Saturday, June 09, 2012

Hidden in the laneways

Australia is a small country and yet there are still distinct cultural differences between the regions.  Going to Melbourne provides a nice change from the superficial obsessions of Sydney.  It's by no means innocent of being superficial, but the mood is definitely more alternative.  There is a darker approach to dress and far less skin on show than in Sydney.

Melbourne is also far more well known for its cafes than Sydney.  To be more specific, Melbourne is more famous for both its cafes and the unique locations of these cafes.

Melbourne has "laneways" that have become one of the greatest selling points of the city.  The unique design of the city provided its CBD with numerous small alleys and streets that have been utilised by city planners as perfect locations for small shops, restaurants and cafes.  These laneways are intimate settings full of life and a busy atmosphere that belies the more relaxed impression that Australia generally gives.

They are kind of fantastic.
I was sitting with a friend on Degraves St, one of the more famous of the laneways having breakfast on a cold and wet winter's morning in Melbourne.  It was busy and noisy.  There was a constant flow of people moving through the street which I love.
These streets reinforced my firm view that Melbourne is a better winter city than Sydney.  In Sydney, winter often feels like a time that is merely spent waiting for summer.  In Melbourne, there is a real culture that is made for social life in the colder months.

The life of these streets is hard to pass up.  They are one of the best parts of Melbourne and of Australia as a whole.  I only wish that there was something comparable in Sydney (particularly when it gets cold).

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