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Theatre and a long weekend away

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My friend Jane, who you know I regularly travel interstate with knows I love all things China, so told me about a Chinese dance troupe that was visiting Australia.  Without either of us checking out anything about it on the internet, I said ‘let’s go’.  We arranged to spend a long weekend in Melbourne which is about an hour in the plane from Canberra and we organised tickets, flights and accommodation only to find out that the dance troupe was coming to Canberra…ah well we both love Melbourne so decided to still go – lots of eating and shopping to be done anyway!

The dance troupe is called Shen Yun Performing Arts and was formed in New York.  It performs classical Chinese dance and as it’s website says ‘was founded in 2006 by practitioners of the Falun Gong spiritual discipline with the mission of reviving the essence of 5000 years of Chinese culture, which it states to have been nearly destroyed by the Chinese Communist Party’.

(source: internet images)

It was an interesting event I must say – lovely dancing but a little bit political which neither of us expected.

I organised an Airbnb two bedroom/two bathroom apartment and I travelled on the Friday afternoon and immediately left the apartment to go shopping as Melbourne is known for its great shops.  After a while I was tired from carrying too many shopping bags so stopped at a lovely cobblestone street for something to eat and drink and do some people watching.

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I ordered my usual; a glass of wine and glass of sparkling mineral water along with a bowl of fresh tomato and basil pasta…delicious!

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Before Jane arrived around 8pm, I caught up with a Melbourne based friend at a lovely little pub around the corner from where I was staying followed by a quick dinner at one of the five star hotels. I forgot to take photos!

The next day Jane went out early to the fresh food markets (I think I have told you she is a ‘foodie’) and she enjoyed some oysters and fresh fruit.  I stayed in the apartment as was feeling a little unwell from a recent cold, then we both went for a walk around the city to find the theatre where the dance troupe was performing.  By this time it was after midday and both of us were a little hungry [I was ravenous].  We decided we needed to eat something delicious for lunch but not knowing the city we didn’t really know where to go.  Then a wonderful surprise – across the road from the theatre we saw a gorgeous little French bistro ‘BISTROT d’ORSAY’…what a fabulous find.

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The interior is evocative of a typical Paris bistro with dark wood panelling and soft lighting and a towering vintage French poster adorning the dining room.  The menu has  French bistro classics such as bouillabaisse and crème brûlée and also Mediterranean style dishes.

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Jane ordered a bottle of French wine which we started drinking whilst waiting for our meals and snacked on some thick fresh bread.

Image 20This was such a lovely restaurant we didn’t want to leave and I think it had something to do with a very charming [and very handsome] waiter who had that beautiful French accent [and told us he was from Paris].  After perusing the menu for some time, I decided on the risotto with rich mushroom ragu which I really enjoyed and even the chef was happy to make it without cheese for me (very kind).

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Jane ordered the bouillabaisse; Marseilles’ famous soup of prawns, scallops, fish and mussels in a saffron, tomato, fennel broth with crouton and rouille.  She couldn’t stop talking about how incredible this dish was.

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And of course the obligatory pommes frites [which I have now learnt from the very handsome waiter, are ‘fries’ in French]…sounds much more eloquent than ordering ‘fries’ or ‘chips’.

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Then it was time to head over to the show followed by dinner at a lovely little Italian restaurant that I had been to previously [post to follow].