The Tourism group spent four nights in Melbourne, and since this was the first city that we had time to spend in without moving on within one day, we did a great deal of things. Since there is so much content for things that we did and learned in Melbourne, I broke up the Melbourne posts into three sections for your reading pleasure. The following is part 1 of 3 of our Melbourne adventure.
Once we got off of our bus and to the NOMAD Hostel in Melbourne, we were hit with the freezing cold weather and I instantly regretted not bringing any warm clothes. I ended up being in a room with only two other people which was awesome because we had a little more space in our room than the other people in the group. However, no sooner than we set down our bags. a deafening fire alarm went off which ushered us all out of the building and back into the freezing cold. As you can see from the photo to the left, we were not pleased.
After the fire trucks showed up, they eventually let us back into the warmth (or, perceived warmth since Australia never felt the need to build heaters even though it gets to about 45 degrees at night in Melbourne). Luckily, after we got back to our rooms, we were able to unpack in peace.
Before ending the first night we spent in Melbourne, some friends and I decided to wander around the city a little bit despite the horrible weather. After attempting to find the downtown area and failing for about an hour, we found a small Korean restaurant called G2 which had the most delicious vegetarian pancake of all time and also yogurt soju (also delicious). Full and warm, we headed back to NOMADS so we would be able to experience our first day in the city without falling asleep.
Everyone in my room woke up to my alarm at 7:30 am on the dot on our 11th day in Australia, and had to pry ourselves from our warm beds while the sun was hiding behind some clouds, but the promise of breakfast make us drag ourselves to get up into the freezing room. Breakfast really was not the best, and was comprised only of toast and some really horrible cereal (is it so hard to import Frosted Flakes, Australia?). Luckily, after breakfast, the entire group went on a tour of Melbourne. The entire city is HUGE so it was good to have someone walking us around and introducing us to the city before we ventured out on our own.
Throughout the tour, our guide did not really give us that much information about each stop besides things that I could have looked up on Wikipedia (or maybe I was just too far away to hear), but he did bring us to a bunch of great spots around the city.
Our first stop was the beach (which was FREEZING), but we did not stay there long because what we were really there to see was Acland Street which is known for its cakes and coffee. Since Melbourne is the coffee capital of Australia, I had high expectations and Acland Street did not disappoint.
We took a look at all of the different cakes and pastries that they had on display, but ended up choosing a café called 95 Espresso where I got a flat white that was unbelievably delicious. We were only given about 15 minutes to walk around the street and get whatever food and drink we wanted before we had to get back onto the tram to get back to the middle of the city.
However, before we left the beach area, we ran across an amusement park called Luna Park. Luna Park was built in 1912 and has one of the last roller coasters that is man powered. This means that there is an actual guy who pulls levers to slow down the roller coaster when it needs to be…which sounds terrifying. It was modeled after Coney Island and was built by an American who also built a few others around Australia, but this particular Luna Park is now one of two left in Australia. It also has a terrifying entrance of a man (?) about to eat you as you go in (see to the right).
After we got off of the tram and returned to the city, we made our way to Hoiser Lane, which is a place that I wanted to go to before I had even arrived in Melbourne. Hoiser Lane is known for the street art that covers the walls (and even the floors!) and the art changes about every few weeks. There were a lot of great opportunities for photos around this area since there was so much art to see since the street art actually spans for two streets instead of just one. It was actually located right in the city center next to a bunch of important looking buildings which housed banks, a train station and a huge church – an interesting place for a collection of street art to be held. One of the few things our guide told us is that the location is important because many people were concerned that Melbourne was loosing its culture because of the business growth in the city, so they decided to have a bunch of art right smack dab in the middle of the city to keep up the artistic culture found all over the city.
After we spent some time in Hoiser Lane, we moved onto the alley ways to pick up our lunch which was a sandwich and a bottle of water, but I devoured it within about 7 bites. Our tour guide told us that Melbourne has a huge “alleyway culture” meaning that it is basically like a European city where everything is in the alleyways. Apparently that is a really big deal, but it sort of just seemed like I was back in France but everything was in English.
Some of these alleyways begin by being open air areas and then turn into an inside area; one of these inside areas was called Royal Arcades which was built in the early 1900s and had the most extensive tile work at the time. Again, it just looked European so it did not seem that interesting, but I guess if you have never been out of America, it would be cool (**sorry that I am elitist**). Within the Arcade, there were a bunch of coffee shops and chocolate stores (and of course the random tourist shops), all of which smelled really good and reminded me that that sandwich did not fill me up at all. We walked through a bunch of different alley ways and things like the Arcades and before we knew it, we were right next to the hostel again.
Here, our two groups split apart with Energy going to go explore the city more and with Tourism going to class. Sitting through three hours of class after not much sleep and then walking around the city and ALSO starving seemed daunting. However, class was really cool because we had a guest speaker come in who was our professors friend who had worked in tourism and event management for many years. She had a bunch of great stories about different events she had planed in Australia as well as some funny stories about things that had gone wrong during her career with various events. After she left, we talked about even planning and marketing segmentation which was awesome because that is something I am really interested in (and am going to be working in after I get back from Australia…eeek!!). Also in class, we learned that Australians call the air conditioner the “air con” instead of “air conditioning” or “AC”; not necessarily that important for the class but interesting all the same.
Two great quotes from class included:
- “If you want to know what will be popular in Australia in three years, look at America. If you want to know what will be popular in Sydney in three months, come to Melbourne.”
- “Gangster rappers always yell at the crowd, ‘put your hand up if you grew up in the ghetto!’ So I always put my hand up.”
After class we went to a café with wifi that we ended up frequenting almost every day because of the free wifi and amazing coffee there. Wifi is a valuable resource in Australia and I feel like I am in a third world country with how rare it is…luckily things got better in Sydney. But more on that later!
That night we walked around the city and found a roof top bar, but more importantly, we found this sign which pretty much perfectly encapsulates everything about life.
More to come on Melbourne in my second part of the Melbourne adventure (: