Solo in Female-friendly Melbourne
to the cook...
It was my extreme
good fortune to learn through the grapevine about Meera
Freeman -- delightful cooking teacher, successful
cookbook author and all-round wonderful woman. I called
Meera when I arrived in Melbourne and she immediately
invited me to join one of the classes she was giving.
I'm so glad that I did!
is an expert in Thai, Middle Eastern, Italian and Vietnamese
cooking and one quickly senses that she absolutely loves
what she does. She's a real performer, as well -- telling
jokes, stories, sharing shopping secrets -- all while
she cooks the menu of the evening. The night I was there
Meera demonstrated Moroccan cooking -- how to prepare
perfect couscous topped with an aromatic veggie stew.
It was extremely hard to concentrate enveloped by the
lovely scents of root vegetables intermingled with turmeric,
coriander and cumin. Meera closed her class by serving
her students the full course meal she had just prepared.
It was a feast fit for a JourneyWoman!
The evening I attended
there were ten other students and nine were women --
I was the only out-of-towner. How perfect for me --
I got the opportunity to network with locals who shared
their ideas and insider Aussie travel tips with me.
A perfect scenario! For further information, Website:
P.S. While you're
Down Under, check out Meera's latest cookbook, Cooking
Class. I bought a few for girlfriends. They
make great gifts!
lively brunch stop...
was Meera Freeman, Melbourne food maven who introduced
me to Babka Bakery Cafe
(358 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy). Run by Sasha (the woman
with fiery red hair and wonderful jewelry), this little
place (25 seats) was absolutely buzzing at breakfast
and brunch. There were croissants, French toast, yoghurt
and fruit available as well as lunch sandwich specials
posted on a board. The coffee, homemade preserves, vibe
and food were all delicious and well worth the visit.
But, there's a bonus, as well -- Babka is also a very
well-known bakery producing such goodies as whole meal
with sunflower bread and the best little challeh (egg
loaf) in town. I couldn't resist a take-away treat.
Perfect female-friendly solo food stop!
cafe promotes conversation...
always on the look-out for interesting cybercafes along
the way. In Melbourne I found one called e:fiftyfive
at 55-57 Elizabeth Street and was impressed. I guess
others have been too because this little spot has been
featured on TV and in magazines. The facility itself
is clean but ordinary -- not unlike others of its ilk.
The lighting is funky with music to match and they have
a liquor license so you can sip a glass of Chardonnay
while retrieving your e-mail. But, what I liked best
about this particular spot was their very large round
table where you can open your maps right up, chart your
next destination and chat with other travellers doing
the same thing. Such a good idea.
The Friendly Backpacker
Group are members of our JourneyWoman Network of classified
advertisers. I thought this would be the perfect spot
to highlight their facilities.
Backpacker Group currently consists of two
properties in the heart of Melbourne. Offering a quality
product and unmatched service, our aim is to provide
the entire "Melbourne Experience". You have
the opportunity of meeting other travellers, as well
as a comfortable place to stay. Safe, fun, clean and
central we offer gender specific dorms or double/twin
rooms at budget prices. Visit www.friendlygroup.com.au
for more information, or make an inquiry via e-mail:
Ed. note: Ask about
the hostel that's located right next door to the police
station. For women, especially, I imagine this would
increase your safety factor.
If you stay at either
of these locations, please send along your feedback.
and put "The Friendly Backpacker" in the subject line.
Other readers will definitely be interested in your