Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Melbourne, part III: Borek - Cultural Learnings of Australia for Make Benefit Glorious Nutrition of Neciastomach

Melbourne, Australia 
The Queen Victoria Market is closed on Mondays and Wednesays, so we went on Tuesday (and again on Thursday once we found out how great it was). Originally Melbourne had two markets, an Eastern and a Western. When the Eastern was growing out of proportion, the Queen Vic was started as an expansion. It is now the oldest remaining market in the CBD after the closure of the first two. 
The first section we saw was filled with mainly souvenirs and other gimmicky goods. We passed by the boomerangs and leather belts and T-shirt stalls quickly, but did find a few interesting things, not to mention the sheer size of the place was awe inspiring. 
This stall held an array of vintage posters and colourful ads on embossed metal. It was fun to flick through and pick out hilariously old fashioned sayings like "SKI: the thrill of a lifetime". 
I also found a few stalls selling socks and hosiery, and was able to find a few pairs of replacement pop socks. We'll see how they get on. The vendor went through in detail how to wear them and care for them, which I was surprised about as they were just socks. It was nice that he took his wares seriously and spent the time to give me information without being asked. 
Another section of the markets sold fruits and vegetables, and further along sold meat and fish. I held my breath in this area and walked through quickly, but even so I enjoyed hearing the butchers calling out to potential customers about the freshness and affordability of their goods. It's not everywhere that you have butchers in such hearty competition. 
On to the best part of the markets: the deli section, where you can find all manner of ready to eat goodies like chocolates, Turkish boreks (bread cooked with fillings), pastries and cakes, olives, and confectionery. You also have the traditional deli items like cured meats, cheeses and pastas. For lunch we each bought a borek for $3. The spicy lamb option stood out the most for me, and it did not disappoint. It was very satisfying, and followed up by a fudge chocolate for one dollar, I was happy to have spent under $5 for a yummy lunch. 
While we ate, we listened to this cool busker dude who played really good accoustic versions of songs like the Godfather theme and Wild World. We gave him some coins and I hope he makes a killing, as he should be appreciated. 
When we went back to the markets for breakfast on Thursday, he was playing again and it was a wonderful start to the morning - listening to his music and eating pastries. I would honestly consider living in Melbs just for this market, I like it that much. 
Wanting to warm up a little on a cold day, we took a walk through the Botanic Gardens, where we discovered a clock made of flowers in front of King Edward VII. The clock displayed the wrong time, but it was still interesting and I liked it for combining the typical decorative flowers of a garden with a more practical timepiece. Someone needs to account for daylight savings and then I will be happy. 
We had started the day in the Queen Victoria Market, and we paid respects at said Queen's statue by throwing ourselves prostrate and humming God Save the Queen. 
We also had a look at the "fern gully" which reminded us considerably of a New Zealand bush walk, and I started talking about a childhood film I used to watch on repeat called FernGully: The Last Rainforest. I googled later and found out that Robin Williams voiced the bat character, and Tim Curry voiced the baddie! I need to rewatch this, as well as The Land Before Time because dinosaurs.
Hearing from multiple sources that St Kildas was a must-see, we ventured out on one of the many trams from the bottom of the Botans. While it was nice to walk alongside the water, I honestly don't see the appeal. It felt like a place for rich phonies to go on holiday with their yappy dogs and/or people who watch Neighbors. Maybe I'm being harsh, but the beach wasn't anything special and that's the main let down. We decided to get straight back on a tram to the city, and I debated whether I even wanted a photo. I sat on a park bench and made Yannick go take one. 
Feeling the need for Italian food, we ordered a bufala margherita at +39 Pizzeria on "Lt Bourke Street" for dinner. When I first saw these Lt streets, I thought it meant little. Yannick disagreed, saying that would be silly. (Lieutenant was another possibility.) But it turns out I was right! Running parallel to Bourke Street is Little Bourke Street, and the same thing happens for Lonsdale, Flinders and Collins streets. WHY?! It's to do with the grid pattern that streets in the CBD are built upon, and when allotments for blocks were divided and subdivided, new streets between the main ones were needed. The little streets each sit to the north and parallel to their big counterparts. 
By the way, the pizza was great and the tiramisu was fine but the pannacotta was superb.