My first Sunday in Melbourne I toured around downtown Melbourne with not too many plans, and was so excited by all the things I found!
Melbourne Cricket Ground Open Day
I arrived in Melbourne just in time for the AFL Grand Final, where over 99,000 people packed the MCG stands to watch the season’s final game between the Hawthorne Hawks and Sydney Swans. I caught the game from home, but I still got to see the stadium when they opened it to the public the next day!
First of all, the walk from the tram station to the stadium was awesome — Blue skies and lovely views of the Melbourne city skyline. It was a really perfect day weather-wise, and a great one to spend outside. The stadium was packed with people and families who could all go wander onto the field, many bringing their own footballs to kick around. It was really neat to be able to walk around on the grass and see the shape of it.
After touring the MCG, we headed back to Federation Square, which hosts all sorts of public events and many coffee shops and restaurants. The Square was hosting an exhibition educating the public about the history of Albanian immigrants, and we even got to watch some Albanian dancing. There is a more in-depth gallery in the Immigration Museum all year-round. It just amazes me that things like this are always going on.
After having worked up an appetite wandering around, it was time to grab some lunch! Down the street a few blocks from Federation Square is Flinders Street Station. I tried to find Flinders Lane, which is supposedly a host of many restaurants, but wandered down Flinders Street instead, and still found my way into a delicious fish n’ chips eatery! The fish was delicious at this place (which also offered some fresh sushi, salads, and grilled fish if you want some variety) and a great introduction to some of the Melbourne fair. After lunch it was time to head back to Federation Square, where there was a free orchestra concert hosted in the Deakin University auditorium there. What better way to finish off lunch with a glorious performance of Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony? The conductor and musicians performed beautifully, and it was truly awesome to see it in the sunny auditorium in the middle of the square. There was even a bird who stayed to watch- some might say he got stuck in the building, but I maintain he was just a fan of the music. 😛
After the performance, it was time for a spot of coffee, and we hit the road to wander around. Before arriving in Melbourne, people had told me that coffee is a very serious thing and that there would be coffee shops everywhere. I didn’t fully realize what that meant until I got here and realized you can find coffee EVERYWHERE. And it is AWESOME. So, on the quest for a flat white (that’s my favorite, coffee with plenty of milk in it!), I spotted a nice tapas restaurant, and looked in. I realized the building itself was covered in graffiti, and then as I looked down, I realized the ENTIRE STREET I had found was covered in graffiti. Lo and behold, I had happened upon the famous graffiti alley I had read about in passing before arriving. This alleyway, closed to vehicles, is a smattering of wall art of all styles, and a true fascination to walk down. Artists will often add to others’ works, or paint over them periodically, so it’s an ever-changing landscape of different visions from all over the globe. After our awe-inspiring impromptu art show, it was really time to settle down for a bit of caffeine, and what did we find? Brunetti’s! Another coffee shop I had heard people mention and added to my mental list of “I’ll try to go there someday.” Well, someday turned into a day much earlier than I expected! The seating area of this iconic shop is outdoors in a pretty square with fountains (ok, everything here is architecturally interesting and I love it), and the coffee and back shop is all perfection. After my delicious coffee and pastry, it was time to hop back on the tram and head home.
At the beginning of the day, I had set out to take a look at the Cricket Grounds and then let myself wander around to see what else I could find. After a full day breathing in the city skyline, indulging on delicious eats, and pondering the lovely music and art of Melbourne, I couldn’t help but arrive home and be thankful for the amazing day I had just experienced. And here’s to each and every magnificent day in Melbourne still to come!