So this week I decided, rather spontaneously, to visit the Royal Melbourne Show. It was the last day and the powers that be in Melbourne had been advertising it to death. So off I set, without much in the way of expectations and the extent of my research had been checking the tram times. This was foolish. As I sat across from a elderly Aussie and her granddaughter I realised that they were clutching tickets. I wasn’t. So initial panic mode set in as I built up my courage to ask the lady wether tickets needed to be bought before arrival. Luckily she assured me that you could get tickets on the gate. However this created a new wave of panic. In my naïveté I thought it would be free to get in and then you would pay for things inside. Ok. So now I had to pay for my days adventure, fine, I’m sure it won’t be too much. It was $30. Ok, well I’m sure for $30 you get quite a bit for your money, I’m sure it’s great inside and there’s loads to do. I walked through the gate, hanging on to my costly ticket for dear life (as it was definitely going in some form of scrap book for the price it cost me). The sight I was greeted with was terrifying and highly disappointing. The show is huge but as I had no idea what to expect I jumped to the conclusion that my first glimpse would set the tone for the whole shebang. It was a riot of colour and light punctuated by the screeching of people on fairground rides and the wailing of children having meltdowns. Most adults looked frustrated and worn out and the kids looked high on overstimulation from the lights and sound combined with too many E numbers in one sitting. I started to wander (trudge) around aimlessly. Taking in the naff, fixed, overpriced games where the only prize seemed to be a terrifying, oversized minion and noting that all of the thrilling rides were priced at between $10-$20. Something I wasn’t going to partake in after the rather steep entry fee set me back. It’s safe to say I was slightly miserable, but of course being a tight Yorkshire lass I was determined to be miserable for several hours to get my money’s worth out of the ticket.
Luckily I managed to wrangle a map off a passing mother struggling to keep her darling children from mounting a merry-go-round and got my bearings. At last a glimmer of hope. Food stalls and tents. I wrestled my way through the crowds and found salvation. Huge tents filled with an array of beautiful looking, smelling and tasting food. I managed to stuff myself with free samples and was thoroughly enjoying myself. I managed to catch a food demonstration and even got a free wine tasting session, five glasses of pinot noir later and I was feeling decidedly merry. Further exploration revealed a petting zoo of sorts and I spent far longer than a 21 year old should feeding goats and sheep and chickens and pushing small children out of the way to hold a puppy.
I had managed to happily wile away several hours and was quite satisfied with my day at the royal Melbourne show. If you happen to come to Melbourne while it is on I would recommend two things; don’t come with children and head to the food areas immediately, preferably starting with the wine tasting… Because really wine does make everything better.