Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Life in the Laneways - Melbourne, Australia

What the guidebooks tell you, and what at least one Melbournian had told me.....


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

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.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Melbourne - World's Most Liveable City

So how important are these things to you?


(houses in Fitzroy and Clifton Hill)


(Federation Square and the "CBD")




(Federation Square with New Year's barriers)


("CBD" - Central Business District from the Eureka Sky Deck)

(Flinders Street Station)

 (St. Kilda Botanical Garden)


If all these qualities in a city are important to you.

Then you might have to LOVE Melbourne.

In last August 2016's Economist Magazine's Intelligence Unit's Liveability Ranking, Melbourne retained it's top ranking among major cities in the world for overall liveability.  For the sixth time.  

Its score of 97.5 is based on the five broad categories cited above.  Melbourne earned a score of 95 for stability, 100 for healthcare, 95.1 for culture and environment, 100 for education and 100 for infrastructure.  So you don't have to believe me, Mlle. Paradis, that it's a very enjoyable place to visit and probably, an even nicer place to live.  Take it from "Experts".

The Economist does not rate it for food but I think I've said it before....the food is FABULOUS!  And I will claim just a little expertise in that department.  More of that coming in another post soon.  

until then, HAPPY WEEKEND!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Australia's Impressionists at the National Gallery, London

So happy to discover these paintings and painters of Australia

at the same time as my first visit there.

This artwork is part of an exhibit now on view

in London, England

at the National Gallery until the 26th of March 2017.

These paintings for me capture so well the light, and the freshness of Australia.

For a place so far removed geographically from the rest of the world, and occupied by

a population (on a landmass nearly the size of the U.S.) of approximately only 24 million

i.e., that of New York City, London, and Hong Kong combined......

it should not be too surprising that the air seems magically clean

the beaches phenomenonally uncrowded

 and its landscapes unencumbered.

Australia presents itself as a country whose possibilities are still seemingly limitless.

Many of which are yet undiscovered.  Where a certain vibrancy

and yes, mystery prevails.  I WAS surprised by all that.

I was mostly struck, by these paintings, and the range of artwork that I saw in Oz

by a considerable clarity, exuberance, confidence, elegance and fineness of sensibility.

If you're judging a country by Baz Luhrman, Cate Blanchett, and Nicole Kidman this should really not have been a surprise.

The Australians are carrying forth a stunning artistic legacy into the world.  If you ever get a chance to enjoy some of it, i.e., by visiting OZ, or via this gorgeous exhibition, do yourself a great favor:  

Don't miss out!

(More pics soon, hope you all had a great weekend!)