One of the wonderful aspects of travelling is that you get to bring back home a myriad of incredible memories. An even more wonderful aspect of travelling is that, if you’re lucky, you might also get to bring back incredible friendships. My travels in recent years have certainly brought now-beloved people into my life, but many of these folk live overseas. (It is deeply hurtful that they didn’t all pack up their lives and move to Canberra to be with me. The nerve!)
I’m very thankful to the Travel Gods for sending me at least one friend, the Spyman, who is not only a fellow Aussie but with whom I’ve been able to catch up on a regular basis, despite the fact that we live in different cities.
Last Friday, we finally spent time together in his city: the Glorious Magnificentland of Melbourne.
And it was six straight hours of happiness.
It turns out I can be rather dictatorial in my eating choices when I’m in Magnificentland. But dictatorial in a charming and endearing way, right, Spyman? Right? It was charming and endearing when I made us go to Starbucks, right?
I know some of you are considering staging an interfriendtion right now. But here’s what you have to understand:
I don’t go to Starbucks for coffee.
I go to Starbucks for coffee-candy.
While some of you might crave ice cream as a treat on a summer’s (or winter’s, who are we kidding?) day, I yearn for thick-frozen-sweet-coffee drinks. Coffee-candy, I call it. For real coffee, I only ever visit to non-chain establishments. Hand over heart. But coffee-candy Frappuccinos? And coffee-candy Frappuccinos made with soy milk, no less? Oh, Starbucks. I do enjoy you.
After Starbucks, the Spyman took me to The Rooftop Bar. It was beautiful. They have a screen for showing movies in summer, delicious beer, and gas-fire heaters that almost singed my hair off when I leaned back with my eyes closed.
In Canberra, we barely have rooftops, let along rooftop bars.
After an hour or so, my (adorable, right?) dictatorial side emerged again.
“Lord of the Fries!” I proclaimed, eyes shining with glee. “We must go eat at Lord of the Fries!”
I’ve read about Lord of the Fries, a vegetarian and vegan fast food joint with the claim to fame of delicious crazypants sauces for its fries, frequently on the blogosphere, but hadn’t ever really thought to eat there myself. After all, I can’t remember the last time I ate a proper burger or fries.
But last Friday night, something changed.
Whatever it was that changed, I’m glad it did. The photo above is of Lord of the Fries’ Vegan Spicy Burger, and eating it whilst sitting on the grass in front of the State Library of Victoria was fantabulous. The melting vegan cheeze, the non-meat patty, the soft burger bun and the spicy sauce all disappeared in no time… although the rapidity of eating may have had something to do with my excitement over my fries.
I ordered the “French Canadian” fries, which some of you might know better as poutine. Translation: fries topped with cheese and smothered in gravy. More exciterestingly, I was also able to get this in a vegan version. Oh, the novelty!
You see, it turns out that coffee-candy-drinks, beer, burgers, and cheeze-n-gravy fries are the perfect fuel for a twenty minute walk in the winter air back to a brother’s house, and for a few more hours of talking and laughing with a Spyman and a brother’s housemates.
My first full day of this Melbourne trip was, as pirates might say, a rollicking success, and it handed me a bucketload more smiles and hugs to store in my memory-mind.
Turns out domestic travel can be just as much fun as the international kind.