What the guidebooks tell you, and what at least one Melbournian had told me.....
was that I HAD TO VISIT THE LANEWAYS.
Before you get to Melbourne, you imagine that they are some olde-worldie agglomeration of
retail halls, depots, and store fronts, quaint relics of another era. In fact, they are more like
plunking the New York City's Greenwich Village right into the bowels of mid-town.
The laneways are the back alleys of corporate headquarters, major global retail outlets,
access points for Chinatown dim sum palaces, and service entrances for yuppie residences
claimed and re-purposed by regular folks, smaller entrepreneurs of every stripe for
providing eating, music, drinking, artspace choices to urban Ozzies
and visitors from all corners of the world - whatever their entertainment persuasion.
Slick gambling emporia tuck themselves cheek by jowl
alongside Italian coffee bars, Greek kebab joints,
Thai noodle houses, sushi showcases, Chinese dumpling destinations,
juice bars, German beer halls,
hipster cocktail lounges,
and Mittel-Europa-ish cake shops.
Increasingly, people are drawn to the Laneways for the street art - it's the new thing as per the
New York Times "Frugal Traveller" 10 days ago.
And you won't be the only person taking photos of the artwork.
Or the post-Christmas shoppers. Some of the laneways are traditional purpose-built pedestrian passageways and elegant arcades steeped in history and Empire. In short, there is something there in Melbourne's "Central Business District" (the "CBD") for everyone. If you are the kind of someone who enjoys variety, the buzz of a lively crowd and probably, great coffee. Because Melbourne has some of the best coffee outside of Italy. More on that soon.