You know I always fall for books and bookshops. When I traveled to Melbourne to visit my cousin, she recommended me to go to Ballarat. The little town is simply the historical must-visit destination in Victoria. On a one fine morning, I decided to visit the town myself and took the train to Ballarat. It is a truly classic town, with old buildings and historical landmarks. When I got there, I completely forgot about the place that my cousin told me to visit. I got a map and it led me to an art gallery, which is definitely worth a visit. But, after that, I was totally have no idea about which way I should be heading. Until I happened to find my then-favorite bookshop ever at the bottom of the Sturt St., Ballarat Central.
Known World Bookshop is a hidden gem in the center of Ballarat, perfectly located near the main street, where some other classic and old buildings and shops line. The minute you stepped into the bookshop, you would inhale book-lovers' most favorite scents: the smell of books and coffee. A middle-aged woman greeted me while busy working on something behind the front desk and I said "hi". I immediately lost my mind to the books and everything inside that bookshop. Everything is classic there and the smell of old books and papers really made me thinking about getting anything there to my home.
The bookshop isn't really wide-spaced, with bookshelves nearly everywhere in the front part of the shop. It offers widely-selected secondhand books, from classic to children literature. There's also a coffee bar where you can enjoy a cup of espresso and a nice reading quietly. Although, the woman - who I thought was the shopkeeper - was seemed to be open for conversations or discussions about anything you might find there. On the walls, you can spot some classic and old paintings, posters, and decorations. I really love how the front part of the shop is decorated with red-brick walls and old wood flooring. It gives more classic-esque to the shop.
My favorite part of the bookshop is the children section. You have to go further inside the shop to find it. It's a room contains lots of children classics: from books to toys. Everything is well-arranged and very pleasing to the eyes. I spent so much time in this section, because there are so much things to see, try, and explore. There are some toys or small figurines that already broken, but still they're placed really well so you wouldn't really notice. And since this is a children section, there are so many happy things that would probably remind you of your childhood. I guess I smiled a lot while observing the children section that after the visit my cheeks hurt.
Oh, another thing that I love from the bookshop is the piano. It's a classic piano, with some music books and gramophone on it. I don't know whether the piano's still working, though. I hesitated to try to press one of the keys, because I thought the sound would shock everyone in the shop. On the walls, you can see some old pictures of legendary musicians and black-white photographs.
Almost all the books are well-priced, based on their age and condition. But, mostly they are affordable. You might find some rare or out of print books here (like a first edition of Catcher in the Rye!), although the majority of the collection aren't really rare. I even found some popular readings like The Hunger Games, Twilight, and The Fault in Our Stars. However, I was there just to enjoy the magical experience of visiting the shop, so I didn't buy anything.
As if everything isn't enough, above the bookshop is a one-bedroom boutique apartment where you can have some short stays! It's furnished with some classic-designed interior, perfect for an overnight stay or probably just to spend more time to explore the bookshop. Recommended to book early because apparently the place's rare and usually quickly booked out.
If you're travelling to Melbourne and planning to go to Ballarat, I urge you to take a nice walk at Ballarat Central and visit the bookshop. For book-lovers out there, it would totally worth a visit, because I found the experience was so magical that I wanted everyone to visit!
All photographs by Ruth Vania Christine