With it being near the end of Week 7 of classes – just days away from Easter Break, it is crunch time for mid-semester assessments. It’s been a busy two weeks with papers, presentations, and exams, but that hasn’t stopped me from continuing to explore the city and attend some events with some great friends. Here are some places or events I attended and my experience(s) there:
Queen Victoria Market (QVM) is basically a large open air market in Melbourne with a section of the market selling goods and produce (like an open farmer’s market), and the other section selling apparel, souvenirs, and other novelty items. It’s about a 15-minute walk from campus or three tram stops, so I decided to make this little trip. I went up and down each section hoping to find something worthwhile for myself, since I knew I wasn’t planning on doing any souvenir shopping until closer to my departure date. I ended up buying two t-shirts, a hoodie, and some cheap bracelets for myself. I also bought a few avocados since they were on sale (four for $5!!!) Spent a total of $35.
When I was done shopping around the QVM, I decided to walk down to the Central Business District of Melbourne for food and some postcards. There are some souvenir stores, but there aren’t as many options as there are in the QVM. I bought a few postcards and found a small sushi restaurant. I’m not sure what shocked me more – the cheap price of each roll ($2.50 per roll), or that the sushi is literally in a roll. Instead of the rice being the outermost layer and cut into 8 pieces, the seaweed was the outermost layer, and it was served in a roll like a burrito (pictured below). Also, soy sauce comes in the small, plastic fish-shaped “container” rather than in the plastic packet we’re used to. It still tasted great though, but it did surprise me.
One of the past weekends, there was the Bayside Food Truck Food Festival going on by the beach. It was free entry, and there were a lot of food trucks with different options available. We found a table and all ordered at different food trucks. I ordered a Carnitas Taco from a taco truck before ordering a double-fried chicken rib meal from a Korean food truck. There was live music and entertainment and a few kiddie rides set up. We stayed until it got dark before deciding to walk along the beach in hopes to find penguins (yes, there actually are penguins that come to shore after sunset at St Kilda Beach!). We didn’t find any penguins, unfortunately, most likely because we were looking in the wrong place, but we decided to use the opportunity to have a mini ‘photoshoot session’ and enjoy the beach at night. On our walk back, we stopped by Luna Park, which is a small amusement park across the street from the beach, and had another mini ‘photoshoot’ by the main entrance.
Located in Port Melbourne (so basically outside of the city, opposite of St. Kilda), Westgate Park is home to a *drum roll* PINK LAKE! I’m not kidding, google it! My friends and I decided to Uber there since some of the locals told us it was really tricky to take public transportation down. It was a pretty hot day, so we knew the lake would still be pink*. It was mainly to take pictures and have fun with a mini photoshoot before the lake was no longer pink. I brought my Instax polaroid camera and my one friend brought her digital camera, so we have a variety of photos of the lake and us. It was pretty cool to have the sky reflect off the pink lake, so you saw shades of pink, purple, blue, and white clouds.
Maybe you’ve seen these in pictures online, but Brighton Beach is home of the colorful beach box huts! There’s maybe 80 huts painted with cool patterns and designs. It’s also along the Port Phillip Bay, so the beach didn’t have big waves, but I didn’t care too much about that – I visited only for the boxes and the coastal walk. One of the local students and I decided to take on the challenge of walking from Brighton Beach to St. Kilda Beach in time for the sunset. It’s about a 1.5-2 hour walk (if we were to not make stops and take pictures), and we got to Brighton Beach at around 5:00pm with sunset at 7:23pm. The coolest part about where Brighton Beach is located, you can see the color huts, beach, AND the city skyline!! Think about it – when was the last time you went to the beach and saw the beach AND the city in the same view?
We took pictures in front of some of the huts that we liked, and then started the coastal walk. We made a few stops to take pictures of the view, so we were falling behind schedule, but we were able to make it to St Kilda Beach with 10 minutes before sunset -phew!- Watching the sunset at the beach was such a peaceful and beautiful way to end a day, that I constantly long to go back to the beach for the sunsets – even if it is getting colder now.
With Easter Break comes new adventures! Hint: I’m going somewhere new by myself for a week… Take a guess where in the meantime, or just wait until I post my next blog to find out!
* The lake turns pink due to the single-cell algae, Dunalliela, growing in the salt crust at the bottom of the lake, which produces a red pigment. It acts as a natural sunscreen, but turns back to blue once the weather gets cooler and the rainfall increases.