Thursday, December 18, 2008

Saturday in Melbourne

As I said in my last post, I had a busy and tiring but good (and gluttonous) week in Melbourne (aka: Australia’s Vegan Mecca). But the best day of the trip was the last day.

Saturday morning I woke up and took advantage of the free breakfast offered daily by my hostel (bad bread and peanut butter or vegemite). Then I hopped on the tram to St Kilda. I wandered through the beach-side suburb filled with cafes and trendy shops. I wandered along the beach, and put my feet in the Southern Ocean—it was cold. I bought a jacket, because I was warned that if I was cold in Melbourne, I would freeze in Auckland.

I got the tram back into the city in time for lunch at Lord of the Fries. I ordered the chicken nuggets with tomato sauce, but I wish I’d gotten chips.

I ate on the steps of Federation Square.

And then went for a walk along the Yarra River to the Federation Bells.

I got the tram back into my hostel and took a little while to pack up my things since I had to leave for the airport at 4 am. Then Kristy picked me up and brought me back to her place. I met Button, her semi-anti-social but super-cute kitty. We ate yummy Peanut Butter and Banana cookies while we waited for everyone. When we were all assembled—Kristy, Mr T, Caroline and Tim, and non-bloggers Dan and Ian—we piled into two cars and headed for regional Victoria. The first stop was at La Panella, a largely vegan bakery. I got a cinnamon donut and an éclair-like pastry. They were so good. The next stop was to pick up several kilos of weetbix. Then we were on the road.

The destination? Edgar’s Mission, a sanctuary for farm animals. Run by an amazing woman called Pam, Edgar’s Mission is a refuge for animals including chickens, ducks, dogs, goats, pigs, sheep, cows, a pony, horses, a turkey and bunnies. We were greeted at the gates by the dogs, who were shortly followed by two young goats called Romulus and Remus.

We saw the animals who live near the house—the bunnies and the birds.

The turkey called Tony Blair was beautiful but a bit shy.

From there we went over to the pig area. Pam fed the animals and introduced us to all of them. We met characters like Lily, one of the pigs who played Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web.

And Edgar Allen Pig, who Pam got as a pet and who made her realize the connections between animals we love and animals we eat.

After the pigs we went to see the sheep. Pam yelled out to them and they started running towards us.
I’ve never thought of sheep as intimidating, but when they know Weetbix are around, they get a bit aggressive.

We were each mobbed by hungry sheep who variously tried jumping, shoving, and eating our clothing. After the weetbix had run out we had some sheep cuddles.

Then we went over to see the horses. Everyone was a little intimidated by them, but they were very beautiful.

We said hello to the little pony.

And then we patted the cows. They were disappointed that we didn’t have any weetbix, but they settled for some scratches on the head. Cows produce an amazing amount of saliva—most of which got caught in the wind and blew onto us.

Pam has created an amazing animal utopia where different species intermingled with no animosity. She is not only generous with the animals, she was also very generous with us. After spending the day at an agricultural show to spread the word about veganism, she opened her farm up to us in the evening since it was my last day in Melbourne. It was really great to meet so many animals, to hear their stories, and to see the connection that she has with them.

After a rewarding trip to Edgar’s Mission, it was pretty late so we decided to get pizza from the gourmet vegetarian Plush Pizza. We got eight pizzas between the seven of us. I can’t really remember all the types—there was the mushroom medley with pesto, which also had dill and was delicious; there was the tom yung which tasted like soup in pizza form; there were a few with satay sauce; there was the Ben Special with avocado, mushrooms and balsamic vinegar; there was a BBQ pizza with fried tofu and roasted potatoes; and there was a garlic and Cheezely pizza. I tried every pizza and had the equivalent of an entire pizza all by myself.

The leftovers amounted to less than one whole pizza. I was impressed with our effort. I was even more impressed when we went back to Caroline and Tim’s for a glass of wine, when Mr T ate a few more pieces.

It was a great end to a great trip—even if it did mean getting only 4 hours of sleep before flying to Auckland.

Before I move on, in my next post, to the Aotearoa New Zealand portion of my trip, I want to say a huge public thank you to Kristy for driving my ass around Melbourne when I was there. I also want to suggest sponsoring an animal at Edgar’s Mission. It would make a great, ethical Christmas gift (and if you’re not in Australia, chances are the exchange rate is currently in your favour, so get moving!) and it would make a big difference in the lives of those animals.


Trying To Heal said...

dannnnnggg....that is one great trip to melbourne!

re: your comment on my NZ post: i was in AU and NZ from feb-may 2006 and then again in AU from june-july 2007.

Best trips of my life!!! and i neeeeed to go back again!!!

steph said...

I love the cow and tongue picture! It's the best!

Anonymous said...

Melbourne sounds really veg friendly and is such a beautiful place. Maybe one of these days I'll get the opportunity to visit.

What great work Pam is doing for Edgar's Mission. Those animals are so precious. I loved the close up sheep photo.

Anonymous said...

wow the farm pictures and the animals are so cute! its so good that there are places to let live the lovely animals, Melbourne sounds so great! Australia in general, and veg-friendly:)

Amy said...

I'm even more jealous than I was with your last post :P I dream of going to Edgars Mission one day!!

(and yum to all that pizza!)

Alicia said...

Well, the sheep look quite intimidating to me!
And I'm totally jealous about the awesome pizza!

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Haha!! Lovin' all the animals!! :-)

Groover said...

Great trip, Therese. I love Melbourne and was down there earlier this month (I raced in Bright). Loved reading about the animal farm. What a great thing to do.

Looking forward to read about Auckland.

DJ said...

Lord of The Fries?? Seriously, does Melbourne have the best line in punning eateries EVER?? Sounds like you had a brilliant visit!

Vaala ◪ said...

Hahaha! Those cow pictures are awesome. Love the tongue one!

Aaron said...

I happened upon your blog when searching for Edgar's Mission. Your post was good to read and I will probably visit Plush Pizza and Lord of the Flies to see what they are about. However I was confused to see you had chicken nuggets for lunch?

Theresa said...

Hi Aaron,

Lord of the Fries is an entirely vegetarian eatery, mostly vegan. So when I say "chicken nuggets" I mean the vegan version! Sorry for the confusion!

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