“Travel only with thy equals or thy betters; if there are none, travel alone.” –The Dhammapada
This week I was fortunate enough to have an abundance of free time, with which I chose to do some solo explorations of local sites.
I ventured first to Brighton Beach, another quaint little beach town, much like Sorrento. Church Street is a posh shopping centre, equipped with stylish boutiques, cozy cafes, and enticing restaurants. A short 15-minute stroll from Church Street places you at the intersection of Dendy Street and Esplande where the Brighton Beach bathing boxes are located. The original 82 bathing boxes were constructed shortly after the settlement of the English, as a means to conserve the decency of beach goers. In the mid-1800’s, the boxes were relocated to where is now known as Dendy Street Beach, after extensive land disputes. Each box is uniquely painted–some adorned with cartoons and ocean scenes, while others simply bear bright colors.
About a week ago, I found myself with two hours to kill, so I wandered into the National Gallery of Victoria. Boy, did I underestimate the time it would take me to explore this museum, so naturally, I had to return to see the rest. The NGV is an absolutely outstanding gallery comprised of three stories and over 70,000 artworks spanning the genres and regions of the world–to name a few: contemporary, pre-Raphaelites, Asian, English, Ancient World. Due to the expansive building, I was lost within the gallery, but at the end of the day, I’m sure I could have been lost in worse places.
“Half the fun of the travel is the aesthetic of lostness.” –Ray Bradbury
Located across the street from the National Gallery are the Queen Victoria Gardens. Throughout the gardens are statues of nymphs and hammer throwing men and memorials to commemorate Queen Victoria and Edward VII. Strewn among the grass are Melbournians picnicing, reading, playing frisbee, and simply enjoying the sunshine. Add a zoo and a swimming pool and you have found yourself in New York’s Central Park.
Queen Victoria Market hosts a special night market during the winter months. The Winter Night Market brings together music, food, merchandise, film, and fire. I advise bringing your appetite because you will want to try everything available–mushroom burgers, lamb shanks, chili con carne, fried Oreos, hot apple cider, and more. While you are eating, you can shop for handcrafted artwork, jewelry, soap, and clothing at one of the thirty or so merchandise booths. Done shopping, but not ready to return home? Check out the cinema located near the rear of the market to enjoy film shorts written, directed, and produced by amateur Australian filmmakers; be a groupie at the mainstage while local bands perform well-known and original songs; or cozy up by one of the many fire pits located around the venue.