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Melbourne Diary: The Arcades and The Lanes In Between

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This post is another instalment of the Sydney Diary, except that it’s two months late and it’s about Melbourne instead. We stayed there for a few nights, but we only spent one full day exploring the city as the other times we went to the Yarra Valley and Mt Buller.

Here is the extract from my travel journal. Keeping a travel journal is very handy! Especially, for someone with a goldfish’s memory like me.

Melbourne, 22 August 2013

Federation Square

Federation Square, the best spot to start exploring the city. It. There was a bistro at Fed Square called Time Out. While my friends were having their breakfast there I went to explore around because there was Melbourne Writers Festival (MWF) going on. I had no idea what kind of festival it was, but I had hopes; to meet writers, to have casual discussions with them and to introduce myself as a blogger, maybe be recognized or at least acknowledged? Yes, I know it was a way too big of a dream for a rookie newbie. But I dream, I am a dreamer, that’s who I am. How cool would it be if I and Torre DeRoche (author of Love With A Chance of Drowning book and the blog owner of Fearful Adventurerwere to start commenting on each other blog?

Melbourne Visitor Center

There were like twenty middle aged ladies hanging out at the entrance of the Fed square. I thought they were a part of MWF, maybe mommy writers, the MMWF. Apparently not, they all were tourists, and it was their meeting point for a day tour. Oh disappointment. I then went down to the Melbourne Tourist Centre. It was huge with lots of interactive information. I never have seen any tourist center as impressive as Melbourne one. Me being me, my first stop was the gift shop. I grabbed something for my besties and walked around for a while and met my friends at the Time Out restaurant. They said it was overpriced and underserviced.

We crossed the road the Flinders Street and saw, Young and Jackson, the iconic hotel and bar, standing still for almost two decades. The hotel bar is famous for the naked painting of Chloé, the under aged Parisian model who decided to kill herself two years later. The hotel holds a history of many young soldiers who during the wartime wrote letters, thousands a week, to the Chloe in the painting in the absence of a lover. A sad history of a fascinating painting.

Young & Jackson

The Young and Jackson’s bar is one of the best-rated bars in Melbourne for their good price and service. They also have a rooftop cider bar, but the weather was too cold for a cider and it wasn’t even ten in the morning, so we decided to pass.

Walking past Young and Jackson; we went down to the subway station. There was a coffee stall here, Cup Of Truth, where I bought my first flat white of the day.

These guys are hillarious
These guys were hilarious

What’s interesting about it as there is no fixed price for the coffee; you can pay whatever you think as far. I felt the pressure, because coffee costs less than 1 AUD from where I came from. I gave 4 AUD instead, cheaper than Starbucks’, around 4 cups of coffee from where I came from; after all it’s Australia. It’s a must try people. Grab your coffee here and enjoy some questionable street arts.

Subway Street Art
I saw a real version of this; everyday, everywhere, in the village I grew up

There was a closed store that triggered my interest. From the look of it, you could pay them to publish your booklet here, too bad it was closed so I couldn’t check more about it.

Walking up from the subway station underground, we reached Degraves Street. There were many little shops that sold cutesy stuff. One that I particularly liked called Clementine’s. This place sold handcrafted goods. Including knitted soft toys, porcelain accessories like phone earrings and hot air balloon pins. My favorite item in the store happened to be the local honey. The store manager let us try all the four types of honey sold there. They were delicious. I loved how she talked with so much passion about their local honey. She explained about what’s called rooftop honey. Rooftop honey is harvested from individual hives and is named according to their suburb. The hives located in many areas including Lt Collins St, Rankins Lane, St Kilda, Carlton etc. All display vastly different flavors peculiar to their own suburbs and they were sold in sample tubes. I want!! I liked two out of the four the most and wanted to buy, only to find out that it’s sold out. That’s fine. I will come back here when I visit Melbourne again.


If you are interested in having your own rooftop honey, buy the seeds and start your personal beehives for two bucks. Let me know how it goes?

We then went to the shop opposite of the store and had cupcakes instead before continuing to explore the city.

At some point we got lost and on the way back we saw Bar Americano, one the smallest bars in the world. A cool place you guys. We contemplated stopping by but we were more hungry than thirsty so we decided to come here later at night.


RMB is a casual dining looking place located on the same lane as the little shops above. What pulled me here was the smell of their coffee but since it’s lunch, we decided to have our lunch here. The places looked Italian; at least it gave a European vibe. It was a busy afternoon at the restaurant. I ordered the smoked salmon and it came in perfection. Oh so very yummy! I polished it off within minutes with a glass of white wine. We sat inside, the outside seating was full, and it was not that comfortable, but I would say it’s worth it. I would go again and again to RMB.

We stopped at Koko Black, the Haute Couverture, Royal Arcade. I read about Koko Black from a travel book before (I couldn’t remember the author or the name of the book, will update this portion later) and it has been in my to do list ever since. Koko Black looked posh and busy with too much deliciousness on display.

Koko Black Chocolate

It was hard to choose, I went for a light hot drink called Baby Chocolate. It’s heavenly! A friend chose something with ice cream called Coffee Affogato. I saw a fashionable lady in her eighties sitting by herself enjoying her cocoa. When she saw us she smiled and raised her cup, then she continued enjoying her hot chocolate and people watching from the window. I want to be her in decades from now, to enjoy my cocoa and be nice to annoying tourists.

People, when you visit Melbourne, do stop by at Koko Black. Sit on the brown sofa by the window and enjoy your high chocolate moment.

There were a few other stores I liked at the Royal Arcade.

Spellbox is one of it. This awesome store has every magic in it; love, work, happy house, etc. Who doesn’t need a little magic in their life, even if it comes from a spell or a box?

Another store displayed unique Russia Matryoshka dolls including The Simpsons and Michael Jackson ones.

I have never been to a flea market or a vintage store before. Retrostar was my first. It’s located on Swanston Street but a bit hard to find but my oh my it’s huge with thousand of clothing items. Everyone could find an additional piece in his or her closet. I wanted to get something as well! But my friends were appalled by the concept of second hand. It was not normal for us, from third world countries. They displayed Mickey Mouse watches. These authentic pieces were sold for hundred Aussie bucks. I considered buying one for Hulk since he likes watches but Mickey Mouse, I wasn’t sure, even if I try to convince him by mentioning that it was Robert Langdon’s most priced possession. Also, I didn’t bring that much money. Oh well next time.

Royal Arcade

We then went back to the hotel for a much needed leg rest.

Guys, this is my first ever Travel Tuesday post and I am KRAZY excited about it. I first learnt about it from Belinda from Found Love Now What. It’s a link up hosted by Bonnie, who writes the expat lifestyle blog, A Compass Rose. Thank you ladies! You will be seeing more of travel rambles in the future. Also, fabulous Travel Tuesday icon.

Travel Tuesday

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