Our post-tennis wanderings around Melbourne, partly due to the public holiday, were dominated largely by the quiet peace of museums, art galleries and libraries. There was nothing particularly innovative about the places we chose to visit (read: within free tram zone of CBD) but I'm learning that not all holidays need to be about fervent exploration, especially when you only have a few days. Sometimes, it's just about soaking up the vibe of the place - and if you're going to engage in the fine arts and culture anywhere in Australia, Melbourne's a pretty solid choice.
I always have to wrestle the urge to take photos of everything I see in a gallery, partly because spotlighting works for the naked eye but rarely so well for the camera lens, and partly because plenty of better quality photos exist and the point of a gallery experience is seeing something with your own eyes - the thrill of being able to see the brushstrokes visible on a work you've seen before, to walk into a high-ceilinged room and be awestruck by the sheer scale of Classical paintings, appreciate the simple minimalism of a curated room, or watch the way the light glides across the smooth, black marble surfaces of sculptures.
That being said, there are some works that you just can't not to take a photo of (there may be a theme as to the type of design objects I'm currently gravitating towards. Just a hunch). When you have Forever Bicycles in a high room, bathed in afternoon ceiling light, there is something to be gained only through the camera lens.
The exhibitions at Melbourne Museum were not necessarily groundbreaking but it's definitely a good way to burn a couple of hours, and escape any oppressive, muggy heat there is out there. It's also open on public holidays (!!!). There was a cloakroom manned by friendly staff and a convenient 'Melbourne Story' exhibition going on, along with a truly gigantic Phar Lap model (or real, taxidermied deal?).
I love that this gigantic, glass-paned complex is found behind the traditional architecture and fancy, past-century interiors of the Exhibition Hall (which we had to peer at through the glass door. Don't travel on public holidays unless absolutely necessary).
It's a pairing that shouldn't work, but somehow does.
We entered with the intention of looking at the famous La Trobe Reading Room and ended up staying until it was time to go to the airport, just relaxing in the quiet, light-drenched atmosphere of this space, with its pleasing symmetry and unreachable shelves of books mounted on the walls. I love our State Library of NSW too, but this is also a place I could see myself actually getting readings done.