August 1, 2011

Ctrl Alt Travel: Come around Melbourne with me on a Sunday! Mt. Dandenong, Miss Marple’s Tea Room and Camberwell Sunday Market

Posted by roseannetangrs in Lifestyle

Hey Everyone,

Every now and then on this space I like to mix it up a bit and I have to say other than applying the latest products to review, I really like to travel. I’ve done a few Ctrl Alt Travel posts before on Penang Street Food Here and the Volcano at Yogykarta in Indonesia Here, but I thought it would be fun to do one in Melbourne, the place I’m spending the majority of my time at besides Singapore too. If you’re ever thinking of visiting Melbourne and don’t know where to go or find yourselves drumming fingers on the table on a weekend, this post may be too cool for school for you. Maybe. Today, we’re going out of the city (finally) and we’re going to go into a cool market and find our way up a winding mountain to Mt. Dandenong where we’ll even sit on a Giant’s Chair and have delcious scones. Sounds good? Yeah, thought so.

Camberwell Sunday Market:

The Camberwell Sunday Market is a popular spot more I think for locals than tourists which for some of you travel junkies may be a good thing. Here, people like to sell their wares, usually second-hand, in small table set up stores in quite a cluttered area. Well the clutter is a positive thing since it kind of adds to the atmosphere. If you’re looking for cheaper than cheap clothes (usually in the 10 – 20 dollar range or even below that) or vintage acessories like bags or rings, this is pretty much where you could go treasure hunting and save a few dollars. Do keep in mind that these clothes would have already been worn so if you are a little dodgy on that, you can instead take interest in the number of old furniture items available – or even garden knomes.

There’s really quite a lot to see at the Sunday Market. Foodwise, you’ll get a few stands around the market selling hot dogs and jam filled or cinnamon donuts. I reckon I should set up a store selling scones! I’d have to learn how to make them first. Or even macaroons. The possibiities are endless. Albeit some items are brand new but most I would say are second hand wares.

Hey, there’s even people busking. The one pictured below, no not me silly, is actually pretty good. Lots of people bring their dogs around too so it’s almost like a doggie fashion show. I don’t shop that much honestly nowadays which may come across as kind of weird to you but meh. I come for the busy atmosphere and maybe the one or two very unique finds you can’t find anywhere else.  Camberwell Sunday Market is located at Station Street, Camberwell 3124 and is only open until 12:30 PM.

Lunch Stop – Sofia Pizza House, Camberwell

After walking around the market for a few hours, our tummies were a rumbling and a common stop around the Camberwell area is the Sofia Pizza House. This is a hot spot for students and locals alike because of its gigantic supersizeme portions and good prices. It’s sort of a bulk up thing and don’t think French Restaurant fine dining, this is family “let’s eat now I’m starving” kind of food which happens to be my favourite. We ordered a large garlic bread and that turned out to be the size of a large pizza and a platter of pasta with spaghetti, tortellini and gnocci and of course I had to have my salad and that was a char grilled chicken salad. Overall, my salad was awesome. I liked the light dressing without the cream and the chicken pieces were yum. The pasta was a tad overcooked but by bulk, it still tasted tasty and really, I’m no picky eater to really complain at the table. In fact, I don’t really like it when people complain at the table unless it really tastes like absolute yuck. I always believe in eat and be merry. The garlic bread was crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside although it could use a bit more garlic than a slash of it on the top. It was still yummy. This place is an absolute awesome place when you’ve finished your exams and decide that all goes and anything goes. Food ahoy!

Mt. Dandenong – What a name.

With bloated stomachs and regrets of having bulked up way too much at Sofia’s, we decided to go to Mt. Dandenong after much pushing by me that I really wanted to try the scones at Miss Marple’s Tea Room, a place highly acclaimed by my peers for having the best scones and sweet desserts. Dandenong is quite far from the Melbourne CBD (that or I’ve gotten used to the short travel times in Singapore) and you do need a car to get here. You can take a bus, but only if you think the scones are that good.

Mt. Dandenong

Mt. Dandenong sits on a mountain range so it’s a beautiful place to take your loved one up there and reminisce like you’re sitting on a cloud and overseeing all the chaos below. Do you see Melbourne City? Yeah, we are that far away. The day was perfect because it was sunny with blue skies and it was chilly as well. I think sun + cold = best weather, ever.

There’s a couple things you can do at Mt. Dandenong. There’s a few picture taking hot spots like The Giant’s Chair. Legend has it that there was a giant who went to Dandenong for scones and one day he thought the view looked great so he built a chair so he could stare at the view and eat his scones. Sorry, I just made that all up. I don’t know why a Giant’s chair is there, but it sure was fun taking pictures on it. The Giant has a big butt but don’t tell him I said that.

After being comfy cosy on the chair, we decided to roam around. This place is called the Dandenong SkyHigh point because of the view. Around that area are novelties like the chair and also this, The Wishing Tree. Legend has it that a father was looking for his son in the woods and he came across this tree. After almost losing hope, he stares into the tree’s circle and wishes intently to find his son and suddenly he sees his son by the river and finds him. True or false? I didn’t make that up. ;)

If you drive back down where Miss Marples Tea Room really is actually, there are a couple of stores that you don’t normally find in the city. Specialty stores. After taking a sneaky picture, the man pictured below took my camera from me, gave it to my friend, and said if I ever had to take a picture, it would have to be with him. He was lovely, he has a Malaysian wife and proceeded to tell me about this yummy dips which I was very tempted to purchase. We went to a cool sweet shop and some other clothing stores.

I think the coolest shop is The Oracle. I don’t know about you but I’m really into the whole tarot, spiritual, psychic realm thing so stores like these have always caught my eye. Full of crystals, candles, owls, I’m almost transported into the world of Harry Potter. Absolute love. My purchase of the day came from this store. I bought Destiny Cards. Bascially, if something has been troubling you, these cards can guide you or strip your problem to the core by picking one. We did th excercise at the tea room and it was accurate for my friends and I. What I asked is of course top secret. Heh.

I also loved how you could pick advice from a statue of angel. Here’s mine!

We then ambled our way to a little area where we saw kids making toasted marshmallows. Turned out it was free and was set up by the stores so you could toast marshmallows too. Super yummy. It was fun, like a campfire. The smoke made my hair smell better than smoked ham though. Always good to carry a small bottle of perfume.

A Little Treat – Miss Marple’s Tea Room

Finally, the main goal of the climb to Dandenong was to try out Miss Marple’s Tea Room. Miss Marple is a totally fictional character played by Agatha Christie and the whole tea room is in a quaint looking cottage. It’s very homey and very cool.

The main reason why people go to Miss Marple’s Tea Room is to have her Devonshire Scones. We also ordered a chocolate and pecan fudge cake and some hot chocolate with marshmallows. The chocolate an pecan fudge cake was super rich, dripping with cream and fudge, it tasted like a soft and warm brownie just dripping in warm chocolate sauce and generous amounts of cream. A little too rich for my liking but for chocoholics alike, a certain must have.
 I think the main awesomeness of the day were the Devonshire scones. I don’t think they look much like the regular scones, my friends have said they commercialized a bit since the dawn of the good business flowing in so they ditched the round shape and cut them into squares instead. But, I still think they’re yum. In fact, it inspired me to create the anatomy of deliciousness. I shall proceed to describe this delicious morsel in great detail. The scone, warm, soft and still crumbly which goes so good with the homemade raspberry jam that is the perfect mix of tart and sweetness and then you have the cream, almost cream cheese like which sits perfectly on the scone. Pop it in your mouth and you are in heaven. I loved it, so yum, so worth it. My friend didn’t like it though because she had better ones in London but I still think they’re abs delicious.
and then just like that, we were finished and finished with our day out!
I hope you enjoyed my post!
If you live in Melbourne, any other cool and unique places to recommend?
Love,
Roseanne

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