Day 5: A solo walk through Melbourne / by Jessica Lee

I never really feel I've travelled to a city unless I navigate through it by myself on foot.

It was great having Tom, Lachlan and Scott showing me around the city and relying on them find places throughout this week but it was just too easy.

I needed to get lost and to panic and to find my own way through the transit system.

Today was the day.

Tom and Lachlan had gone back to their hometown and Scott just never came home one night- leaving me to explore the city on my own.

I had the idea that I wanted to go out for a nice fancy breakfast so I headed to Hardware Lane in the CBD, which is a cute little street with patio seating.

I never found the place I set out for (I wasn't really trying anyway), but I found out that Hardware Lane is one of my favourite places to shop.

It had a lot of camping/outdoor equipment shops. Lately, I've been into the whole camping/outdoor rock climbing adventure thing so naturally, shopping for camping gear excites me.

I just bought yet another backpack for hiking last week so I didn't really need anything (not urgently at least), but I really do like to look at things.

For example, I know in the near future that I am in the market to buy a warm sleeping bag (not the summer ones) and possibly a tent. I'm probably going to buy both these things back in Canada at Mountain Equipment Co-op just because it's cheaper there, but I like to be an informed shopper and to look around. I'm also in the market to get a bunch of climbing gear (carabiners, bolts, etc). It's nice to check out what colours everything comes in, how much it costs, if it's cheaper to buy in a bundle, etc. and take note.

I also found out they sell funky rock-climbing jewelry. (tiny carabiners or quick draw earrings!)

For everyone else not into camping gear, there's also a lovely selection of cute little stores scattered around the area.

Lately I have been interested in shopping for mugs and teacups and dinnerware so I only took photos of the aforementioned, however, in these stores, there was also stationary, clothing, bags, accessories, etc.

So far, I think I prefer Melbourne more than Sydney if we were to compare shopping.

I enjoy mall shopping, which Sydney represents well with Westfield, but I like shopping at quirky little independent shops like these in Melbourne much more.

More cute little stores:

(This was in Fitzroy)

I didn't want to be the weird girl taking photos of every store, so the photos I've shown you are only a small selection of the shopping here in Melbourne. Trust me, there's lots more.

After a while of shopping, I just gave up on breakfast and settled for lunch (it was 2 pm at the time).

I had Japanese Udon noodles with beef. I ate this on their patio while reading Kerouac's On the Road. It was perfect.

For those of you who don't know, On the Road is a classic travel novel written in the Beat generation. A must read for anyone backpacking. It really gets you into the mood of winging it when you're reading about the main character Sal, who hitchhikes his way across America with only $5 in his pocket. 

After that, I was ready for something sweet so I scouted out a coffee shop Scott was telling me about the other day, Manchester Press.

As far as indie coffee shops go, this coffee shop was pretty hidden and underground. The entrance for this coffee shop was in an alleyway and wasn't advertised from the street. You had to have heard about it from someone or read about it online.

Still, there was a good crowd going.

I ordered a mocha (I love chocolate too much) and was quite satisfied.

After that, I was on the road again.

It was 3 pm and I had a mission. I wanted to get to the Melbourne Museum before they closed at 5 pm.

This is one of the cool buildings I walked past on the way there.

The architecture in Melbourne is just lovely.

I got to the museum at 4 pm.

Here is a photo of the inside:

The outside of the museum is nicely designed as well but I couldn't get a decent photo since the building is so big. I couldn't fit everything into the frame. You will just have to take my word for it that the outside of the museum is nice as well.

Here is a photo of the exhibition building beside the museum. They were having a quilt exhibition. Needless to say I did not check it out.

 The insides of the Melbourne Museum were quite impressive. I really liked its minimalistic design.

It reminds me of the Ontario Science Centre we have back home.

Except this museum has a more modern design.

If I spent the whole day here, it would have been fun to bring a sketch book. But sadly, I do this thing called "waking up at 10 am and finally leaving the house at noon" and it really limited my day.

I really enjoyed the rock exhibit. It brought back memories of our "Rocks and Minerals" studies from grade 4. If I didn't like arts and culture and literature so much, I quite possibly would have become a geologist.

There is a great 10 minute 3D film in the rock exhibit. It's free to watch.

 I should also mention that if you have a student concession card, entrance to the museum is free!

I think this is great because it gives students an incentive to visit and see cool things, possibly learn a thing or two.

Look at this architecture:

I thought this room was the most impressive. I think these are all stuffed animals because they looked quite real from close up.

There was a psychology section in the museum and I flipped out! Loved it. I really wish I went there earlier before they shut at 5 pm.

There were also many other exhibits like the human body exhibit and a dinosaur bone exhibit. It would have been nice to visit with a science major and to feel their enthusiasm.

Look how freakin' artistic this museum is!

And here's a last photo I took while leaving.

This is Southern Cross station where I left from to go visit a friend in her hometown. I love the wavy detailing of the roof.

Melbourne, I am not done with you yet!

I am coming back sometime and going to:

1. Eat a really nice meal out for dinner or "tea" as Aussies call it
2. Go to the Australian Museum for Contemporary Art
3. Finish walking through Melbourne Museum
4. Go rock climbing at the gym below
5. Eat at Hardware Cafe
6. Rock climb at the Grampians