Last weekend I went to Melbourne, Australia to visit my friend Theresa, whom I met in Wellington and who went across the ditch last September, much to the dismay of all her friends. I was just sort of keen to get out of town, I think—much as I love Wellington, I also think there’s a distinct tendency (for me, at least) to get sort of heads-down sometimes and never think much about anything beyond work and parties and Cuba Street and stuff like that. I went through a couple months last year where I felt, for the first time, that this really is a small city in a small country—not claustrophobic, exactly, but, just…small. I mostly use those feelings, when I have them, as an excuse to go on some sort of trip somewhere, and so it was that I booked a cheap-ish ticket to what I like to refer to as the Wellington of Australia.
The last time I’d been there was four years ago when I was on my big East-Coast-Of-Australia backpacking trip—don’t I look young in those pictures, like, damn–and so I already knew that Melbourne is pretty much all about eating and drinking and hanging out and looking good, so it was nice that the first thing I did upon arrival—after thinking thoughts like “Hey, look how BIG this train station is!” and “Wow, look at all the freeways”—was to go out with T and her lovely boyfriend Sebastian to a Nepali restaurant where she immediately ordered an entire crab in a bowl.
We tried to keep the Wellington run-down (mostly) to ourselves until the next day at brunch, where we had the delightful conundrum of which gorgeous little Fitzroy café would win our custom.
We were spoilt for choice. Theresa, of course, lives in the hippest part of town, as this documentary video will attest:
So after getting into it over hot chocolates, welsh rarebit, and baked eggs with Brussels sprouts (you’d think it’d be weird but it was in fact total yum), we headed out for a spot of vintage shopping, as one is contractually obligated to do in that neighbourhood.
I told T to get this dress but she didn’t listen.
Displaying a distinct lack of style vision, we both neglected to buy anything from the tutu/rockabilly platform heel shop.
I wrote off the octopus-print sailcloth as a bit too overdone—at this point it’s like the Keep Calm And Carry On poster, right?
T looks sharp in a multicolor sequin beret.
But she went for a plaid scarf, knitted earwarmer, studded beanie, and straw hat instead.
This area is basically all gorgeous cafes and adorable boutiques and handmade art markets and used bookstores and record shops—super super fun to wander around on a sunny-chilly Saturday.
Pausing on the way back from the grocery store, on the way home for a cuppa tea.
We decided to get dressed up a bit to go out for pizza with Sebastian and some other friends. Here we are before getting ready:
And here we are after Theresa has done not only her own but my makeup and expertly plucked my eyebrows just like she used to do in her house on Palmer Street.
Theresa is wearing her go-to LBD and I am wearing an adorable dress I bought at one of the aforementioned vintage shops, the sleeves of which T altered for increased cuteness while it was actually on my body. (I am also wearing a pair of her skyscraper heels, but the less said about those, the better).
Sunday I had meant to catch up with two other friends who live in Melbourne, but only managed to get my act together to meet Jill for lunch. Jill was one of the first people I ever met in Welly because she was running the good old Maple Lodge at the time. I hadn’t seen her since she left, of course, but we met up on Brunswick Street and had lunch with her husband and basically got right into it again, like no time had passed. I love friends like that: I always have, I always will.
We went to a craft market and saw more good street art—I love it when cities encourage that sort of thing.
We also saw the tail end of a protest, related to that last bit of graffiti up there.
Soon it was time to go home for my last night with T, who’d been hosting a clothing exchange at her flat and who is here pictured modifying a second-hand t-shirt that someone left in the charity bag.
Here’s the bike-related art in her downstairs bathroom.
I don’t care about bikes, like, at all, but even I know this is funny.
I made us some broccoli pasta, as I often do, and we had a silly living room photo shoot of us wearing questionable shirts and bright pink lipstick
Doesn’t T totally look like 90s-era Cindy Crawford in my Let’s Make Out shirt that I brought all the way to Australia specifically for this purpose?
And don’t I look…interesting…in her Feel Free To Feel Me shirt?
That’s basically all I did, the whole time I was there: had hot chocolates, walked around and looked at stuff, ate food, rode the trams. I didn’t do anything touristy at all, really—we went to Federation Square for a winter solstice event but that was it. Someone asked me over dinner if I would ever consider moving to Melbourne, and I did think briefly about what it would be like to live there in that gorgeous neighbourhood, in that big beautiful city, but instead I ended up singing Wellington’s praises to anyone who would listen.
All I did that weekend was spend time with good friends. That’s the whole reason I was there. That’s mostly all I do anyway, really, regardless of what side of the Tasman—or the world—I’m on.