Sydney or New York are the popular responses to the question of favorite city in the world.
Before I went to Australia all I ever heard about was Sydney, Cairns, Brisbane ... but I knew, even thousands of miles away none of them were the place for me.
|South Bank, Melbourne at night|
Because of my pale complexion I chose to live and work in Melbourne for five months, despite this when we lived there in 2008, Melbourne got a heat wave while the East Coast was battered with rain.
Melbourne became our home (my first with my boyfriend), we lived right in the CBD, Lonsdale Street in a cosy studio apartment and life was bliss. Usually you need to leave a place to recall how good it was, not with Melbourne. We knew it, we loved the place from the first night we drove in fresh from the Great Ocean Road, in the middle of a carnival in St Kilda.
The beach at St Kilda may not be up to scratch with Bondi, the city may not be a clean as Perth or as tropical as Cairns but Melbourne had something I felt was missing from all other Aussie cities: Culture and identity.
Broad streets carry traffic and trams all over the city, landmark buildings not only sparkle but they are full of character, it may be missing ancient history but it makes up for that with vibrant life.
The heart beat never leaves the city, during the day it is busy and bouncy, colourful, people of all ethnics and shows and events – at night although the sky gets dark but the colours get brighter.
You cannot be bored in Melbourne – if you hate art, theatre, sport and even comedy then there is music, top food from all over the world, fashion and well... life! (also a must for Neighbours fans!)
|Fed Square, Melbourne|
People watching is a permanent activity, Federation Square (ugly or unique you decide!) is a circus of protests, shows, emerging talent and down and outs!
Every week of the year it holds a different festival, it is impossible to take a solid interest in just one thing. Even makes flowers and plants seem exciting here.
|Caught enjoying a mince pie at an AFL game!|
Coming from Irish Gaelic Football, we fell in love with the AFL but we didn't stop there, Melbourne loves sport so we submerged into the culture and went to cricket, rugby, tennis and even had an amazing day at the Grand Prix.
The city has plenty of superb art galleries, museums and exhibitions but outdoors in the parks and walks you get the real feel of Melbourne. The Docklands at night and the Yarra River are very romantic.
The contrast between Flinders Street Station and Southern Cross Station (the only real scary part of town) is stark and yet they are both iconic of the thriving city.
Maybe it is because Melbourne was voted as the most livable city, and because we spent over five months but I found no place on earth like it. The people of course are the main ingredient in the recipe that makes this city, they are fun and flirty and support the city and all the activities it promotes.
When we returned back to Ireland many people wanted to know if we would move to Australia for good, like many Irish young people. My boyfriend exclaimed “I wouldn't go back to Australia – but I would go to Melbourne!”
|The Docklands, Melbourne|
The only way to sum it up: Melbourne is unforgettable!