we sat in deck chairs in the open air and when it got dark watched a movie (Youth in Revolt) against the sparkling lights of the looming skyscrapers.