Tag Archives: drink

4 Things To Do On A Sunday in Melbourne, Australia

We’ve been back in Melbourne, Australia for a week now, so it was definitely time for one of our favourite pursuits — a day out and about in the city for a few hours of food and culture. Seriously, Melbourne is such a vibrant city that even if it is a gray-sky and gloomy day, if you are bored — you just need to get up and get OUT of the house!

 

Glistening even on a gloomy autumn day, a partial skyline view of Melbourne, Australia across the Yarra River from Southgate.

Glistening even on a gloomy autumn day, a partial skyline view of Melbourne, Australia across the Yarra River from Southgate.


 

Here are 4 things to do on a Sunday in Melbourne.

1. Arrive at your destination without the hassle of finding an overpriced parking place if you travel by train for an easy way around the city. The comprehensive train network makes Melbourne such a joy to travel throughout!

 

Turnstiles inside the Flinders Street Station in Melbourne, Australia

Turnstiles inside the Flinders Street Station in Melbourne, Australia


 

2. Eat a reasonably priced lunch in an eclectic food court inside a beautiful building at Southgate. There are also some wonderful luxury stores and full service restaurants in this multi-level building complex.

 

One of the multi-level entries to the Southgate shopping & dining complex alongside the Yarra River in Melbourne, Australia

One of the multi-level entries to the Southgate shopping & dining complex alongside the Yarra River in Melbourne, Australia


 
Diners at the food court on the lower level of the Southgate shopping and dining complex in Melbourne, Australia

Diners at the food court on the lower level of the Southgate shopping and dining complex in Melbourne, Australia


 

3. Go to the Sunday Market at the Melbourne Arts Centre to see quality handcrafted art, craft, and food items. The row of glass-overhang-covered artists has an enthusiastic audience each weekend.

 

Sunday Market flag indicating the weekend event outside the Melbourne Arts Centre in Australia

Sunday Market flag indicating the weekend event outside the Melbourne Arts Centre in Australia


 
Artists and craft vendors lined up alongside the Melbourne Arts Centre each Sunday

Artists and craft vendors lined up alongside the Melbourne Arts Centre each Sunday


 

4. Spend an inspiring afternoon at a world class museum — the NGV on St. Kilda Road. There were hundreds of people milling around inside this large art museum, but there was a very happy and relaxed vibe. Autumn leaves were swirling around outside of the beautiful bluestone facade and the people strolling by were dressed appropriately for the cooler temperatures.

 

Autumn leaves falling outside the NGV art museum in Melbourne, Australia

Autumn leaves falling outside the NGV art museum in Melbourne, Australia


 
The current winter blockbuster show at the NGB is Monet’s Garden, a travelling exhibit from France. But since we have seen so many of these works at various venues worldwide, we chose to visit several of the permanent exhibit galleries as well as one special exhibit — Dior and Yamamoto: The New Look

 

Dior sketches from the 1940s post-World War II "New Look" collection

Dior sketches from the 1940s post-World War II “New Look” collection


 
Dior black wasp-waisted dress and black hat from the 1940s post-World War II "New Look" collection

Dior black wasp-waisted dress and black hat from the 1940s post-World War II “New Look” collection


 

The other enjoyable exhibit, in part as an observer of the effect of it on the audience as they either walked by or interacted with it, was Clinamen by Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, a sound and motion exhibit with round white ceramic bowls floating in a round pool of deep blue water. The gentle clink as bowl contacted bowl tinkled pleasantly in the atrium space.

 

Floating ceramic bowls in a pool of water at the NGV art museum in Melbourne, Australia create a ringing sound as each one gently bumps into an adjoining bowl

Floating ceramic bowls in a pool of water at the NGV art museum in Melbourne, Australia create a ringing sound as each bowl gently bumps into an adjoining bowl.


 

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Barcelona Market Shopping At Night

Photos of the day for today are from the huge enclosed market — the Boqueria Market — which was dedicated in the mid-1800s and which is easily accessed from the wide and tree-lined pedestrian walkway of La Rambla.

We had a pleasant stroll though this market and took a small packet of chocolate truffles back to our apartment. It was quite a happy and lively atmosphere and I was surprised to see just how many people were out at night buying their fruit, vegetables, and all other manner of food products.

 

Cut fruit dealer at the Boqueria Market in Barcelona, Spain


 

Happy night-time shoppers in the Boqueria Market in Barcelona, Spain


 

 

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On The Verge Of Christmas in France

We weren’t certain what to expect at the St. Girons Christmas Fair on Sunday, but we headed across the bridge to see what was unfolding.
 

Headed to the Christmas Fair in St. Girons


 
Oh my — it was all rather underwhelming. I had been hoping for something along the line of the amazing Christmas markets that I had been to in Germany. But the folksy fair was a very accurate portrayal of the fact that France is generally not the same kind of consumerist society that we have lived amongst in Australia, the UK, or the USA. It seems that the holiday season here is more about families gathered around the table to enjoy food, drink, conversation, and company than about how many gifts are under the tree for each person. And isn’t that charming!

Here are a few pictures from Sunday’s Christmas Fair — followed by a few more from the previous day’s weekly Saturday market. That actually would have been a good place to purchase last-minute Christmas gifts since there were some splendid items for sale at very fair prices.
 

Christmas balloon seller in St. Girons, France


 

Carnival-style booth at the Christmas Fair in St. Girons


 

Hand-cast candles for sale at the Christmas Fair in St. Girons


 

Food sales benefiting the Autrefois le Couserons association


 

Christmas quiche seller at the weekend market in St. Girons, Midi-Pyrenees, France


 

Market stall selling straw goods in St. Girons, France


 

Happy Holidays to one and all!!!

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Dali Dreaming

Where did the last 21 days go? I am sitting in my darling apartment in the South of France and as I edit photos, I have just realised that it has been 3 weeks since I took these pictures in the Dali Museum in Figueres, Spain.

The center atrium (more shots in an upcoming article) has the type of feature that reveals the wildly humorous streak which infused Salvadore Dali’s work. A gigantic sculpture of a goddess figure is riding atop a vintage black Cadillac beneath a stunning eye to the sky opening. It is actually breathtaking because it knocks your visual senses off-kilter.
 

A massive statue of a goddess rides atop the roof of a vintage black Cadillac at the Dali Museum in Figueres, Spain.


 

An oculus or eye to the sky hovers above the atrium sculpture garden in Salvadore Dali’s museum in Figueres, Spain.


 

We’re already thinking of our next trip to Spain — but for now, here was how we spent an hour before we went to see the Dali works of art.
 

Mark pouring a glass of wine at lunch in Figueres, Spain.


 

Make sure to come back for more interior and exterior views of the Dali Museum in the coming days.

 

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Barcelona Nights Out: Photo of the Day – Shoppers and Diners

In contrast to our own home town here in the South of France which practically rolls up the sidewalks on weeknights, you certainly can’t say that about a weeknight in Barcelona!

The photo below was taken on the very busy Passeig de Gracia at night. Note the happy women taking a break on the bench surrounded by all of their shopping bags as other people continue to stream by.
 

Two unidentified women rest on a bench as people walk by at night on the busy shopping district in Passeig de Gracia in Barcelona, Spain.


 
Strolling, laughing, running into friends, people are definitely out an about and not racing to get home and sit behind closed doors.
 

Happy Barcelona, Spain citizens out and about on a week night on Passeig de Gracia


 
And in this photo, people are just beginning to think about going out to dinner and filling up the tables at the very early hour of 8:30 PM.
 

Diners begin to slowly fill the tables of a sidewalk cafe in Barcelona, Spain.


 
We found an upscale ‘toy store’ for grownups called Vincon that carried everything from fabbo art and office supplies to a stunning array of kitchen goods. I had what we called (in Deb and Mark verbal shorthand) ‘a tile store moment’ when there was actually so much in that store that I didn’t know where to look first! I managed to get some shots that weren’t filled with people (and trust me, that was quite difficult), but the store was absolutely packed. At the front entry there were a row of waiting room style chairs for the people who were sitting and patiently waiting for someone else to finish shopping so they could go home.
 

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1-Vincon exterior
2-Pantone Display
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5-Kitchenish
6-Waiting While They Shop
1-Vincon exterior
2-Pantone Display
3-Moleskin Display
4-Bialetti Bonanza
5-Kitchenish
6-Waiting While They Shop


 
Barcelona is an amazingly vibrant city and I can’t wait to go back!

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©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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A Night In Nantes

A night in Nantes was part of our three day drive through France, but since it was simply a stopover and there was no time for exploration, we mainly saw the inside of our apartment hotel and the restaurant where we ate a rather bland but far-too-salty faux-Italian dinner.
 

Italian dining 'experience' in Nantes, France


 
But what WAS a humorous side note was the discovery of a popular Thursday night hang-out in the “Atlantis” area of Nantes — a huge restaurant and bar complex complete with a nightclub area, a large pool hall, and a massive bowling alley — all under one massive roof! And I have just realised that I will need to add search-engine ‘tags’ to this story that cover music, entertainment, food and drink, humour, and sports. Cool!
 

Moody blue cocktail bar in Nantes, France


 

Cocktail hour in Nantes, France with Salsa classes in the background


 

Pool tables at the Bowl Center in Nantes, France


 
We’ve lived and worked in various parts of France, mainly Normandy, for 9 months out of our 16 months on the road. Traditional cafes and bistros have been a familiar part of each segment of the four places we have lived in Normandy. But frankly, this glossy and contemporary style of venue was a side of French social life that we had never seen. The crowds inside the bars, restaurants, and the bowling alley itself were a range of ages from twenties through fifties and it was a relaxed and happy bunch.
 

Bowling in Nantes, France


 

Bodega Bar inside the Bowling Center at Nantes, France


 
Mark told me to “look to the right” as we strode up the polished concrete ramp to the slightly elevated 2nd level and we saw a clump of people following along with a dance instructor. Dance classes, too? I thought it was some kind of country line dancing, but it soon became apparent from the swishing of the hips that we were watching something with a distinctly South American feel. We had arrived on Salsa Night!
 

Small poster for free salsa classes on Thursday nights in Nantes, France


 
I asked Mark to go back out to the car and get one of the cameras and while he was gone, a handsome 50-ish Frenchman came up and asked me if I would like to dance. Let’s be honest, I’m improving a bit every week, but my fractured French is still rather pathetic. However, I managed to reply, “Non, merci. Mon mari est avec l’automobile et il retournez dans cinq minutes!” (No thank you. My husband is out at the car and he’ll be back in five minutes.) And then I stood there feeling quite flustered because it had been awhile since someone tried to pick me up! He smiled broadly when he heard my accent, nodded sweetly, and said goodbye. Whew!

Just thought you’d like a wee glimpse into a bit of suburban French night life. And up next? On to the Atlantic seaside!

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