Friday, August 23, 2013

Snapshot of Melbourne

For the last few days, I have been in Melbourne for a work conference that started on Thursday afternoon and will finish this evening. It has been an opportunity for some brief sight seeing and meeting with friends, in addition to the work component. It has also been an opportunity to rely exclusively on my camera phone, so I apologise for the quality of some photos!

The conference is being held at the Mercure-Pullman Albert Park, which is a slightly odd hotel that actually consists of two hotels. The Mercure, where I am staying, is the slightly less fancy half. The Pullman, where rooms are a little more expensive, is reportedly a little more upmarket.

Mercure hotel room

I think my room is fine, although the view out the window is not, perhaps, Melbourne's best front.

The View!

Fortunately, once outside of the hotel, the Albert Park reserve is more scenic.

Albert Park lake

The lake has a running / walking track around it, which I explored in an out-and-back fashion on my first morning. I found it difficult to judge the distance and worried I'd end up at the furthest point of the loop without sufficient time to make my way back. I later discovered it was a simple 5km loop, so circled it fully yesterday and today. 

Albert Park lake

The area is also near to St Kilda, which isn't a part of Melbourne I have explored much before. I walked down after checking in late Wednesday afternoon, and decided I definitely like Melbourne's city features more than its coastline. This isn't a criticism of the coastline - rather, to me, Melbourne is about beautiful architecture and culture and character-filled cafes. I have beaches at home in Perth.

St Kilda beach

I was able to get a taste of some of Melbourne's city characteristics on Thursday morning, when I took a tram to Lygon Street in Carlton, Melbourne's north. Trams certainly make getting around easy.


I was in Lygon Street to meet Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe and Mel of Veganise This for a morning coffee, in the atmospheric Brunetti reviewed by Johanna recently. Brunetti is as impressive as Johanna's post suggests. In fact, Lygon Street in general is impressive. We started in the Readings bookstore opposite Brunetti and I wish I could package the shop up and take it home with me.

Lygon Street

Even more lovely than Lygon Street itself was the opportunity to chat with Johanna and Mel in person. It is a funny thing when you exchange comments with people over the internet. I hadn't met Johanna before, and Mel just once, but it was a really nice few hours talking with them.

Rounding out the company, Johanna spoiled Mel and I with her generosity in baked gifts. And when I say generosity, I mean considerable generosity! Her gifts were all vegan and included halvah, mini sweet potato chocolate chip muffins, chocolate chip cookie dough balls, and some exquisite chocolates with a sweet potato and orange filling.

The box that keeps on giving!

She has been doing recipe testing for a new book (I will let her share the details in time), and I think I am convinced to buy it on my taste testing alone. My phone camera has not done the products justice but suffice to say they were wonderful. There is also a Melbourne-made vegan salted lime dark chocolate block that I am looking forward to trying.

After coffee and conversation, it was difficult to return to work. However, the conference has also been good and yesterday saw me knock off one of my two presentations. The other is today, and then tonight I shall fly home - sorry to leave Melbourne but admittedly glad to return to Mr Bite.

Have you had any mini local or further afield out-of-routine visits lately?

22 comments:

  1. What a shame about your view from the hotel room. Good to hear that you found your way around the lake - I wasn't entirely sure about the details of it as I've never ran it myself. Melbourne and Perth beaches just do not compare - there are some prettier beaches on the Victorian coast but the water is much colder than over in WA.

    It was really lovely to see you again - those few hours passed so quickly. Hope that the last day of the conference goes well and you have a safe trip home.

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    1. Thanks Mel - it is nice to be home but I am so glad I made it over and that I had that free morning!

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  2. Aw, you and Johanna got to spend time together! Love love.

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  3. Running around the lake sounds so lovely!! And I'm so jealous that you've met Johanna! I feel like I've "known" her forever but who knows if we'll ever get to really MEET.

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    1. I hope you can Joanne - she is just the same in real life as on her blog (by which I mean, lovely!).

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  4. Hope your presentations went well. Glad you enjoyed your trip over the river to Carlton - it is my Melbourne and I love it. It was fantastic to meet you and as Mel says the time flew by! I've never really spent a lot of time at beachside melbourne - I have grown to love it but agree that Melbourne's beaches aren't so impressive - I like to think of them as waterfront as quite like them in that way but as a child who grew up near the great ocean road, I thought them very shabby beaches. Anyway, I am sure that a beachside view in Melbourne would be much better than your hotel view :-)

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    1. I think many things would have been better than that hotel view ;) Fortunately I wasn't relying on views but I would love to see the coastline along the Great Ocean Road one day - that I think would be a waterfront stretch to rival WA.

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  5. Isn't it amazing how friendships can blossom over just words? That's one thing I didn't expect when I started blogging. Glad to hear that you had an amazing time with Johanna and Mel! I hope to meet you someday...I have a feeling we will hit if off effortlessly ;). What a wonderful and generous gift! Everything sounds delicious! Hope you have a safe trip back home to Mr. Bite.

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    1. Aw, thanks so much Min! Hopefully we can manage it, either in Australia or in the US :-) It is amazing how friendship can spring up through comments and online discussions.

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  6. I love Lygon Street and I couldn't agree more about that book store. I've spent way too many hours in there. :)

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  7. You certainly crammed a lot into your time in Melbourne. I agree that Melbourne is more about its culture and the actual 'city' than its coastline. Fantastic how you were able to catch up with blogging buddies xx

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    1. Thanks Charlie - it was a great chance tucked in around work.

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  8. Glad you got to visit Melbourne and catch up with some buddies. The weather hasn't been kind, but it never is in winter!

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    1. I was bracing myself for the worst so in the end was pleasantly surprised ;)

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  9. beautiful place to visit,... i would love to visit St Kilda beach.

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    1. It's definitely a different side of Melbourne :)

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  10. Run by the lake sounds so nice, I am so jealous..love it..Beautiful place and lovely pictures.

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  11. I stayed at that hotel for a work conference too. Did you have anything in the dodgy hall next to the lake? Looks like you had a lot of fun :)

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    1. We did!! Funny :-) I think lots of conferences seem to be there...must be good rates or something!

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