They say it is the most desirable location in the world to live in - I was curious to see what it was like and can certainly say that there is a lot on offer and what we saw in a couple of days formed a first and very favourable impression with a promise to return for more.
It's autumn in Australia but there is very little evidence of that in Brisbane - not so in Melbourne where the wind was chilly and the leaves were turning on the oaks and the plane trees.
What I loved about it :
The cultural diversity. There were Indians and Bangladeshis, Italians and Greeks, Koreans and Vietnamese. Each community has laid claim to a little part of the town, so the Greeks in Londsdale St, though perhaps not in such big numbers anymore, the Italians in Lygon St, the Vietnamese in Victoria St and on it goes. The food, is heavenly and there is so much choice and variety. I just had to find my very own spanakopitta which was authentic and delicious and cost $8 ! I will occasionally resort to giving prices because I am still stunned at how much everything costs here.
It is not hard to see how these communities formed the backbone of Melbourne. I went to Victoria Market which dates back to the 1878 (apparently the biggest market in the Southern Hemisphere) and I was bowled over by the fish, the meat, the fresh fruit and vegetables, the deli counters, the Greeks working next to the Chinese, the Italians with the Philipinos. In the Greek world and affectionately by someone very dear to me I was known as koiliodoulaki - a slave to my stomach ! Yes Food is important to us Greeks.
An abundance of fresh fish and shell fish
Tuna and salmon in vibrant colours and plentiful quantities
One of the many deli counters
A Greek deli with all sorts of olives and Greek cheeses - bliss
The biggest aubergines I have ever seen
Fresh vegetables and herbs
Best of all was this sign in one of the Greek Restaurants which had me smiling all day. Look carefully at the last line ! More on Melbourne its history and the city in my next blog.