The Queen Victoria Markets are a Melbourne institution. I almost always end up there when I travel to Melbourne. I am drawn there not by the prospect of buying anything interesting because heaven knows they only sell an array of stuff that I don’t need: footy jerseys and scarves, touristy tea towels and stuffed koalas, soaps, tacky t-shirts, cheap jewelry and food. But they have a fantastic atmosphere on a sunny Saturday when tourists and locals rub shoulders.
The array of fruit and vegetables on offer is wonderful. You can buy many different varieties of mushrooms.
Less common vegetables like parsnips and globe artichokes.
Vine ripened tomatoes galore.
And seasonal fruits, like mandarins, apples and strawberries.
Even the items that don’t interest me attract my eye by their pretty bright colours.
Or the jumble of shapes.
The morning sounds are dominated by the songs of musicians and the hubbub of people talking. By afternoon the call of bargains takes over and muffles everything else. “One dollar one dollar one dollar” comes the call of men’s voices. Old hands with Mediteranean accents compete with muscular young blokes with ocker tones to their calls. I don’t hear many women shouting bargains and, in fact, a few men have materialised at stands where women have stood all day. Perhaps men have louder voices than women for shouting over the top of each other; I only report what I hear. By the time I return to the hostel I have bought quite a good selection of fruit and vegetables to self-cater for my seven remaining nights here in Melbourne.
The colour and sound of the market is complemented by the colour and creativity of the street art I see painted in laneways around the city.
I can’t help but wonder whether some of the more aggressive or harsh art is confronting to some passers by.
I personally like it all.
Even some of the more abstract works.
I can’t help but wonder how many hours have gone into creating these works. Probably more hours than it’s going to take me to find more urban art in this Australia’s second largest city.