3 Days in Melbourne: Day 2

We’ve just returned from three days in Melbourne — you can read about our first day here, and day three will be coming soon! Here’s how we spent our second busy day.

Square & Compass

Started the morning with a decaf mocha and avocado toast (my notes say “best avo toast!!!) at this small cafe two blocks north of Fitzroy Garden. It was the perfect way to begin the day.

Fitzroy Garden

It’s hard for me to pick a favorite Melbourne garden — I liked them all — but even in the misty rain, this one wowed me. I loved all of its little twists and turns, the willow-lined creek, the old buildings (that’s Cook’s Cottage above), the fountains (that’s the Dolphin Fountain below) …

… the model Tudor Village (presented by the town of Lambeth, England, in thanks for Melbourne’s shipping them food following World War II) …

… and the somewhat creepy, somewhat charming carvings of the Fairies Tree.

Alexandra Gardens

From Fitzroy Garden, we walked through the Melbourne Olympic Park, across the Yarra River, and then along the north edge of the Alexandra Gardens. This narrow park is mostly known for its long riverside walking and bike path.

Prahran Market

Turning southward, I popped into several very cute clothing boutiques on Chapel Street, a trendy shopping area in the South Yarra neighborhood. But our ultimate goal was Prahran Market.

This well-known establishment has been around since the late 1800s; today it features a range of produce vendors and small cafes. We decided that we preferred the vibe and larger selection of Queen Victoria Market, but we had an excellent grilled cheese toastie and milkshake at Prahran Market’s Maker & Monger (the self-proclaimed “chapel of cheese”).

State Library Victoria

I am obsessed with this library. Obsessed. First of all, there’s the amazing 1913 La Trobe Reading Room and Dome Gallery (above), which pretty much speaks for itself. Books, grandeur, classical architecture — yes, please. Then there are all sorts of other reading spaces, such as the train-station-like 1893 Redmond Barry Reading Room (which originally housed Melbourne’s Industrial and Technological Museum):

I also like that there’s a variety of Australia- and book-related art scattered in various nooks and crannies throughout the library.

RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology)

Visiting university campuses is a busman’s holiday for a college counselor, but I genuinely enjoy seeing university buildings. RMIT has wide array of architecture, from the 2012 Design Hub (above) to the Romanesque Old Magistrate’s Court (now sadly just called Building 20) …

… to Storey Hall (reconstructed in 1996) …

… with its wild and weird “Green Brain” sitting on top the 1912 Singer Sewing Machine factory.

University of Melbourne

Whereas RMIT’s buildings are scattered throughout the city center, University of Melbourne has an actual campus (though it’s still quite urban). Founded in 1853, the university has a mix of building styles. My favorites were nineteenth century Neo-Gothic behemoths like the Old Pathology Hall…

… and the somewhat more elegant (but still Gothic) Old Quad.

Regent Theatre

Skipping our original dinner plans, we made a last-minute decision to head to this beautifully restored 1929 “picture palace” in the East End Theatre District. The space has been converted into a theater, and we were lucky to catch a performance of “& Juliet.”

We ended the evening with a late and unforgettable dinner of noodles a few blocks north of the theatre — there are all sorts of food options nearby.

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