Sights of opulence and decrepitude

sightseeing in MelbourneAlthough I only had one week in Melbourne, I wanted to see as much of the city as possible, from the good to the bad, the glamourous to the vile. I like getting right into the city, getting to know both of its faces, even if some of the things I see are not pretty. Every city has these two sides to it, the rich and the poor, the proper and the depraved – and I think experiencing both is the only way to travel. How else are you going to get to truly know a place?

Sure, sightseeing in Melbourne is a lot of fun when you go to all of the famous places. But how about the infamous? Take a tour through Melbourne’s most luxurious suburbs of Toorak and Prahan, spot heritage mansions of the rich and famous, and stroll through elite schools and universities. Then when you’ve had your fill of wine and cheese and sparkling wine, get off the beaten asphalt and into the grungier parts of town. The city has its back alleys and dives. It may seem ironic but it’s places like these where the city’s culture has its inception. Take the suburb of Fitzroy, which was the one-time crime capital of the state. Now the graffiti on the walls and bohemian haunts add millions in value to the properties in the area.

City sightseeing around Melbourne has been a lot of fun during our stay here. I particularly enjoyed Victoria Market, which I learned was once a cemetery and still has bodies under the ground – the bodies of the non-Christians which the state didn’t bother to exhume when moving the graveyard to Parkville. And then there’s Lygon Street, where the mafia lords hang out and imagine themselves as mini Marlon Brandos. It’s these insider secrets that give the city its character.

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