No breakfast since it was almost lunchtime anyway, so after purchasing our Claire Hopper tickets for the evening at the town hall box office, we thought we'd try the suggested city walk, and that way we'd find the Aussie-style pub for lunch that they listed in the walk. It was overcast, with only a little spitting mist every so often, not really rain, but otherwise a great day for walking. We started along Collins Street, which is the major shopping boulevard, and we had only gone a couple blocks when I saw a sign for a free pipe organ concert at St Michaels! Of course it was at 1pm, smack in our lunchtime plans, so we kept walking Collins Street. We passed Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Ralph Lauren, and others, but the only places we walked in were chocolatiers, Koko Black, and Haigh's. You can tell where our shopping priorities are! ;)
We came to the end of Collins where we were going to turn to walk down to the river, and it was just after 12:30, so Amy asked if I wanted to go back & see the organ concert. Hooray! We were a little early so looked at the beautiful traditional and modern stained glass, then sat in the back just in case we wanted to sneak out in the middle of the concert. The organ was rebuilt in the 1950s with over 2000 pipes, and has a gorgeous full sound. The organist was an older man, and he did an excellent job of choosing a program with many shorter selections so it kept our interest well. My favorite was called Gargoyles, variation 8 of Urbs Beata Variations for Organ by Alan Spedding, a contemporary composer. That audio is getting ripped for my Halloween pipe organ soundtrack for sure! :)
It was only a 45 minute concert, so we got back on our walking route hoping for a late lunch. We did see plenty of the city in our travels, including the fancy Vegas-style Crown casino, a funny Sherlock Holmes pub, and we found Batman - John Batman "This is the place for a village." ...but "Aussie-style pub the Tavern" was a wild goose chase! We couldn't find it, it wasn't listed in the guidebook anywhere else, the street guides hadn't heard of it, nor had the official information center. The info center guy, who was very chatty and has visited California, which would have been more charming if we weren't completely starving by then, recommended the Mitre Tavern in the bank district, so we headed there.
Of course when we got to the Mitre Tavern about 3:45, the kitchen was closed until 5pm. *sigh* It is actually the oldest pub in Melbourne at 140 years old, their menu sounded really tasty, and they had Bulmer's Irish cider on tap and several microbrews for Amy, so we decided to stay until dinner with a couple pints, and use Amy's big Australia book to plan our road trip. Our time was well spent, working out the best route to see as much as possible and where to find places to stay overnight along the way, then we ordered dinner right at 5pm, just as the place got hopping with bankers in suits after work. Bulmer's is a nice sweet cider, and I had salt & pepper squid, traditional Aussie pub fare. Very tasty, similar to fried clams, breaded but not greasy, and served with a sweet chili sauce. Seeing this was looking to be our only meal of the day, we shared a sticky date pudding with caramel sauce, another traditional Aussie pub item we were told we absolutely had to try, and it was extremely sweet but very tasty. They also had a New Zealand feijoa vodka, so seeing I have my own feijoa tree, I just had to try that! I could taste the feijoa but it was very subtle, Amy thought it was almost minty, and it was quite good just with club soda. I think I have a new concoction to try making this fall when my feijoa are ripe again. :)
We had until 9:30pm for the Claire Hooper show, so we meandered back to the hotel and finished our road trip planning, with me on the laptop with Amy calling since she has an Australian cellphone. We now have one of the cottages at Melaleuca Grove Holiday Units in Mallacoota for Sunday night, and a room with free wifi at the Jervis Bay Motel for Monday, so that's the lodging for the entire trip settled. Whew!
Claire Hooper was very funny, despite the stuffy warm room. Inside the town hall they had converted meeting rooms into mini theatres by draping heavy black curtains around the whole room & adding sound system & stage lights. Good thing we bought our tickets earlier, since it was sold out. Glad it was a good show, since I was so warm I was actually getting a little queasy by the end! Afterwards we both had a craving, so we found a chocolate shop with excellent milkshakes and called it a night. We had a lovely day in Melbourne, but we'll be on our way east tomorrow!