Friday, February 4, 2011

Melbourne diary 2011 - day 3

Mr Curious and I started our last day in Melbourne with a mammoth sleep in (I woke up at 10am!). After checking out and leaving our luggage at the hotel we roamed around the CBD again.

We stopped by Brunetti to have our favourite Italian hot chocolate.  It was as good as ever.

This painting is perfect for our place!  I want to take it home but I suspect the price tag will be prohibitive.

Given the late start, we decided to have brunch. My friend Kate recommended The European on Spring Street.

The place was packed when we arrived without a booking.  We were ignored by the waitstaff by a good 5-10 minutes.  They were busy serving diners but it was disappointing nonetheless.

Fortunately the food was delicious.  I ordered the goat's cheese omelette.  It wasn't much to look at but the eggs were perfectly cooked, and well accompanied by the rich and creamy cheese.

We only had one planned destination for the day - the National Gallery of Victoria.  We went there last year (with TLG sleeping in the stroller) and really enjoyed it.  We were keen to see what was on offer this year.

We spent our time at the Asian Art collection.  I am fascinated with Chinese art with its rich history and exquisiteness, and I was delighted to see an exhibition dedicated to it.

There was a timeline at the beginning of the exhibition comparing key milestones in Chinese history with other world events.  Did you know that paper was invented in China in 105 AD, and Europe didn't manufacture its own paper until 1150?

There was a brief description of each dynasty accompanying the art on display.  I was such a nerd I took photo of every one of them.  This is the one for the Qin dynasty.

Here's another fun fact.  China was named after the Emperor Qin (3rd century BC) as he unified the country after an extended period of war between smaller kingdoms.  Emperor Qin craved longevity and searched fruitlessly for the elixir of life.  If he knew that his name would link however with the country that he created he would be proud.

Here's a photo of a beautiful elephant-shaped candlestick from the Han dynasty (AD 660).

There were other interesting exhibits from the the rest of the Asian collection.

There is such playfulness to Shiko Munakata's Two Bodhisattvas and ten great disciples of Sakya: Manjúsri, the Incarnation of Buddha's Wisdom series of woodblock prints.

And there was a fascinating video display of a scene which looked like a traditional Chinese painting from a distance but was actually a series of high rises in a modern city.  There was even a plane flying past at one point.

I can't remember the name of the piece, I'm going to call NGV to find out, and I'll update this when I know.

We checked out the gift store at the NGV before we left.  And oh my ... there are so many things on my lemming list.

Ceramic robot, need I say more?

I wish our place is cool enough for a lampshade like this.

These were Mr Curious' fave.

These bowls are so pretty.

Why didn't I buy the Bitch Citation notepad?

This is so me.

The NGV is going to open an online shop soon.  My credit card will be in trouble!

After we left the gallery we went to the Makers' Markets outside the Arts Centre and I bought a reed diffuser set from blackMILK in white fig ($20).  It was good to have Mr Curious there so we could agree on a scent.  Writing this post reminded me to start using it.  It is a sweet subtle scent; I hope it permeates through our living area.

Melbourne is a great city to visit.  Culture, sports, great food and wine, beautiful parklands and fantastic shopping of all kinds are accessible on foot.  I love discovering a new vibe around the corner.

And I'm so jealous of the architecture in Melbourne. The juxtaposition of the old and new works so well, and unlike Sydney, there were very few eyesores from the 1960s and 1970s.

Photo: Melbourne old and new by antwerpalan on flickr

We had an amazing time in Melbourne and it was sad to leave.

We are already talking about another visit later this year.

What are your favourite spots in Melbourne?


  1. The insomnia journal and bitch pad we have here. I saw them in Kinokuniya :)

    <3 your trip diary but I miss the live tennis!

  2. Great photos! That hot chocolate looks amazing.

    I love Melbourne.

    Degraves St is a nice little cafe spot. But just in general, I love exploring all the little alleys, and taking in the beautiful buildings and surroundings.

  3. Love the Brunetti hot chocolate and the European is awesome but I haven't been there for years!

    The shopping in Melbourne is just the best and the reason that you didn't see much 60's and 70's architecture is that most of it's been knocked down. Fact.

  4. Love the bitch citation notepad!

    I used to live in Melbourne. Boy do I miss it....except for the weather! My favourite places in Melbourne are the Oriental Tea House in Little Collins St for their delicious dumplings, the city for all the shopping, the Gin Palace for their cocktails, Circa the Prince for the food and the delicious degustation menu, Ezard's for the food, St Kilda and South Bank beach for people watching.

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