Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Through Visitors' Eyes

Recently I had some friends visit Melbourne, my city, and we went wandering for a few hours down Brunswick St. I've been wandering that street for years — it's very close to my home and I know it really well. But seeing it through my visitors' eyes was so interesting, and I appreciated it all over again.

We poked through the tea house, sniffing, and tasting so many gorgeous teas and admiring tea pots, teacups, tea-glasses and all sorts of tea-making paraphernalia.

We browsed in a leisurely way through the various book and gift shops, and found a fun book for a romance writer.
My visitors became fascinated by the variety of different sculptural signs that adorn many of the Brunswick St shops. Some signs proclaim businesses that no longer exist, like the cow over the former Charmaine's, who used to make the most wonderful ice-cream. My favorite was chocolate-chilli ice-cream, a taste sensation.  Charmaine's, I do miss you.
There are lots more, and I like the idea of them, even though not all the sculptures appeal to me aesthetically.

We sniffed our way through Kleins, the shop of amazing scents and giggled a bit at some of the labels for the scented candles. This one reads "Trianon. Flourished Smell of Marie Antoinette Dream." We decided she was having a good dream, not one that reeked of guillotines.

We stopped at one of the many restaurants for lunch and ordered some green refresh-and-revitalizer drinks, having no idea what they were but being intrigued and, after the previous night,  in need of revitalization. 
When the drinks arrived, they looked exactly like a healthy drink should look, sludgy green and unappetising. Spinach juice? Essence of compost? 
But they were, in fact, delicious and fruity and I'll definitely order them again next time.
The green stuff is spirulina, a healthy algae weedy thingy, but the drink tasted of the other fruit juices that were in the drink. It didn't taste green or weedy at all.

We all loved Flowers Vasette, my favorite flower shop in all the world, a cool dim cave of gorgeousness —banks of the most glorious flowers, arranged in shades of colour, and scented like a dream. Of the Marie Antoinette good sort. Better actually.

Then we shopped and wandered some more, and finally whizzed up to Carlton to Brunetti's and some hot chocolate and possibly a cake. If we could fit one in.
All in all, a sleepy, indulgent afternoon.
We finished up eating delicious Vietnamese food at one of my favorite restaurants in Victoria St, Richmond.

Even though all these places are so familiar to me, showing them to visitors make me feel like I'd viewed them with fresh eyes. It's good to play tourist in your home town.


  1. What a lovely, quirky area! I'd love to spend a walking day there.

    I've experienced that same thing, the newness of seeing something you've known all your life but the others with you haven't seen before. It's fascinating.

  2. Sounds like a brilliant afternoon. I do love exploring new cities and doing it with someone 'in the know' is the very best way. You've given your friends a lovely gift.

  3. Thanks, Nightsmusic, it is fun area. I'm lucky to live so close to it.

    And Barbara, I think it's my friends who gave me the gift -- we had a lovely time together, and I got to see my old stamping ground with fresh eyes.

  4. Oh, that flower shop - the scent was divine and my camera almost had a meltdown at such gloriously presented blooms.

    Anne, many thanks for sharing your insider knowledge of Brunswick street with us. I loved it.

  5. That looks so lovely. I can smell the flowers and the not-spinach drinks and even the scent of dreams.

    Really time-out-of-mindish. Bet you all remember that day for ever.

  6. Love the flower shop and the sculptures. True character. Melbourne is full of interesting sights andlittle nooks and crannies. Awesome post, thanks Anne :D

  7. Who needs to go anywhere else for marvellous shops? Your photos really bring your lovely shopping day to life!

  8. Kelly, thank you for a great day, too.

    Jenny, the scent of the flowers in that shop is to die for. And I'm even thinking of buying some spirulina and incorporate it into my fruit juice drinks.

    Juanita, most cities have their special little areas. We're lucky in Melbourne in that we have quite a few, all quite different.

    Kamdy, bizarrely, we didn't actually do much shopping, just window shopping and smelling and oohing and aaahing.