This is one of my favorite lane ways in the whole world - well as much as the world as I've seen anway. I walk through here most mornings as I head to work, stopping off for my first coffee of the day in a little cafe on the right hand side.
Despite walking through here for a few years now I still seem to notice something new, something I haven't noticed before,every time I walk through. Something interesting, novel or unusual.
You certainly would have to describe this laneway as dynamic. There are always people here. They wander along, looking up at the buildings on either side of the laneway,taking photos and admiring the little windows and balconies. There's graffiti in the little laneway off this one. It never stays the same so you know people frequent it often too.
The shops don't stay the same either.Some close shop. Some new ones open up. They all have something distinctive about them. Some have lots of seats inside while others have seats mostly on the outside in the laneway. You can buy healthy food or glutton on less healthy options. You can choose which coffee you prefer and stick with that one or try a different one each day - you could do this for a few weeks in this area in Melbourne.
When you keep walking along the lane way you end up in a little shopping arcade with an eclectic mix of goods. More food and coffee of course. But also jewelery, bags, t-shirts, little nic-nacs and even a travel agent. I think there's also a language school in the basement below. If you keep on walking you'll enter a whole new world - Collins Street - the more expensive shops and business centre. At the other end you'll find yourself in the subway to enter Flinders Street Railway Station. You need to be ready to leave on the next train to bother going there of course.
You will often see the same characters lining this lane way. Apart from the traders in the shops you will regularly see the same Big Issue man, calling out to passersby, encouraging them to find the $6 needed to purchase the magazine - or the new digital format. You might also encounter the homeless people asking for a dollar or two. You have to quickly decide how to respond. Some of us don't make eye contact, some say no, some ignore,walking faster and faster. Not many people seem to give them that elusive dollar.
It's an interesting place De Graves Street, Melbourne. It's almost iconic now. People know exactly where you mean if you say you'll meet them in De Graves. A little haven in the big city.