We got off the tour bus close to the Bourke Street Mall (Hahahaha, I really thought that it is a real shopping mall building!) and went with a different tour guide who specialises in the Arcades tour. We were told it would be a walking tour around the arcades and lanes. Oh well, no arguments from me.....I love window shopping!
First on the list was the beautifully maintained "Royal Arcade", built in 1869 but recently refurbished but made to ensure it remains authentic with its Victoria era past. The arcade has been a fixture in the Golden Mile Heritage Walk.
I love the high ceilings which gives off natural lighting, the shops as well are very understated and elegant. The guide stopped at the Gaunt Clock which chimes every hour and these 2 mythical figures are, Gog and Magog placed on both sides. I really don't know the story (as I was busy with my window shopping) about these two coz I heard only the last bit of the guide's explanation.
With the most tempting (and a popular "second look") --- the pastry display from the Hopetoun Tea Rooms at the next Block Arcade, which really looks yummy!
We continued on to another arcade and then several small alleyways/laneways which is typically crammed with small cafes (some are literally, hole-in-the-wall type of cafes that I really love), chairs and tables strewn outside, the smell of coffee wafting through the air with groups of friends lazily chatting through as if they don't have jobs or classes to go back to. The cafe culture here in Melbourne is taken really seriously, judging from the packed seats in all the cafes we passed by.
I just love it! The atmosphere is so great!
The walls are covered in artsy graffiti, there was an occasional singer or artist either playing a flute or a violin. I wish I can just stay here and have my cup of cappuccino and just soak in the vibe!
We stopped off in Degraves Street, since we opted for the Grand Tour which is a full day tour we have to go back again to the Grayline office in Federation Square after lunch to continue with our tour.