“The place where you just can’t get bored. A mixture of Perth+Berlin+London. Cultural diversity, architectural masterpiece. No rules, no boundaries. A place to get lost in. Eye-catchers everywhere. A transformer at the corner, a sky-scraper made of gold, a roof terrace with a green house on it. Food from all over the world. Inspiration everywhere, I just can’t get enough of this place.”
These were the first words I jotted down in Melbourne and my enthusiasm for the city has not waned a bit since then. Melbourne is definitely my kind of city, and it is officially one of the most livable cities in the world.
We spent about 4 days walking around this metropolis enjoying its vibrant atmosphere, but if I think it over what we actually did, I cannot list a bunch of museums and other touristic sights that we would have visited. Our Melbourne “tourist checklist” is far from complete. Still I feel somehow connected to this city.
For the first time in our lives we did couchsurfing at a cool guy’s place called Matthew. He was such a great host, always ready to give us insider tips about his city and he could even speak a bit of Hungarian. 🙂
Thanks to him we got to visit places other travelers might not know about. Eg. a restaurant called Lentil as Anything, but locals call it Convent, as it operates in a building that was a convent earlier. This place is far from being traditional: they serve yummy vegetarian food and you pay on donation basis, in other words as much as you like. The staff is extremely friendly and the location is cool and occasionally live music is played at dinner time. I wish we had such places in Berlin or in Budapest! To be honest, I don’t think it would be able to operate too long though…even in Melbourne some generous sponsors are needed to keep the concept alive. By the way, there is a Lentil in Sydney as well, but I haven’t been there yet.
We were staying quite close to the city center, which allowed us to simply walk around without using the – allegedly the world’s best – public transport system. Melbourne has loads of trams; all kinds of trams from the oldest to the modern, and people love them no matter how slow they are.
If you want to use the myki, you need to buy a card first for 6 dollars. It is definitely worth it if you plan to spend a couple of weeks or months in Melbourne, as it is a huge city with 4,4 million inhabitants.
Walking around the CBD we just saw a nice balcony, and we wanted to see what it was. This is how we found the university building where I would love to study if I had the chance to start studying again. I have always loved being a student, but this place, OMG, is so amazing, so inspirational…I would spend my whole week there as a student. Of course, we couldn’t resist going upstairs and looking for that balcony. And it turned out to be part of the student buffet…unbelievable! The whole campus of RMIT University looks amazing in the center (Swanston st) of Melbourne.
Melbourne is the acropolis of cafe culture, and not only in Australia. Didn’t you know that? Me neither, before I entered Australia 4 months ago. Melbournians consider themselves as coffee experts and they are real coffee snobs. There are several barista schools where you can learn the art of coffee-making, and a good barista is the biggest treasure of every café as serving high quality coffee day-by-day is key to making the business thrive. And we enjoyed the famous Melbournian coffees every day. J To find gorgeous places, take a walk around Fitzroy (eg. the Black Cat) or the Chapel Street a bit further in the south.
After the mild Perth “autumn” the change of climate in Melbourne was quite a shock for us. (Even if we knew that the weather would be different in the south.) The city has a reputation for its changeable weather, and – as we experienced too – it can be sunny, cold, windy and rainy on the same day. As we were not very well prepared for low temperatures, we had to buy some warm clothes and footwear as well. But as we are leaving for NZ quite soon, we will need warm stuff anyway.
Just one piece of advice before I wrap up: if you have the chance to visit Melbourne, don’t rush, give this beautiful city the time it deserves! And, of course, enjoy a flat white as often as you can! 🙂