A quick 2-night trip to Melbourne, partly for the Van Gogh exhibition at the NGV, and partly for someone's birthday, celebrated with a meal at Maha, our favourite restaurant in Australia. This time we stayed in a serviced apartment in "jumping" Degraves Street, near Flinders Street Station, rather than in a hotel.
Unfortunately the Van Gogh "Seasons" exhibition in the NGV turned out a serious flop, primarily because of the chaos created by unlimited numbers of people, no fixed route through the exhibits, people taking photographs (often of themselves) in front of the pictures, school groups, push chairs, and so on. Neither of us thought much of the paintings either!
Hopefully the gallery will have learned some lessons from this in time for the House of Dior 70th anniversary exhibition which we are booked to see in October, en route to a further visit to Tasmania, this time doing the east coast.
Not surprisingly, dinner at Maha, Shane Delia's wonderful Lebanese restaurant, easily compensated for the Van Gogh disappointment. A breakfast at Cumulus is a must whenever we're in Melbourne. On monday night we had dinner at Il Tempo, a modest Italian restaurant right next door to our apartment building (which, by the way, was originally Melbourne's first department store). Alessandro Guidetti, the Manager, gave a wonderful performance, starting with the not-uncommon swoon over Anne's coat as we were walking past. Alessandro introduced us to Negroamaro, a smooth and affordable red wine from Puglia in Southern Italy, and to continue the wine theme, he gave us an introduction to his brother Claudio, who runs the restaurant at Stefano Lubiana Wines, which overlooks the River Derwent at Granton in Tasmania, a must-visit for our next trip down there.
And of course in Melbourne there's always shopping to be done, and I seem to be making a habit of getting my hair cut when we're there. Plus I'll know next time that St Paul's Cathedral doesn't do Choral Evensong on Mondays. And having renewed and topped-up our Myki cards, we took a tram ride out to St Kilda beach, with its great view of Port Phillip Bay.