My flatmate is a nurse, so occasionally has days off during the week. And as I value not-working over most things, I too have days off during the week. This works out well for at least one of us. We do various activities together. She helps me with administrative issues: my tax return (have I even paid any); directions (both geographical and in life), and financial planning (looking for money between the couch cushions). We also go on what I have termed "friendship dates". I wanted to call them practice dates but that sounds a bit creepy.
Our most recent outing is one that works in a number of forums. Whether it's friendship, practice/real dates, or a solo expedition that you're after, this is your ticket. And, as is necessary, it's a cheap ticket too.
First of all, wait for a day above 10 degrees. Next step, make your way by bike to Victoria Street in Richmond. More specifically, the block between Church and Lennox streets. Here, you will find a goldmine of Vietnamese bakeries. And at these bakeries you will find gold in the form of bahn mi (or Vietnamese baguette). Is there a greater sandwich concept in the world? Please let me know as I just love sandwiches. Fresh, vibrant and zingy Vietnamese flavours – sweet, sour, salty, hot – surrounded by delicious, crunchy, white bread. But what does it cost? I'm glad you asked, because it's only $3.80! Take your pick from the various bakeries. My favourite is Nhu Lan at 152. However, I don't think you can go too far wrong. BBQ pork, pate, coriander, chilli, crispy shallots: get the lot. Apart from cucumber. Get Rid Of It.
Step three, is cycle down Nicholson street, turning right on Gipps to meet the river. There is a delightful riverside track, perfect for strolling along.
It winds its way around to the Collingwood Children's Farm where you can pat donkeys, ponies and other real life farm animals and get a coffee later in the year. It is currently closed for renovations. Don't despair! Or maybe despair a little as my alternative is not as good. The Convent Bakery, while bustling, didn't deliver on coffee. As its name would suggest, the focus is on baking. We put them to the test on their macaroon tasters. The chilli-chocolate comes particularly highly recommended.
Step whatever, enjoy your Bahn Mi, questionable coffee and pieces of macaroon in the sun. Friends forever.