This past weekend my roommates and I travelled to Melbourne in Victoria to see another aspect of the country. We were pleasantly surprised by how different a city so close to Sydney could be. We arrived on Friday morning. I have family in Melbourne so Katie and I were able to get shown around the city by people who knew what they were talking about, which was useful considering we only had two days in the city due to our work schedules. We went to the Queen Victoria Markets which are enormous outdoor markets where you can buy almost anything. There is a produce half and a retail half. The retail half was amazingly cheap and we picked up some souvenirs for our family and friends back home. Then my family came to meet us and we went into some of the suburbs of Melbourne and saw what they were like. Each house was very different and the architecture was really interesting. It was much more European than we were used to. We then went to Eureka tower which contains a sky deck where you can view the entire city of Melbourne. From 88 floors up, we were at the highest point in Melbourne and saw the city from one of the coolest vantage points possible. We then went to the Shrine of Remembrance. Not only cool because of the history it represents and what it honors, the shrine has one of the coolest views of the city as well. There is a law that no building or structure can block the view of the shrine at any point. Therefore, from the shrine you can see a straight shot right through the city. The next day my family decided to take us to an area called Oakleigh, which is basically the Greek centre of the city. It was really cool getting to see this from a cultural perspective. Melbourne, which I did not know before, is the third most populated area with Greek people, and the most populated outside of the country of Greece. My cousin took us to a Greek Bakery called Niko’s where I was able to have all the pastries I have not had since I was little kid. Katie and I had triopita, spanakopita, galaktoboureko, baklava and loukoumades which are my favorites so I was happy. We then went through some other areas of Melbourne. We went to the Hellenic Greek Museum which my family actually has donated some stuff to over the course of their travels to and from Greece. Additionally, we went to St. Kilda’s and saw Port Melbourne. She then took me by the Italian Area of the city because she wanted to make sure I saw both sides of my culture (you can tell culture was very important to her). My cousin then dropped us off at the Art Museum. This had a really cool stain glass ceiling. Then we walked to St. Pauls Cathedral and went to Hosier Lane. Hosier Lane is basically an alley way where graffiti is allowed so some really cool pictures appear in the alley. After that we did some shopping. It was an exhausting weekend but it quickly became one of our favorites. We only wish we were able to stay longer.
Seeing how many different cultures lived in Melbourne, I wanted to look more into how the city became to be so diverse. I focused mostly on how the Greeks and Italians ended up there though because they were more important to me. Greeks started Migrating to Melbourne in 1827, but the majority of it happened between 1945 and 1982. The area I talked about earlier that my cousin took me to, Oakleigh, began to become apparent in the 1930s. It is where the Festival of the Antipodes, held every March, takes place. It has rich Greek culture due to the fact that it became what is by all immigrants who moved to Australia.
The Italians came to Melbourne in the 1920s to 1950s. They resided in Carlton, which is where majority still reside today. Lygon Street, that my cousin took Katie and I through, is the most popular section of this area, proving that it is still there today. The street is actually known for introducing the city’s first espresso machine, which started a chain reaction leading to the city’s love for coffee that it has today. Every October, Lygon Street has an annual event called Festa that celebrates the city’s Italian Heritage. It has an Italian waiters’ race and spaghetti eating contest.
Melbourne proved to be a city rich in culture (not just mine even though that’s what I focused on), and definitely a city I will be coming back to at some point in my life.
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