It is known for its culinary expertise, and it does not disappoint. Melbourne has in fact some of the best eats we have ever put in our growing stomachs. For the entire time we have been in Australia, I have commented that it reminds me of a cross between the States and Europe. For example, where Europe is largely single-nationality within each individual country (exceptions exist of course), Australia is a melting pot reminiscent of the States. It is also a young country having been founded by James Cook in 1770. For it's European flair (or you could argue British flair), the people have a very cool accent, spoken English is more proper than the States, and many sites are copy-cats of the Brits (Liverpool, Hyde Park, Canterbury, and well the Queen still has a hand in government appointees). I am not sure what I really expected when I got here (it has been on my dream list but I am not embarrassed to say it was for the accent), but it is unlike what I expected. In a good way.
We stayed in a lovely bed and breakfast run by a man named Stan, who prepared fresh fruit in the morning accompanied by different cereals and bread and an egg if I wished. He gave us plenty of things to do and see, filling our itinerary with tourist and local sights in Melbourne.
There is this rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney, which I liken Melbourne to the little sister of sorts overshadowed by the other. We have to say though-hands down, Melbourne wins. Don't get me wrong-Sydney was great and the fireworks show grand. Our trip was fantastic, but if I were to move to Australia, I would live in Melbourne where the Brunswick eateries won my stomach and the prices won my wallet. For example, a day pass on the metro in Sydney costs $20 while we spent $6.80 in Melbourne. That's just the beginning. But more than cost, it's the ambiance-it is less touristy and underrated by the masses. It is like Florence to Rome. The only setback would be the fear of getting fat.
Speaking of food, we over-ate at many places. The most resounding was a recommendation from our host: Vegie Bar. I know-right up our alley. It was a completely vegetarian place but get this-meat eaters go there too! It was sooooo good and I had my choice of anything on the menu AND it was not an Indian place. Or a mock-meat place. Truly veggie-based and delicious. So good, we checked out the other veg place across the town and CAME BACK! In the same day! I have NEVER done that while traveling, a self-imposed rule I strictly followed prior to this week.
Then there was the pizza place and bar called Bimbo's (hmmm...) that some Uni (that's Aussie for college/university) students from Hyderbad told us about. $4 pizzas! They didn't prove to be as good as they looked or sounded but it was fun nonetheless.
Gosh, how dare I forget to tell you about the Queen Victoria Market. It conjured homesickness in me for I had no kitchen to whip up a fresh meal with these ingredients. Cheap prices and truly fresh greens. Even the kitchenware was cheap!
We tried our luck at the local Crown Casino, but we didn't manage to make enough to pay for the trip. Bummer. Good thing we had a honeyfund:)
All in all, we loved Melbourne and wished we had one more day in which we could taste more of its local eats. And of course by local that means Malaysian, Thai, Indian, Greek, and anything from this side of the world.
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Location:Melbourne, Victoria, Australia