Day two down under brought us to the ever popular Queen Victoria Market. After a breakfast of muesli, spirulina juice and an apple (plus a couple of trips back and forth to the bathroom), we finally made it out into the Melbourne morning.
We opted to take a walk all the way to the market since the morning air (and much deserved exercise) would do us good. It was a pretty straightforward route all the way there (Corner of Victoria St and Elizabeth St.)
If you’re in the mood for fresh produce and rows and rows of everything Australian, it’s the place for you (and your wallet) to let loose.
The place was bustling with people, young and old armed with reusable bags for their groceries. The opening hours differ day to day, so check the timings out on their website here: http://www.qvm.com.au/contact-us/ before making a trip down.
I absolutely loved the atmosphere. I wandered around for abit through the various vintage clothes shops, passing by endless arrays of souvenirs and trinkets. This part of the market is a combination of our Singaporean “pasar malam” (or night market where they sell all sorts of bits and bobs) and the flea markets we flock to ever so often. Locals sell their handmade wares ranging from silver bracelets, handmade wire accessories and my favourite- the artwork.
Cherry tomatoes from a local vendor
I was browsing through his stall where he was selling handmade wire accessories; earrings, bracelets, necklaces and pendants and wondering if I could get something small as a gift for one of my friends back home. The conversation began merely from a discussion about a pair of elephant earrings to his hobbies and family.
He told me how he could no longer make trinkets as well anymore because he was becoming an “old fart”, I quote him. And how now, he spends his time tending his gardens back home and preventing the dog from getting at the vegetables.
I happened to mention my love for cherry tomatoes after telling him how much my mom loved gardening as well. The next thing I knew, he had reached into a cooler box nestled in the corner of the stall and pulled out a generous handful of beautifully ripe cherry tomatoes; on the vine. (There were more tomatoes than the ones in the picture. I gave half to my aunt)
It’s funny how much you disclose to someone you’ve never met.
Moving on, we tried liquorice, and saw bars and bars of goat soap and candles, fortune telling booths. It was endless.
We made our way away from the floppy hats to the sheltered produce area. The market wasn’t nearly as crowded as it was when we first arrived, but fresh fruit and vegetables lined the crates, and shoppers were bargaining at the top of their voices fighting against the stall owners promoting their wares.
Grabbed an antipasto mix & the grape leaf dolma (stuffed grape leaf) for lunch - a Turkish cold appetiser to share among the three of us.
Market Lane Coffee.
I was the only one who got drip coffee (the Muduha; from Rwanda, caramel and fresh peach with a silky mouthfeel) with ice because the weather was becoming overbearing. The aunt and cousin went for their regular flat whites.
We went for another round of food hunting after our light snacking, and found a crowd gathered around the Borek Shop (Shop 95, Deli Hall). Grabbed a couple of boreks after squeezing through the intense crowd and we sat outside under an umbrella listening to the busker play some good ol’ tunes.
He was there for hours, god knows how his fingers must be feeling.
Dropped the aunt back at the hotel for some much needed r&r, while we hit the National Gallery of Victoria for the Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei exhibition.
National Gallery of Victoria
The tickets cost us 26 AUD each for the exhibition but the museum has a wide range of exhibits on the upper floors if you’re into the free and easy.
Andy Warhol x Ai Weiwei
I loved how interactive the exhibition was – catering to both kids and young adults/adults that are still pretending to be kids. Albeit getting hit by helium llama balloons in red and gold, I still loved the few shots I took amidst the creative chaos.
If I had to pick a favourite, I would have to say the lego room (above). Everything floor to ceiling was painstakingly crafted out of lego blocks – even the font. And I especially loved the quote shown above:
The Cat Room
Yes thank you Ai Weiwei for your intense love for cats; giving life to this imaginative cat room. Adorable desktops with ears and chairs with tails. (And screaming kids)
We took the long walk back to the hotel, and stopped by a pharmacy (for the millionth time). I got bored, so I wandered out into the main street and saw a spray paint artist – the kind that’ve been going viral on social media lately.
A friend of mind kindly got me a painting from such spray paint artists when she was in New York; this one was different. They were all landscapes in vibrant psychedelic colours; waterfalls and mountains and trees. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have a chat with the creative genius; plus I brought back a (huge canvas) piece of his art work at a discount price.
According to him, spray painting was an accident he came across. Yet, he’s been doing it for ten years.
The stories are what maketh the man.
Or something philosophical like that.
We crash landed back in the hotel room. Dinner was at Old Town Coffee, before we called it a night.