On one of our recent trips into the city Erik and I decided to explore the funky, trendy Brunswick and Fitzroy neighborhoods along the NW border of the central business district. Walking down Brunswick Street at first is pleasant enough, but nothing out of the ordinary as all of Melbourne shares the beautiful Victorian architecture and charming tramlines.
After strolling up and down the street we decided to stop into one of the many dark cafes stuffed to the brim with funky lighting, plants and overstuffed couches.
Coffee is somewhat of a legend in Melbourne as many Italians came over in the 60s. In Australia coffee is ordered by type and after several conversations about the different ways, we decided that “flat white” or espresso with cold milk was most similar to what we’re used to. There are a million options, but our hosts warned us that a skinny (low fat milk), soy, decaf is referred to as “why bother”.
We passed through Federation Square on our way to the tram home and discovered that the annual winter Festival of Light had begun. A large helix tree had been built right in the center of the square. The light color reacts to sound and each night a different chorus is scheduled to sing around the piece to create a multi-media showcase. We caught the tail end of a performance which was beautiful but hard to hear as the singers had to face towards the base and away from the audience.
As an additional exhibit a campfire was lit as part of a program initiated by the elders of Melbourne’s indigenous communities. The fire served as another reminder of Australia’s roots and the continual efforts of the city to include indigenous populations. Although a nice thought it seemed somewhat forced to me, and noticeably separate from the rest of the festivities.