Exploring Carlton, Melbourne πŸ‘’

My first official day in Melbourne was super relaxing.

I didn't even go into the city - I just wandered around the suburb of Carlton, which is located directly above the CBD.

I wanted to go to Melbourne to sightsee, certainly. Yet, above all, I just wanted to relax. I am not too fond of the method of travel where you have to squeeze in EVERYTHING in a matter of a few hours or so - I like to linger and enjoy.

It is the allure of being able to do WHAT I want, WHENEVER I want, WHEREVER I want that makes me love solo travelling so much.

There is no need to consider other people's schedules, no need to consider what those people want to do, no need to wait for people to get ready, no need to compromise on what to do. Whatever I feel like doing that day... I just do it πŸ˜‰ (terms and conditions, like not being obscenely rich, applies).

On 20th April 2017, my heart moved me to explore the suburb of Carlton, and so I did.

It's simple, and simply amazing, to get around Melbourne by foot. The sun was shining brightly that day (something I learned would quickly disappear by the very next day itself), I had Google Maps with me, and all I had to do was to walk towards my destination.

Even if I didn't feel like walking, I could always just wait for a tram - oh my gosh I LOVED ❤️ those trams - but Melbourne was a great place to get around on foot. There were wide pavements, the cutest dogs would randomly pass by with their owners, and cars will literally STOP for you to cross the smaller roads.


Coming from a city where most roads don't have a clearly defined pavement, and cars are more prone to run into you than to STOP AND LET YOU CROSS, I really enjoyed this aspect of Melbourne. This is apparently how much I've walked on my first day in Melbourne.

That's about 10 times more than I walk in a day in Kuala Lumpur. πŸ˜Ά

First up in my itinerary was the Melbourne Museum.

This is not the Melbourne Museum.

This is part of the Royal Exhibition Building, which is directly opposite the Melbourne Museum.

Now *I* didn't know that, because this looked more like a museum than the Melbourne Museum (which was more futuristic with ceiling-to-floor glass). I know now that I am a museum-ist, and I expect them to look a certain way.


I spent 5 minutes wondering why a huge bunch of middle-aged women kept going into the "Melbourne Museum", and walked closer to realise there was a Quilt Convention going on inside this building. πŸ˜‚

If only I could have stayed for a month instead of just the one week, because a Dog Lovers Show took place in this building on the 5th of May.

I did, however, see a couple in running gear, and each had one large malamute on a leash as they all leisurely walked around the museum grounds.

Hello #couplegoals. πŸ˜

Eventually I found my way into the Melbourne Museum, and walked around for two hours getting educated, before walking out and promptly forgetting everything I was educated about.

I am a disgrace to my primary and secondary Science teachers. Not that they really cared about me, so I guess it's even.

In the Museum, there was the usual array of exhibitions about dinosaurs, animals, the geography and history of Victoria, and the like. I purposely avoided the bugs exhibition (nope nope nope), but plucked up the courage to go to the "The Human Body" exhibition.

One note of warning: don't simply press any button in this exhibition.

Otherwise, you may suddenly see a lighted-up, extremely graphic illustration of the human stomach from the inside. Ever want to know how your bowels, intestines, and gut look like in lighted-up glory, all pink and slimy? This is the place to go.

Another thing that made my stomach churn (hur hur) was the little snippet of information I read about how all the human body exhibits on display were taken from ACTUAL humans, and preserved for authenticity purposes.


I'm just really glad the whole display on how food looks like in each stage didn't involve actual poop (which is the final stage, as I assume you know).

After such an exciting and educating session about the human body and how we literally turn food into poop in a matter of hours, I finally walked out of the museum...

... to go to Tank Fish and Chips along Lygon Street in Carlton.

Nope, the exhibition didn't put me off completely.

*sighs with happiness*

I ordered the "Old School Fish and Chips", and chewed slowly, savouring each bite. I scrolled through Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest while enjoying the fresh fish, and looking up at intervals to see the lunch crowd come in and out.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what simple happiness is like. πŸŒž

Afterwards, I went back to the Melbourne Museum again, this time for *drumrolls* Lego!

I paid AUD20 (RM70!!!) to see Lego buildings. Sure, they're wonders of the world, like this...

I'm duly amazed that people had the time to make Lego sculptures based on real-world architecture, famous paintings and objects, and events but also...

RM70... for a Lego exhibition.

Yes yes, I know you're not supposed to convert money back to your home currency when you're travelling, but I seriously cannot recommend parting with RM70 for this. It's cool and all, but maybe it'll be even cooler if I earned AUD60,000 a year instead of the amount I do now (not AUD60,000, clearly).

Someone also made a Lego sculpture out of the Tokyo subway system, because why ever the heck not, right?

(I will still stick to my Google Maps in Tokyo when I'm there - all hail GPS!)

After the Lego exhibition in which I took lots of Instagram stories and pictures to make it worth the RM70 price tag, I started meandering around the neighbourhood.

I meandered over to hipster Fitzroy, and somehow found myself here.

The gorgeous St. Patrick's Cathedral.

The surroundings was surprisingly more quiet than I expected. I really liked its Gothic exterior (and interior), and the part I liked most was the cathedral's small pockets of gardens, like this one.

"If he could learn to love another, and earn her love in return by the time the last petal fell, then the spell would be broken. If not, he would be doomed to remain a beast for all time. As the years passed, he fell into despair and lost all hope. For who could ever learn to love a beast?"

I sat out in the gardens for far longer than I did inside the cathedral itself, impressive as it was. It felt less impressive to see the Chinese tourists take pictures inside, especially with Jesus on the cross in their pictures, but you do you, Chinese tourists.

My favourite part of St. Patrick's Cathedral's interior was the stained glass.

Impressive. It also gave me a slight neck crick, as I stood below staring up at it for quite sometime.

It felt more serene outside the building. I sat on a bench near where a steady stream of water kept flowing, and watched birds flap around in that shallow stream.


I fell even more in love ❤️ with Melbourne at that point, for the ability to just sit outside in a quiet garden for half an hour or so, and watch the sky turn from a baby blue to a slightly darker one that is streaked with the rays of the setting sun.

I love autumn.

Once again, I walked all the way back to Carlton again (I definitely burned all the calories from that fish and chips), this time for...

Black Star Pastry Melbourne!

When I was still relatively active on Dayre (hello if you're reading this and you're from Dayre!), I kept seeing all the Australia-based Dayreans rave about Black Star Pastry in Newtown, Sydney.

The strawberry and watermelon cake was THE BOMB, they said. They loved going back to Black Star Pastry to have pastry, they said. It's a must-have, they said.

Then I went on Time Out Melbourne, and saw that Black Star Pastry opened a branch in Melbourne. Specifically, they opened a branch in CARLTON, where I was staying.

Okay then, universe.

I TOOK YOUR SIGN... and it was delicious.

I actually wanted to have more, but at AUD8.50 a slice, I regretfully bade Black Star Pastry and left.

Is it a must-have?

Well, if you're looking for some quiet time, good cake, AND a nice courtyard to sit in, Black Star Pastry Melbourne's not bad.

To cap off my day, I wandered to Woolworths and bought dinner and snacks.

"Ah, I missed this." I thought to myself as I went from aisle to aisle. If you told me ten years ago that I'd miss a grocery store chain, I'd have laughed. Now I'm even missing convenience store food, it's amazing what a decade can do to you.

I'll be back soon, my Japan Family Mart fried chicken!!!

Was my first designated day of leisure indeed leisurely?

Yes, yes it was.

Thank you, Carlton. It was much needed. πŸ°  Thank you for restoring a sense of calm and normalcy to me after months of work with no leave.