With a milestone to celebrate Sam and I headed into Melbourne for a night last weekend. After dropping our gear off at the Langham, our Friday evening was spent checking out the outdoor shops (lucky Sam hey!) before heading out for a late meal and making our way back to our room. It's nice to stay in the city every now and again, not having to spend an hour or so getting back to our home in the 'burbs is a pleasant change, as was chilling out in our room and gazing out over the Yarra River and Melbourne's night time skyline. After a very relaxed breakfast at the hotel on Saturday morning I figured that I might head off on an easy city walk while Sam did a bit of shopping, after a lot of research I settled on the Arts Precinct Walk (err that may be another alternative fact.....the real reason was that the walk almost passed by the front door of our hotel!).
|Our flash digs tonight.|
After saying goodbye to Sam as she wandered off with the credit cards for a couple of hours, I headed down to the National Gallery of Victoria to start my stroll. Now this walk passes by a lot of galleries on it's journey, but with limited time today I was more interested in checking out the outside of the galleries and public art installations. Passing the NGV I did make an exception to that rule though and headed in to the vast foyer to check out the famous water wall, managing to get a photo without too many people in it. Actually getting photos without people in them was a bit of a problem today as the city was crowded with punters in town for White Night.
|I started my walk off at the NGV.|
Walking down the wide, tree lined boulevard that is St Kilda Road I checked out the Victorian Collage of the Arts before turning down Grant Street. Apart from a fair few residential apartments Grant Street is home to the Vault, better known to some Victorians as the Yellow Peril. This installation has struggled to find a home in Melbourne and is currently settling in to it's third home so far, now on the forecourt of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art it stands as a contrast to the huge City Link exhaust and the rusted facade of the ACCA. With the huge Eureka Tower guiding me back I headed towards the CBD along Sturt Street, turning onto Southbank Boulevard at the Melbourne Recital Hall, it's interesting architecture giving me a reason to get the camera out again.
|The Vault is probably better known as the Yellow Peril in Victoria, it seems to have found a more permanent home now.|
Heading back up past the NGV again I checked out the sculptures around the back of the Arts Centre, I've been here many times over the years but didn't realise that there is a small sculpture garden and café hidden away behind the Arts Centre. After circumnavigating the Arts Centre I crossed the Yarra on Princess Bridge, before making my way through Federation Square. I'd been lucky so far this morning in that predicted showers hadn't arrived yet, but the city streets create a bit of a wind tunnel effect and even without the rain it was bloody cold in the shade this morning.
|The Melbourne Arts Centre.|
I was now heading for a couple of old favourites, Hoosier Lane and more particularly, AC/DC Lane. I've featured these two spots in my blog before but the good news is that the gritty street art is always changing so revisiting every now and again there is always something new to be seen. The cobblestone Hoosier Lane is a little more on the tourist strip than AC/DC Lane and there was no shortage of punters there today, most of them trying to get a selfie of themselves in front of the mural of Trump and Putin. Hmmm, maybe Trump is infatuated with Putin because they're both fucken' lunatics, unfortunately I reckon only one of them is a smart lunatic though.....
Guns & Roses had been in town this week and Angus Young had been up on stage with them belting out a couple of Acca Dacca classics from the Bon Scott era, and rumour has it that Angus was seen down at AC/DC Lane checking things out. Unfortunately there was no Angus sighting today but as usual AC/DC Lane and Duckboard Place provided endless visual stimulation if you look hard enough. With no crowds to speak of in AC/DC Lane I took my time here, apart from rock'n'roll a lot of the art work here also has a political edge (like a lot of Melbourne's street art really).
|Apparently Angus was down here a couple of days ago.|
Heading back out onto Flinders Lane I meandered my way up to Collins Street checking out the soon to be demolished water wall in the City Square and an old favourite, the Larry Latrobe dog sculpture. With the need to check out of our room by 1:00pm I started to head back towards the Langham, heading down towards Desgraves Street through the old Nicholas Building. The Nicholas Building features a lot of resident artists studios and workshops, but I was more interested in the ground floor arcade today, the art deco styled roof being particularly good.
|Collins Street was looking pretty good today, although it was bloody cold for February.|
Desgraves Street like AC/DC Lane and Hoosier Lane features a fair bit of gritty street art, the main difference here is that Desgraves Street also features a lot of trendy little cafés, all of which appeared to be doing a roaring trade today as I made my way through. Popping out to Flinders Street opposite the station my walk was over, all I had to do now was to head back over the Yarra River to Southbank and our hotel to meet up with Sam and then back home to our normal life in the suburbs.
|Desgraves Street was pretty busy today.|
Now seeing that we stayed in a flash hotel on this excursion I figured that I'd better write up something informative about it. Unfortunately I failed to do that so you'll have to settle for these incoherent ramblings instead. We stayed here back when the Langham was the Sheraton a few times and my recollections we're of a fairly nice place that was fairly expensive and it appears that not much has changed there. The Langham had all the usual features of a modern 5 star hotel, with a grand entrance / foyer area and a couple of nice restaurants to choose from. Our room was a corner room on the 18th floor that looked out over the Yarra River and Melbourne's skyline. The only negative thing I can say about the room was that the bed was soft, for a reason that escapes me people that stay in these flash places seem to equate luxury with softness, whether it's beds, furniture, carpet, toilet paper....everything is soft.... much like the people that stay here I suppose, yeah, yeah I know I'm soft! We had brekky as part of the deal at Melba's restaurant and that was really good, although I gave the chocolate fountain and ice cream a miss but each to their own I suppose. We also had free wifi and a 1pm checkout. Would I recommend the Langham, well I've stayed in worse and I've stayed in better, for prime position on Southbank it's hard to beat but if you don't mind a walk then I'd go for the Hilton at South Wharf.
|The Langham Hotel at Southbank.|
I walked around 4.5 kilometres on my easy Arts Precinct Ramble, no GPS reading today though as I didn't want to appear like a complete tool wandering around the city. I loosely used the notes out of the Woodslane book Melbourne's Best Bush, Bay, & City Walks by Julia Monday, the Woodslane website is crap so no link there though. You could quite easily spend a day doing this walk if you visited even half the galleries and studio's that the notes take you past, however for me it's the lane ways of Melbourne that are the highlight of the walk. Like I mentioned we stayed at the Langham Hotel at Southbank. We had a B&B deal with a corner suite which cost us around $440 online, so it's not cheap, but for a special occasion I suppose it's not too bad.
|This was the view that I got on every one of the eighteen times I woke up for a piss last night....hey I'm old.|
|Looking over Flinders Street Station towards the eastern part of the Melbourne CBD from our room.|