Either my memories are failing me or Melbourne is starting to clean up. I stood in front of ‘the’ corner of Central Place famed for its gratified dumpster dead end usually covered with the vinegary stench of the human urine and found a brightly lit new entrance to an apartment hotel.
The new entrance looked out of place, and I am not sure I liked it.
The problem was that it’s happening everywhere. Alleyways where only the adventurous dared to venture are now clean of rubbish and full of ‘cool stuff’. Many hold-in-the-wall enterprises have sprout up all over the place and without a guide you’d be completely lost in ten minutes.
Manchester Place for example, is one such place. The name doesn’t suggest ‘cafe’ to me, and when I arrived I couldn’t find it. It was, literally, hidden behind a wall in an empty alley way off Little Bourke Street. Finding its entrance was like living the scene from Labyrinth (1986), where entrances were based less on visual outlook and more on perspective.
Besides alleyways and graffiti, Melbourne is also known to be that little bit of a hipster compared to Sydney. They want to be different, like being the only Greens supporter in a Liberal household, so you’ll find street bikes initiatives and stores that sold organic every things where you have to provide the packaging.
Pop-up galleries, boutiques, bar and cafes are now everywhere, often where you least expect it, so check and double check directions when you visit.
Not that it’s all that important for you to get to your destination. There are plenty of quirky architecture and shops to keep you entertained, even when you are very, very lost.