It’s Melbourne Cup day today and as the saying goes ‘it’s the race that stops a nation’, and it truly does. Funny as it is, there is probably no worse a time for an amateur punter to think you can back a winning horse in this race, yet every year I throw my hard earned $10 (big spender) away on a horse that I’ve never heard of and wouldn’t know what form looked like if I fell over it anyway! But it’s the fun of thinking what if I actually pick a winner. I always back something paying big odds too because if you’re going to win it might as well be worth it, forget just winning similar money back to what I outlay, it’s go big or go home in my book.
But the race aside, it’s no doubt a good time to see the city of Melbourne too. I’m not usually one for heading to major cities but occasionally I like to be a complete tourist and marvel at soaring shiny buildings and hopefully a few preserved old ones where stunning architecture is on show.
I love the newer buildings that aren’t just concrete rectangles with symmetrical windows but show a few curves and interesting angles and colours. If it’s a city you’re familiar with you know all about the controversial buildings or stories behind them but when you’re visiting you see them with fresh eyes and ideas of what appeals to you or not. Having the luxury of holidaying means there’s no stress or hurry visiting a busy city either. You’re not rushing to get to work or get business done so you can actually stop and appreciate the city skyline and views and let the rush pass you by.
Melbourne certainly has a mix of styles. Some of the buildings I can only afford to view from afar, even the façade looks expensive.
Another standout building is the Forum Theatre on the corner of Flinders Street and Russell Street. It was built in 1929 complete with minarets, a clock tower and gargoyles. I love quirky finds like this. Such juxtaposition to the neighbouring buildings.
The most well-known buildings or areas in Melbourne would have to include Federation Square and Flinders Street train station. Fed Square always has something going on and it’s also the hub of tourist information for Melbourne. It has become so iconic it’s hard to believe it’s only been open since 2002. Recently it was named the 6th best public square of the world. Apart from the public square itself there are cultural institutions, shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. A great spot to sit a while and people watch.
For the best birds eye view of Melbourne head to the Eureka Skydeck. It’s worth the twenty or so dollars to whizz up in a 38 second elevator ride to the 88th floor and get a 360 degree view of Melbourne, quite spectacular and a good way to pinpoint landmarks of where you’ve been or want to go.
In the heart of the city are the laneways full of graffiti and art, shopping to leave the most diehard shopper worn out and cute little tucked away areas to grab a bite to eat.
Don’t miss the Royal Arcade in the Bourke Street Mall, the longest standing arcade in Australia. It’s certainly an interesting design incorporating influences of Italianate style as well as having French and English styles combined. The design of the arcade almost draws attention away from the shops themselves.
The most stand out feature is Gaunt’s clock which has the mythical Gog and Magog on either side of it. Story has it that these figures were guards of the underworld and gods of dark spirits. No sign of darkness in this arcade though with light streaming through the glass panels above.
Next time you visit Melbourne take some time to just sit and take in the look of the skyline and buildings and if you do back a horse in the Melbourne cup here’s hoping it’s a fast one.
What do you want to bet that my money is going on one of these?