Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My Melbourne wanderings - Abbotsford Convent Twilight Market

We are back in Sydney now, but this is the first chance I have had to share one of my Melbourne field trips. While staying with my sister last week, Husband and I left Miss M for an evening playing Skylanders with her cousins, and went off to visit the Abbotsford Convent twilight market.

It was a huge stretch to call this event a market - there was only a smattering of stalls selling soaps, licorice, herbs and pure wool creations. But outside of the stalls there was food (glorious food!) being sold everywhere. As soon as we parked I regretted eating dinner before we left the house. The smells were fabulous, gozleme, woodfire pizza, breads, a little restaurant type with plated meals, another little stand of nondesript foods....mmm it was all yummy.
What hit me straight away though was the amount of people considering the lack of actual market. There were people everywhere, sprawled on the grass all over the grounds, drinking wine, chatting with friends, laying down, listening to music, using their ipads on the free wifi (at a convent!) and just generally hanging out.

After dragging Husband all over the grounds which are just BEAUTIFUL, I was determined to get in on the cool people parade and flop on the grass with something to eat and drink. Hubby wouldn't let me buy a pizza since we had already eaten so I shrugged and ordered one of the yummiest lattes and a pot of gelato instead from the convent bakery. I was intrigued by the coffee's from different countries on display, but the place was frantic, everyone else knew the languange and was dressed cooler than me (jeans and a shirt when everyone else is in flowwy dresses or spunky tops) so I didn't want to show my ignorance and just stuck to a safe latte. Someone else try the Ethiopian or Mexican coffee if you are ever there and write a review for me!

Theres also a bar that you can buy basic alcoholic drinks from too, so for an evening of cheap eat and drinks, along with good music and a fun atmosphere, its definately worth the trip. Street parking was available for free, but we chose to park in the lot across the road for $4 for unlimited parking rather than stalk people for a spot.

Despite expecting to see Maria Von Trapp floating around the countryside there was no sign of a nun anywhere. When I checked out the website in hindsight it turns out they are a secular site these days, so that explains the lack of nuns.

Hanging on the green
Let me say it before you do - my husband looks a complete tourist. (Or bogan, depends on your point of view). Doofus put all his shirts in the wash at my sisters and didn't get around to hanging them out, so when I told him we were heading to the convent he was stuck with the I heart NY shirt that he sleeps in. I thought it was a garden variety market though so I didn't care.
My suggested dress code? Dress for a casual dinner date. There were kids there dressed better than us for crying out loud.
We might wander back again next time we are in Melbourne, it was a great little pit stop and next time we will show up with empty bellies to take better advantage.
Lolly tries out gelato
We didn't end up making it to Adventure Park Geelong while I was there - jealous though, there seem to be a bunch of bloggers that were there on a sponsored trip and you make it look so much fun. I'll have to convince my sister that the kids need to check it out next time. It was the price that put us off this time.
Any other seriously awesome markets (real markets please!) that Melbournites can point me at for my next visit? Preferably East/South East of Melbourne within an hours drive.

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