So far my 2013 has been happy and full of doing of things. Every day I get up with lots of things to do and I'm tired but I'm happy. I actually feel like it's off to a good start.
As I've mentioned my aunty and cousin came from Italy and my family has taken them anywhere and everywhere. I didn't realise how much I love Melbourne, and that escapism doesn't have to be a wistful dream, but something you can actually do.
On the first day of this year I went to Healesville Sanctuary. It was relaxing and green but also made me feel a bit stuck. I don't know if I should be more sad that there are all these Australian animals in captivity or that now it's better for them to be because they're mostly endangered.
A dreamy day in the city. Lunch at Lentil as Anything (which always feels good) and a comforting carrot cake for dessert. Reading streams of conversation, thinking and exclamation in toilet cubicles.
Coffee and cakes in the CBD. Sitting on a big plate of rock by our table.
This Christmas maze of hedges reminded me of the Red Queen's garden in Alice in Wonderland.
On the fringe of Federation Square; a colossal Nativity-like structure.
The Ian Potter gallery (free entry!) brimming with contemporary indigenous art, as well as European works.
The first feels like a volcanic colour fest. Canvases of symbolic shapes and figures sit as individuals in unison. The spirit of the rich heritage of the people that created the art comes steaming off their surfaces, as exemplified in a snippet of a video playing of a man stroking layers of paint onto his canvas sheet and muttering prayers.
The gallery of European artwork traces a chronology of the development of Victoria, and more specifically, Melbourne.
This one of the girls dancing was one of my utter favourites, it's looks so sweet and dainty. Reading the description beside I found it was difficult to be allowed to paint such a thing, and the artist and models had to sail off to a secluded island. I know life isn't a Sofia Coppola movie with a dreamy soundtrack but this may as well be.
This picture below of a fortune teller was painted, if my memory serves me, in the middle of WWI (I think 1916). She is blowing into a vast bowl churning with bubbles, in which naked people are trapped. Maybe it should seem like evil witchcraft, but for some reason I find it an almost comforting painting.
A walk around the CBD. The air is fresh and the sky is clear and pure, and there's an abundance of crisp greenery. It's the city but it feels alive.
A penguin playing the bagpipes with an impressive skill in it's own right, and saluting for the camera.
The Queen Victoria Market, just as it's unfurling.
At this market there are always so many busy vendors who often don't have much time for talk. But for the entire (long) time I spent in this Indian stall, the owner spent chatting kindly to my sister, aunty and me.
This amazing busker was exactly like Mary Poppins' Bert in his one-man-band goodness. He had a gorgeous voice and skills with his whole shebang of instruments to match. And he promised to spend all donations on fine dining and clothing; what a guy.
There are so many fantastic colours, shapes, smells, tastes and textures to be found at food markets. It's an indulgence of all five senses.
To Old Melbourne Gaol to be treated like prisoners of once upon a time.
The female exercise yard. Scratches and scribbles and not-too-polite notes on every impressionable surface.
The old buildings of Melbourne, embedded with contemporary stores. In one way I am happy that their usefulness is carried on to today, but the sight of a Nando's in one of these could make one cry.
The State Library of Victoria. Good books, of the fantastic sort, like about Finnish education and first wave feminism. The whole place looks a bit like it should be an arena of strict pomp but it's full of university students and city nomads. It feels like a 'you and me' kind of place.
A family day at the beach. A family lunch with foods that taste exactly as summer should.
A drive along the Mornington Peninsula, just because, that decides to become an expedition to see l'Oceano Pacifico.
This beach was literally the MOST breath-taking thing I've ever seen. And at the same time all I could do was breathe great gulps of this perfect sea air. The waves were a brilliant indigo and capped with frothy white, crashing over each other. Looking across, it swept everything up in itself, swallowing the landscape in its misty white breath.
The mermaid portal. I'm sure it is.
That last beach day was probably my favourite. I woke up so tired I felt like I was delirious in the worst way, and by the end of it I was awake with salty, springing, beach energy.