After unpacking and getting settled into our new “home,” we set out in search of breakfast. We found that, and some new friends, at Frances Food and Coffee on the street level of our building. Both food and coffee were outstanding—I devoured their Niscore Omelette (with potato, green olives, firm peach, and gruyere with a small side salad) and Bob enjoyed their Chia Pudding (which we had several times again, both sit down and take-away). The barista helped us understand the nuances of coffee names in Australia. I had a skinny latte (seems like a universal term) and Bob ordered a long black (double espresso that was served with a small glass of sparkling mineral water–“to cleanse to palate.” He also explained to us that we could also ask for “pressed” coffee if we wanted some like we make at home.
He and the cook were both very friendly, telling us about local transportation and giving suggestions about activities we might enjoy during our stay. Their friendliness was just the first of many during our stay—Melbourne is a very welcoming, sociable city.
Afterwards, we walked across the street to check out the Queen Victoria Market, affectionately known as The Vic. It’s an amazing covered outdoor market with rows and rows of produce, seafood and meat markets, specialty delis, cheese shoppes, and much more. Additionally, there’s a huge artisan market where one can buy anything from souvenirs to leather jackets, UGG products, men/women/children’s clothing, household items, and more; plus there are food courts of many varieties.
The Vic is a draw for locals and tourists alike. It is open Monday, Wednesdays, and Friday thru Sunday from early morning until about 2:pm. On Wednesday evening, it comes alive at 5:pm for a night of celebration—lots of food and drink with live music, and some retail. On this first trip, we bought some fruit and vegetables, a lamb steak, a really fresh turkish bread, some Greek spreads and cheese, fresh ground Australian coffee, and a bottle of sparkling shiraz.
After bringing our bounty “home” and taking a siesta to get out of the heat, we ventured out again—this time to check out the City Circle, a free tram that does a loop around the City with a recorded narration of points of interest—it was a good introduction to a clearly beautiful city. We spotted the Visitors’ Center and decided that would be tomorrow’s destination.
Back at the studio, Bob prepared the lamb steak and asparagus, which we enjoyed with eggplant and beetroot spreads (an interesting fact we learned early in the visit is that Australians really like beetroot and include it with a lot of meals), turkish bread, and sparkling shiraz—a delicious end to a great day.