First impressions: Melbourne! Federation Square, Modern Percussion(!?), and the popular Queen Victoria Market

Let me preface this by saying I would NOT recommend taking the bus from Canberra to Melbourne. I booked a Greyhound overnight bus in hopes of being able to sleep through the night, only to be attacked by roaches. YES, FREAKING ROACHES! they crawled on my seatbelt and along the window. I told the driver and he didn’t seem to care at all, neither did any of the passengers. I hope you don’t think I’m any sort of princess. I’ve been in some pretty disgusting situations (sleeping in the TV room floor in the Malaysian airport for 16 hours for example) but a long bus ride shared with roaches is definitely where I cross the line.

First Impressions

After a sleepless night I arrived at the central bus terminal in Melbourne at around 7am on a weekday. The streets were empty and the only noise to be heard were the trolleys zipping around the city. I’d remembered another backpacker mentioning that these trolleys were free around the inner part of the city, but I was in no hurry to check into my hostel. Little by little people in business casual clothing started appearing on the streets and disappearing into the local coffee shops. I don’t know why this fascinated me, but it did. I’d made a mental note to check out the coffee scene once I dropped off all my things. I’d been in Melbourne for less than an hour and I was already in love with it. The beautiful buildings and even more beautiful people with a laid-back attitude made me feel right at home. I couldn’t wait to go exploring around this city for a week.

Hosier Lane

Lucky for me my hostel was located one block from Federation square and central to most of the city. I stayed at the Greenhouse Backpackers which was almost like a small hotel with many rooms and a huge industrial sized kitchen. I booked some tours with the travel group next to reception and grabbed a map to stat scribbling all over. Many travelers arrive somewhere with a set plan in mind. That’s definitely not me. I like to talk with other travelers and see what they suggest to see and then take a pen to a map to circle the must-see places. I’ve had too many problems with electronics that I now rely on the old-fashioned method of using a map. The first place on my list was Hosier Lane, a street known for its extravagant artwork displayed on all the buildings. I am a HUGE fan of street art so this was naturally my first stop.

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That’s when disappointment hit. 

Apparently Hosier lane has become a major tourist attraction, there were several tour groups looking about with their far-too-loud guides. I was under the impression that this was more of a hidden treasure, but I guess not anymore! What’s worse is most of the art i now covered by hideous tags (graffiti lettering). You can faintly see the remnants of beautifully crafted pieces of art behind all the mess of lines and colors. There are still a few pieces untouched and they are quite breath-taking and most definitely worth a visit.

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Federation Square

After a short power-nap back at the hostel I sent a message to a few of my friends living/traveling in Melbourne. The only one available to hang out was the German guy I met at Hard Rock Cafe back in Darling Harbour, Sydney! He was in town for the Australian Open Tennis Championship and was watching it at a pub in federation square.

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Flinders Street Station

We walked around the area and he gave me a brief tour.

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I took way too many photos of this cathedral, can you blame me?

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St. Paul’s Cathedral

We stopped for a drink at a rooftop bar in order to meet some more of Andi’s friends (Aka German dude).

From there you could see an excellent panorama of the entire area. The most entertaining thing was the crowd of people chilling in lawn chairs watching the AO (Australian Open) on a giant screen. I almost wished I could join them, but then I remembered I don’t like sports and settled for people watching.~

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When Andi’s friends finally came we had a great time laughing at inappropriate jokes and talking about one of his friends professional Cello career. I told them I’d really wanted to go to the Queen Victoria Market and persuaded them to come with me. The girl, Emma, was quite a character! She gave the most entertaining tour of Melbourne and I wished we could be BFF’s from that day forward. Even though she is 22 years older than I am, I am convinced that she is my long-lost twin.

Queen Victoria Market

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When you hear the word “market” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For me it’s a place where vendors sell their hand-made goods. I’ve been to many markets all over the world, but never to one as crowded as this one.

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I’m not one that feels comfortable in big crowds so I just wanted to push through this never-ending flood of people to find some food and get out. I swear I heard an angelic choir singing when I saw a stand with authentic greek Gyros. FINALLY! I found the most delicious of mediterranean tacos in the world, the Gyro. Back in Korea it was something I craved so much, but to my misfortune the closest thing I could find were Turkish Kebabs. It was almost too perfect. I don’t even think I tasted that Gyro I swallowed it so fast!

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Just as I finished my Gyro one of Andi’s friends dragged me away from this beautiful food paradise to a modern percussion concert. yay….

Modern Percussion Concert.. Wait, WHAT!?

I don’t know how I manage to get myself into strange situations, but it happens far too often. The professional Cellist, Paul, plays for the Symphony of Sydney, which is pretty cool! He came to Melbourne to see this modern percussion concert. For those of you who have never had the privilege/misfortune to see/hear modern percussion let me explain what it is very briefly. It is professional percussionists using out of the norm instruments to make new sounds. Ex. using an air canister blowing air as an instrument, or, licking and blowing into a cymbal (both of these things actually happened). Now, I’ve been a professional musician for years and I am super uninterested in modern percussion (I also played percussion in high school) and I told Paul I would rather not go. He told me that the concert will be out of this world and uses a rotating table to create music. He was super convinced I couldn’t miss it. So I went. And it took everything in me to keep from laughing. They were hitting these rocks on the table so seriously and bowing the chimes. It was hilariously awkward and if anyone asked me whether or not I would ever find myself at a modern percussion concert in Melbourne I would just laugh at them, but well here we are.

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Naked For Satan and drinks

At this point all I wanted to do was go home. But no, the night was just beginning. After the extremely awkward concert situation we decided to take a taxi to Fitzroy to go to Naked for Satan. Katie, the backpacker I’d met around Australia twice, suggested I go to this rooftop bar that sells 1$ tapas called Naked for Satan. It didn’t disappoint. The tapas were delicious and even though the elevator was broken we climbed those stairs to the roof for some great nighttime city views.

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One day I’ll get a better camera -.-

We ended the night meeting up with Andi for more drinks by the Yarra river. It was a great way to end such a very long day.

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