Saturday, January 8, 2011

Iced Tea in St. Kilda

It has been a scorcher here in central Melbourne for the past couple of days, and to take advantage of the sun at a proper place, Steve and I headed to the beach!  After a day+ of trekking around the city hitting up parks, rooftop bars, and other people-watching locales (I’ll not overfeed our dear readers and provide too much “first we did this, then we did this” vignettes), we hopped on bikes to head to the water in the area of St. Kilda where big trees, scantily-clad Aussies, and an amusement park hugs the seaside. 

We abandoned our bikes in the CBD (central business district) due to 35ish C/85ish F weather and a lot of bitching and moaning from yours truly who enjoys a casual bike ride as long as the seat is comfy as a Caddy.  These bikes, though free and graciously offered to us by our Airbnb hosts, were road bikes, and too uncomfy for me to be an enjoyable companion for the day…much to Steve’s chagrin. 

It proved a wise choice, as we were able to stretch our Melbourne Tram knowledge and enjoy a lovely mile+ walk along the river to catch the right Tram to take us to the water. 

St. Kilda, upon first entry, is an awful lot like Coney Island when approaching via the Tram (Steve experienced this subway ride often when he lived in Brooklyn by falling asleep on the train several times and ending up in Coney Island at the end of the line).  One is greeted with residential neighborhoods that give way to some dodgy pubs, offers of pole dancing exercise classes, and then a token amusement park called “Luna Park.”  The screams and number of teenage summer bums whirling around upside down in the heat were enough to turn our 30-something stomachs, so this park experience did not even come close to making it onto our agenda for the day. 

The beach itself rests on the bay, not the ocean, so the water, I imagine (I now realize that I didn’t even touch my toe into it - oops), is quite warm and calm.  We found a patch of grass to picnic on and work on our freckles before realizing we were the palest Canucks on the beach and should probably retire to the shade.

We wandered down Alcane Street, ogling tanned hipster passers-by and window shopping, before realizing that one side of the street in particular houses all of the cafes and restaurants, while the other is mainly shopping (in hind sight, we realized many streets in Melbourne are like this – good on you, Melbourne).  This allows for the afternoon sun to be shielded by the lines of café umbrellas, under which we happily jumped on a table when one opened up.  Cakes and tiny goodies are a fad here, so after our iced drinks, some reading, and journaling, we invested in a “nut bar” to maintain our good relations with the café workers and justify our sitting in their shade for one more hour.  A small price to pay…

Incidentally, I’ve run into a funny phenomenon which I can only imagine will continue throughout our journeys.  I tend to crave iced beverages the moment the weather goes above “sweater” season.  Perhaps it’s due to the iced tea that had sat in every fridge of my life from May to September (thanks, Mom and Bubs), or maybe it’s as a result of what an acupuncturist told me the one time I succumbed to the needle-based torture that I am, by nature, very hot-blooded.  Contrary to the acupunturist’s suggestion of soaking my feet in cold water before going to bed (um…no thanks), I crave iced tea to the degree that Batman is engaged the moment his light hits the sky (silly reference, I know, but there’s a Batman Avenue in downtown Melbourne, and for some reason, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head).  The iced beverages in Melbourne, however, are of a different variety.  Steve asked for an iced latte or coffee or something the other day and ended up with a glob of iced cream in espresso.  I asked for an iced chai at our little St. Kilda café and received a puzzled look before suggesting the barista make a hot cup of chai and dump it over ice.  Readers, you may be thinking, “Sarah, get over yourself and drop your silly habit,” but people, I’m telling you – this craving is for real and I gotta figure out how not only to ask where the bathroom is in several different languages, but how to get an iced beverage to quench my Batman thirst!  (Steve would role his eyes at this knowing I’ll survive this quirky need, but damn…you can take the girl out of humid New England summers, but you can’t take the summers out of….you know.)

I have digressed - I apologize.  St. Kilda was a blast of breeze and sun on a hot day, and the day ended in a lovely Tram and bike ride home for several applications of after sun cream to tame our northern hemisphere skin.  An absolute recommendation if you ever make it to Melbourne in the “summah” time just make sure to ask for the hot tea dumped over ice and a nut bar.  You won’t be disappointed. 

P.S.  Geraldine – the yoga mat’s still with me, and I’ve been engaging in some Bikram-like sessions every morning since our arrival.  Gotta strengthen up my legs in order to carry the packs!  


  1. You guys are making me home sick. Yeah yeah home is Vancouver but it's awesome reading about Melbourne. A bike ride to St Kilda was a big part of summer in Melbourne and I'm glad you go to experience it.

    Sarah - I swear the best lattes are to be had in Melbourne...hard to believe in hot weather, but still worth a go.

    If you get a chance, check out Meyers Place Bar in downtown MElbourne. Tucked down a back alley and good for a glass of VB...


    ps - *Acland st.

  2. We're absolutely LOVING your updates, Steve & Sarah! It all sounds like you're having an amazing time!


  3. How funny that it was called Luna Park. The Coney of Brooklyn at the end of the F line is a shadow of its former self, very disappointing. But great post and glad to hear the yoga mat is still with you. I am currently in New Orleans for our sales conference. We are in the French Quarter just off Bourbon Street. So far its been great!