Two months ago I went out with a friend of an American friend of my Mom to explore the streets of the Melbourne CBD. It was a Friday afternoon, unfortunately it was raining a bit and still a bit cold. We met in flinders Street on the steps of the Flinders Station with his 2 adorable kids. So we started to wander around the hidden alleys and galleries of Melbourne. I can see some similarity with Milan in this. Milan has some beauties that it publicly displays and for the rest you need to walk and look up at the buildings, that you usually don’t because in Milan you’re always in a hurry, or go enter to one of the beautiful central buildings and admire their beautiful courts or just investigate and look for beauty in Milan. Because there is a lot of beauty in Milan, but unlike other cities in Italy, the beauty in Milan is hidden, if you don’t count its major attractions, such as The Castle Sforzesco, The Duomo, The Galleria, La Scala Theatre, the Navigli, the Santa Maria delle Grazie Church and The Last Supper, well, there is a lot more publicly displayed. Anyway but there is a lot even more that it is hidden, like the The San Satiro Church, for example. Anyway, Milan was not the purpose of this story, but still it has always a special place in my heart.
So in Melbourne they like to do things hidden from public display. In fact you’ll find amazing restaurants, shops, Galleries in small lanes, that you wouldn’t even explore if you weren’t told so. An example is Hosier Lane, a small street full of street Art (murales, i.e. wall designs), you definitely need to go there. And where you can find also some bar & restaurants like the Movida or the Movida Next Door, two of the Movida group of Spanish Restaurants. And there are also old buildings of the Victorian Style in Melbourne around the CBD, especially in Collins St, Swanston St and the nearby streets. We tasted a beautiful falafel in Degraves St, just a perpendicular Lane to Flinders St, where it’s packed with cafés and little shops, a world to discover and you wouldn’t even think you’re in Melbourne. Go there just to look around or have a bite. And there is also an undercover passage through the Metro to get here. And then we walked up to the Melbourne Library, which is an amazing building from outside and even more amazing on the inside. We read about the history of Melbourne and of Ned Kelly, a sort of Australian Robin Hood. But even Ned Kelly isn’t the subject of this story.
We then had a very good chocolate in another hidden patisserie/chocolatiers Cacao where sometimes there is a queue to get in. there are more shops in Melbourne, but we went to the one in Little Collins st,where you can ‘climb’ upstairs and observe the flow of people passing below in the Gallery. I find the activity of observing people very fun because there is some beauty in it, maybe you can share a smile, a short chat or you can wander with your fantasy and enjoying the flow of life and energy passing by.
The Little Collins St is another cute and interesting place to see, full of shops and interesting historic curiosities. You can choose among tons of flavours of hot chocolate and petit chocolates or pralines just for your own indulgence. It is not as thick as the Hot chocolate we are used to in Italy, but it tastes delicious too! Here some examples and you can also have it Dairy Free, not too bad if you are lactose intolerant and you still want to enjoy a small pleasure like a hot chocolate!
It’s been an amazing afternoon that made me discover the inner beauties of the Melbourne CBD that in some parts just seem too commercial, but instead has a lot more to offer, unexpected and unconventional.
For this very much enjoyed afternoon, that took us between 3 and 4 hours including stops, I have to thank Morgan Grant Buchanan, who is also a writer and has just released a book on Claudia Christian biography called Babylon Confidential. It is sold in the States, but also on Amazon. It must be an interesting read!