Sunday, September 05, 2010

Ladies' day out

Yesterday was lovely. Being chauffeured to the city in a luxury car was definitely a cut above a trip in your average taxi. And several cuts above enduring the train service from the far-flung outer suburbs. Our chauffeur, Brian, was polite, punctual and professional, as you'd expect.

The NGV was fabulous. Not just the European Masters - although it was a particularly good exhibition - but we discovered the History of Lace exhibition in one of the upstairs galleries (lovely!) and re-discovered some old favourites too, including our one and only Rembrandt.

The Fashion exhibition at the Ian Potter Centre is well worth a visit if you're in the city. Gorgeous outfits from the 19th and 20th centuries ...not a huge number of exhibits, but beautiful all the same. We wandered through the other exhibition spaces while we were there, enjoying revisiting the Heidelberg School painters and the Sidney Nolan collection.

Then we got the giggles when we came across some very kitsch Australiana - intricately decorated emu eggs and epergnes, adorned with spear-carrying aborigines, kangaroos, swans, tiny horses running around tracks, detailed fern fronds, snakes and more Aussie objects than you can poke a stick at. Amazing skill, but hilarious at the same time. I can't find any pics online of the ones we saw, but this one from the National Gallery in Canberra is along the same lines, only much less ornate:

We strolled up Collins St, window-shopping all the posh shops where we couldn't even afford to buy a button, let alone a whole garment. We browsed around Luis Vuitton (the shop even has a doorman) and laughed at some of the shoes on display at Miss Louise (blingy skulls on your six-inch heels, anyone?), before arriving at the Windsor, which has to be one of the best examples of Victorian architecture in our city:

I doubt the top-hatted doorman's uniform has changed much since the hotel opened in the 1880s.

The dining room at 111 Spring St has been lovingly restored.

Of course there were cucumber sandwiches amongst the offerings:

I didn't take a photo of the dessert buffet, with its chocolate fountain, but I can say that we were very restrained, only visiting once and managing not to take one of everything... Our waiter asked whether we were celebrating a special occasion, and when I replied that it was my friend's birthday, he disappeared and came back with this:

We finished with a champagne in the Cricketer's Bar before Brian arrived to drive us home - through the pouring rain, which had set in by that time.

*sigh* Every weekend should be like this.

I almost forgot: if you're in the city around 4:00-6:00pm on a Saturday, pop into the Cricketer's Bar and grab a drink and a seat by the window. It's the perfect vantage point to watch the endless parade of wedding groups posing for photos on the steps of Parliament House. We saw blue, pink, black (3), burgundy, turquoise (2), gold, champagne and pale green bridesmaids in the space of about 30 minutes. Very entertaining!

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