Photo Diary: Street Art in Melbourne

I lived in Melbourne for seven years and recently returned for a two-week vacation. It was awesome going back to my beloved spots, wandering through my favourite parks, having breakfast at Tiffany’s on Collins St, sitting on my preferred bench in my secret haven and it will all be on the blog soon but there’s something about Melbourne that I wanted to share first : its Street Art Scene.

Walking through this city’s streets feels like exploring an open-air gallery.  I have always loved art in a dynamic environment, where it’s part of the scenery, where people can see it whether they are rushing to work or just enjoying a romantic stroll. 

One of my favourite pieces of  Melbourne’s street art is located on Faraday St , in Carlton, a lively suburb well-known for its Italian roots: Besides Lygon Street which boasts Italian ristorantes, cafes and gelateria, Carlton is home to a large portion of the Italian community in Melbourne. 

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Located on the walls of Museo Italiano, this 10-metre-high painting by Italian artist Alice Pasquini represents the Italian migration story that shaped Australia. It depicts a dark-haired girl looking hopefully to this new home, with a ship in the background.  I love this piece because it’s so powerful it literally gave me goosebumps.  

Melbourne’s street art is very sassy and thought-provoking, especially when it reflects on current world affairs and pop culture. I was especially fond of the gigantic mural art depicting the most controversial scene in Kanye West’s video clip ‘Famous’ : Taylor Swift laying in bed next to Kimye. 

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This piece by the famous Lushsux is located near Richmond Station and can be seen from the trains, which I think adds a very cool factor to the train ride. You may notice that the characters in the painting are way more covered than in the original version: It’s because it has been censored. #FreeTheNipple

 

SAM_5191Another mural that I found smart and striking is ‘Trump-Tank’  by controversial Melbourne artist and activist Van T. Rudd on Hosier Lane in the CBD.

There are many, many more fabulous street art pieces splashed over Melbourne and I unfortunately couldn’t see them all but here’s a selection of some that I stumbled upon.

Enjoy & let me hear your thoughts in the comments below. 

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TRAVEL DIARY : GETAWAY TO RODRIGUES

We recently returned from Rodrigues, and wow, It was one of the most relaxing getaways that I’ve ever had the chance to enjoy.  I tell you all about where stayed, ate and had fun.
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ACCOMMODATION 

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We stayed at ‘Les Cocotiers’ at Anse aux Anglais, loacated a mere 5-minutes’ drive from Port Mathurin, the capital.
 The hotel has a creole-style architecture, with pavilions bearing light tropical colours.  It faces the sea, has one restaurant, one bar and one swimming pool, all overlooking the lush tropical garden surrounding the premises.  The hotel didn’t have many guests (besides us, there was one other couple when we arrived).  The staff explained that it would fill up as from Thursday afternoon because of the long weekend coming (we arrived on a Tuesday). 
 
WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THE HOTEL 
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  • The room was spacious, clean, nicely decorated and has a balcony which faces the sea.
  • The staff was kind, discreet and extremely helpful.
  • The Food! We stayed for 4 nights, with two nights on half-board and two nights on Bed and Breakfast as we wanted to sample the most of Rodrigues legendary cuisine. What we had for dinner on both occasions were a pure feast and we were not disappointed once by the breakfasts. Dinner was traditional Rodriguan dishes (seafood salad as entrée, rice-based dishes with grain and assorted with curries or ‘daubes’ which were out of this world. Their octopus curry was simply to die for. All of these delights were of course topped with fantastic locally-produced pickles and chilli paste.
  • The location. It is a delicious walk from a seaside spot where locals hang in the afternoons.  There is a kiosk, picnic tables and food trucks. We spent almost every afternoons during our stay there, brought some rosé and enjoyed some ‘gato piments’ and grilled sausages and chicken from onsite food vendors.  No loud music, no kids shouting and running around, just zen individuals minding their own business and enjoying the stunning view and tranquility of the place. Good vibes only. SAM_4522

RESTAURANTS

Rodrigues is truly a foodie’s paradise. The country is rich in locally-sourced ingredients prepared in a spectacular way, ranging from lemon pickles, honey-glazed pork sausages to dried octopus and fresh lobster.  Whether you choose a restaurant, a street food or a hush-hush little guest house, you will always eat something that will rock your world.

Basanio Snack Boutique

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It is located on the main road leading to St Francois. We brought our own rosé and there was a Rs200 corkage fee, and our lunch consisted of fried calamaris, a ‘poussse pousse’ salad (some kind of local seafood), curried octopus and dry octopus rougai. Bassanio himself was uber cool and his food simply amazing.

Madame LaRose

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It’s pretty hard to get more authentic than at Madame Larose: It is a traditional creole house with about thirty Goats roaming around the garden. I am a sucker for outdoor dining and lunch served under the islander-styled, breezy veranda could not have been more spot on.  The waitress could have been less grumpy but besides that, the dishes sent me straight to Rodrigues’ food heaven.
 
 Mazavaroo
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 The place is gorgeous and has typical laid-back, island feel. But, to be honest, I heard so many amazing things about Mazavaroo that I went in there with very high expectations. We had honey-glazed grilled pork as an entrée – delicious. I ordered a fresh tuna ceviche and there were too much onions in it for my liking. Don’t get me wrong: it was good but I just felt that its food’s reputation was a bit overrated. The service was great though.

Le Marlin Bleu

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We went on a Wednesday night whilst all the other restaurants were closed. It was packed, so we were seated inside. It was incredibly hot so we asked to be moved on the terrace as soon as a couple of guests left.  We had a pizza named ‘La Rodriguaise’ (octopus, tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese, Shrimps sautéed with garlic.  Our favourite part of dinner was the lemon tart dessert.
 Note: Most restaurants are closed on Wednesday nights. We drove up to St Francois to have dinner Mazavaroo but it was closed, as were all restaurant along the way. We were obviously aware that we needed to have a reservation to dine at most places in Rodrigues (they sometimes open up their restaurant just for one couple but you need to call first) but Mazavaroo and Madame Larose never picked up their phone when we called, so we tried our luck in vain.  We ended up having dinner at ‘Le Marlin Bleu’ just nearby the hotel.

WHAT WE DID 

Zipline at Tyrodrig

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 I’m a huge adrenaline junkie so this experience was definitely the highlight of my stay.
Super fun with breathtaking views and serviced by a friendly and professional team.

François Leguat Giant Tortoise and Cave Reserve

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Gorgeous garden with giant tortoises walking everywhere, impressive cave and very knowledgeable tour guide.
Ile aux cocos
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Painfully long, overcrowded boat trip to get to and return from this paradisiac island. Beach is gorgeous. We booked through marideal.mu, waited at Pointe Diable for the designated marideal skipper to show up, he took our voucher, didn’t really acknowledge us and almost left without us. He basically puts you in which ever boat which has space left.  When we arrived, there were tables set for lunch on a terrace overlooking the beach but for some reason we were told that our seating place was at the back of the house, a dirty little shack with no view. It was unclear how and why people that came together in the same boat trip had a more pleasant place to lunch. That was a bit frustrating since we did pay quite a lot for this all-inclusive day trip. Since we didn’t want to eat in this shithole, we took our (delicious) lunch to eat on the beach. There was some island tour where the guide explained about the birds but chose to skip that and went for a drink in the crystal clear sea.
Hiking and beaching at Anse Bouteille and Trou D’argent
We left our car at St Francois and hiked to Anse Bouteille and Trou D’argent, which takes around 30 mins.
These beaches were absolutely stunning and the swim just exquisite. 
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