Our recent quick trip to Melbourne was considerably marred by the dubious apartment we booked admittedly at short notice and online (always a gamble). Think foetid corridors, the bare minimum appointments for a family of five including one set of towels for the week, the central train line directly behind and trams immediately below and you have part of the sordid picture. The only bonus was the central location which permitted easy strolls back after a day of sight-seeing.
After visting the outstanding Napoleon: Revolution to Empire* exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria during one of its night-time viewings, we stopped to devour gelati along the South Bank. The walk was enchanting in the crisp night air; past strings of sassy restaurants with flame heaters decked outside, strings of lights twined up the street trees and stunning views across the Yarra River to the footbridges and high-rise buildings beyond. So great in fact that we did it twice, although second time around it was much later and we were weary and footsore. As it transpired, we also had to go the casino for icecreams as everything else was shut on a Thursday night! Not quite the buzzing, cosmopolitan city we expected and hardly the appropriate venue for an after-theatre family supper. Did every-one else just go straight home, we wondered.
*Melbourne Winter Masterpeices: Showing 2 June –7 October 2012
Napoleon: Revolution to Empire is a panoramic exhibition examining French art, culture and life from the 1770s to the 1820s. Its story runs from the first French voyages of discovery to Australia during the reign of Louis XV to the end of Napoleon's transforming leadership as first Emperor of France.