National Gallery of Victoria

Kaws at NGV International

Today I am visiting museums – specifically a visit to the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). There are two locations of NGV in Melbourne, The Ian Potter Centre (Australian art) and NGV International (extensive collection of international art). Note: The international location is temporarily closed as of time of this post.

I first stop at the The Ian Potter Centre since it is on the way for my walk to the NGV International. I catch the free exhibit by Lucy McRae, an Australian artist.

Nearby the The Ian Potter Centre
Nearby the The Ian Potter Centre

Lucy McRae: Body Architect

I watch a short film by the artist:

Institute of Isolation, 2016, is an observational documentary that contemplates whether isolation, or extreme experience, might be used to build human resilience in the context of space travel and off-planetary existence. McRae ponders: what happens to people when they are travelling for decades in a very, very small space? What will the body and mind need to endure and how will people prepare? – From NGV website

The artist’s main inspiration of her art is the question How will technology transform the body?

The museum exhibit contains videos and photographs that show her thoughts on body and technology.

I skip the other galleries at the Ian Potter NGV because there are special exhibits at the other museum that have timed and limited entry.

NGV International

Artwork by Kaws and Keith Haring

The theme today is NYC -> coincidently the city I recently moved away from. The artists featured in the premium exhibitions are from NYC.

The first exhibit I visit is KAWS: COMPANIONSHIP IN THE AGE OF LONELINESS.

I love his take on pop culture personalities.

Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines

The next special ticket exhibit is the Haring and Basquiat combination gallery. The museum highlights a number of works from both artists; both were prominent in the art world during the same period. I have seen pieces from both artists at museums around the world but this is the largest collection I have seen from both artists thus far.

Keith Haring

Jean-Michel Basquiat

After I finish my viewing of the NYC artists I move on to some other exhibits while time allows. Normally I am not interested in fashion but the fashion exhibit below pulls me in.

Comme des Garçons by Rei Kawakubo

I also watch another art film but this time by Iranian artist Shirin Neshat.

Dreamers

I see some rooms with other collections: Picasso and such. However I am especially drawn to the animal art in the NGV Salon. The salon holds interesting 19th century artwork. Unfortunately I have to discover these rooms quickly because the museum is closing. I hope to return someday to get a closer look at the artwork.

After the museum closes I wander around the nearby Arts Center where I order a cocktail and get a snack. Museum days wear me out so I head back to my part of town sooner than later.

I take a different tram back to Collingwood today. It drops me off near a brewery called Stomping Ground Brewery & Beer Hall where I try a couple beers before settling in for the evening.

Melbourne Street Art

It is boxing day in Melbourne (what Aussies, Kiwis and British call the day after Christmas).

My Christmas Day yesterday was I spent mostly inside eating and watching movies. I like to celebrate my holidays the lazy way.

Today I decide to go for a tourist walk around town.

I start at the nearby park Fitzroy Gardens. I am obsessed with the beautiful purple flower trees – Jacaranda I believe.

Earlier I downloaded tourist walking tours. I use the maps to wander around town.

Princess Theatre: Now contains Harry Potter

Tattersalls Lane

It is the day after Christmas and shoppers are lined up around the block waiting for who knows what.

More artwork

Presgrave Place

Centre Place

Stopped for lunch at a cafe down a funky street (Eliana Lulu).

I could not resist these doughnuts. I picked up one for later.

Hosier Lane

AC/DC Lane

AC/DC Lane, named after the famous rock group, is one of the most popular tourist spots in town. Here you find street art mostly music related.

Strachan Lane

Finally I finish out the day at Strachan Lane where there is some more rock art as well as Alice in Wonderland themed art. I am heading back toward my apartment so I decide it is a good time to call it the day. Besides I have a very good looking doughnut just waiting to be eaten.

Another great day completed in Melbourne!

Melbourne Australia

View from my rental apartment

I have arrived in Melbourne Australia – a city I am really digging. The temperature is perfect and the vibe reminds me of a low-rise New York city. I think I could possibly live here some day.

I arrive at the airport and take the skybus to Southern Cross station. I take an uber from there to my airbnb.

Melbourne Airbnb

I plan to stay in Melbourne for a full week including Christmas so I wanted to get a hometown feel instead of staying in a hotel or hostel. I chose the funky neighborhood of Collingwood to stay in an Airbnb studio. The owner is an Australian artist now based out of the UK. Her specialty is imaginative collages. You can find her artwork at Collagism. Her artwork and interesting sense of style can be seen in the apartment.

I love having a “home” for the week. There are some poor neglected plants on the porch that I nurse the week I am there, giving me some sort of normalcy during my travels. Collingwood is a funky but sleepy neighborhood, I think it probably got hit by a recession in the area since it seems many places have closed nearby. There are still enough places in the neighborhood to keep me satisfied and it is nice to not stay in the middle of a tourist district. Collingwood is in walking distance to some town highlights and once I figure out the trams it isn’t hard to get to where all the important sites are.

I head out to meet with another travel buddy whom I met on my Jordan tour in September. Melbourne is her hometown and she has some spare time before the holidays to meet with me tonight. We met at a lively café on the river for a snack and and a cocktail. She has to work tomorrow so we don’t stay out late.

Once again I am very thankful once again I get to meet so many great people during my travels.

After walking my friend to the train I wander around town looking at holiday lights. The Christmas holiday is in two days so Melbourne is full of color.

When it is time to head back I couldn’t quite figure out tram in the evening so just took UBER back. Luckily by the next day I had it figured out.

I am loving the nighttime view from my apartment.

Christmas Eve

Today is Christmas Eve. If the holiday is anything like in the USA then most things will be shutdown tomorrow. I head to the grocery store to stock up on goodies for tomorrow – including Meredith Dairy Goat Feta which I am addicted to.

Coincidently a friend from high school is in Melbourne at the same time as I. She is stopping in Melbourne to meet some of her clients before she heads off to her honeymoon in Fiji. I meet up with her and her lovely husband for a day of fun. (Interestingly enough we both lived in NYC at the same time for about 4 years and for some reason we were never able to meet up. It took traveling to Australia to see each other again!)

We meet up for brunch. So many times I dine alone and most of the time I don’t mind being on my own but it is very nice to have company, especially around the holidays.

Then we head off to our river cruise down the Yarra River.

I almost wear this to my river cruise today. My apartment has fun props.
Cruise boat

We stand up in the back. There is clearance for us to stand under most bridges but at least one makes us duck down.

Our cruise drops us off at Williamstown where we explore a little bit. Williamstown is Melbourne’s first port settlement. There are stores and cafes. We settle on a outdoor seating area and chat for a while. When it is the scheduled time for our return trip we head back to the port to catch the return journey.

The fun isn’t over when we return to Melbourne city. We decide to try it out at a roof top bar for a little while. We don’t stay too long though. Each one of us seems to want to get back to our lodging for the rest of the evening (something typical for us 40 somethings). Besides it has been a long day!

This is the kind of joint we are at
Rooftop cocktails

Finally figured out the tram system and I wander back to my apartment just in time for this glorious sunset.

Tomorrow is Christmas and I have no plans. I plan to eat and relax all day long….

Adelaide, South Australia

I leave Victor Harbor and head north towards Adelaide. The drive seems to start off fine but soon I see areas off into the distance with what I think is dark cloud cover but I find out is actually smoke clouds. I double check the news to see that I am not taking myself into harms way; it appears I am not at this time.

I drive down two lane curvy roads past many wineries. I am feeling disappointing I did not include this region, McLaren Vale, in my travel plans. It is a beautiful area and I am sure the wines aren’t too terrible either. I’ll be sure to try some of the region’s wines later in my travels.

I finally arrive in Adelaide. It is a nice quiet city. The downtown isn’t too large and I don’t find it too hard to navigate around. I do get a little confused on where to drop off my rental car but I eventually figure that out. I am a couple hours late in my return which could trigger me to have to pay for an additional day. Fortunately I am given a reprieve. Adelaide already seems like it has a small-town friendly presence.

Prior to dropping off my rental car I left my bags off already at the hotel at luggage storage. Now I have an opportunity to wander and walk back to my hotel.

I find some street shopping where I walk around and browse. There is also an outdoor seating area where I grab a beer and get something to eat.

My hotel is close to a shopping street. It is quiet this evening but it gets busier the next day with shoppers getting in last minute Christmas shopping.

I wake up early and go out to breakfast and get some delicious pancakes at The Original Pancake Kitchen. I think my hotel normally has breakfast included but the hotel restaurant is under renovations.

After breakfast I go back to the hotel to sort through and pack my bag since I have a flight tomorrow. I am back to living out of my bag again. It was nice to have a week reprieve of having to stress about correctly packing everything into my bag.

In the afternoon I meet up with a new friend I made in September while traveling to Egypt. Adelaide is her hometown. We grab some coffees and she gives me a tour of the town. She shows me her beautiful university and we take a walk in a lovely park. It is nice to catch up.

We stop for sushi and also have time for a glass of wine on a terrace.

I love meeting good people on my travels. Sometimes it is hard for me to come out of my shell and talk to new people but I am rewarded when I do.

She has evening plans so I stroll the town in the evening. As the night goes on the streets get lively. I see groups of young men traveling about in what seems like stag nights and birthday celebrations.

I think about seeing a movie but end up going back to my hotel to make sure I am prepared for my next journey.

I wake up next day to smell of smoke that has penetrated my hotel room. I start to really notice the fires now.

View from my hotel window. It is hard to tell but it is smoky.

My friend has to work today but is able to meet me for breakfast and coffee since I have some time to kill before my flight. I am so glad I met her months earlier in Egypt.

Now on to Melbourne where I am spending the week, including Christmas.

The Heat is On, Australia style

Victor Harbor, South Australia

I am leaving Coonawarra after my semi-successful wine and camping time there.

I am heading to the caves nearby at Naracoorte Caves National Park, a world heritage site with a very old fossil history.

Mother nature has other plans for me. Naracoorte Caves is closed due to wildfire risk.

It is starting to get scary in Australia. Thus far this is the closest I’ve been to the fire risk but soon I will be heading to Melbourne and Sydney where the fires are much worse nearby.

Here is the current map:

December 2019 fire map. I am currently in South Australia.

I do see a roadside kangaroo.

Since the caves are closed I decide to move forward to my next destination for the night, Victor Harbor.

I make a pit stop along the way and notice some nice art and mosaics.

Today is another day of watching the tempatures slowly rise as I travel on. At one point it gets to 48 C (118 F). I believe this is the hottest I have ever felt. Thank goodness the air conditioning in my rental car works.

Victor Harbor

After I arrive to Victor Harbor the temperature starts to lower quickly by almost 30 F and the wind starts to pick up.

I am staying at the Hotel Victor, a hotel right by the water.

Temperature when I arrive.

I chose Victor Harbor as a stop on my way to my final destination of Adelaide. It is advertised as a charming old-style town. There is supposed to be Horse Drawn Tram but it seems I again am visiting off season since it is not in operation during my visit. The wind is too strong so I avoid trying to view wildlife, which seems to be the biggest attraction in the area. (see video below)

I do walk down by the water and appreciate the views and birds.

The wind gets stronger. I try to capture it in the video below.

I head to dinner at Nino’s of Victor Harbor. I am happy I can order a side of vegetables. It sometimes is so hard to eat healthier on the road so I do the little bit I can.

I only stay the night so don’t have much time to visit some of the other town’s attractions like the nearby Granite Island. Perhaps I’ll be able to visit again someday.