Friday, March 9, 2012

Melbourne, Street Art Showcase

A city with an appreciation for art and an Aussie sense of humor - an unbeatable combination.

My last time through Australia in 2007, I missed Melbourne. I’ve always heard nothing but the most positive comments about the city, so I decided this was the time to visit.

(photo from the Royal Botanical Gardens)

Well, popular opinion was right. Melbourne is awesome. Beautiful, artsy, and easy to navigate. I’d add other attributes like “clean, full of sparklingly well-maintained public bathrooms, with – get this - a blue sky above. Everyday.”, but I think these are true of a great many major cities outside of the east coast of China. I could also add friendly, but from my experience that’s a given in Australia.

One of the most distinctive features of Melbourne is its street art scene. There is street art everywhere, and lots of maps, apps, and tours to help you seek out the most distinctive pieces. I even saw many street art pieces on the walls of alleyways which incorporated material beyond just paint. Though I adored creations like wide-eyed owls made out of recycled tin cans, nothing beat the overt power of “Materials”:

While I was there, a “Yard Bombing" project was just beginning. It's a whimsical, non-permanent form of street art.

Melbourne, being a coastal city, also has some nice beaches, but – as you’ll see from my next post – they’re rather boring compared to the coast just south of the city.

Some tennis fans among you may have figured out that I was probably in Melbourne for the Australia Open. I was, but not being a tennis fan, this didn’t mean much for me except that hotel rooms were pricier and harder to come by. The final men's singles match was meant to be incredible though, and if I hadn’t been in mid-air/clearing customs at the time, I may have actually watched an hour or two of the marathon match.

Next stop, the Great Ocean Road.