When I started quite seriously thinking about moving away from Brisbane, there were two cities that were true contenders: Hobart (clearly the eventual victor for me) and Melbourne.
Everyone moves to Melbourne. Why? The answer is simple: Melbourne is wonderful. I grew up with starry-eyed notions of Melbourne and its street art and cafe culture and ample music gigs (EVERYONE plays in Melbourne). I think I was sixteen when I first decided I would live in Melbourne one day. But years passed, and then some more years, and the urge to live in Melbourne had somehow faded for me by the time I was ready to leave Brisbane.
Yet, I still love Melbourne. I think I will always love Melbourne, unless something terribly and personally tragic happens to me in Melbourne. I think I have been to Melbourne at least once every year since 2005, and I will more than likely continue the trend of spending my Australian playtime holidays in Melbourne. What I’ve realised about Melbourne lately is that I am a bit in love with the idea of keeping Melbourne as just that—a holiday destination.
Every time I go to Melbourne, I’ve already got a list prepared. The list is full of new things to see and old things to revisit. I try to see as many friends as I can while I’m in town, at either these new or old things, but each year there are more friends to visit and the challenge is greater. Then there are the adventures I stumble across while I’m town, too.
I was back in Melbourne for a week or so at the end of October, just for a break. This was actually my second 2013 Melbourne adventure—I spent my birthday in Melbourne at the other end of the year, when the weather was warm and the air conditioning was on. It was fun to run around at this time of year in my big green coat.
I often go back and forth between friends’ houses and hotels. This trip I stayed with a dear friend who I sharehoused with back in Brisbane years ago. He lives in a suburb of Melbourne I’ve never been before, so it was fun exploring that as one of my new things. It’s full of so many adorable buildings, I just walked around swooning.
The things that mostly fill my list are places to eat and drink, because eating and drinking is the best. I finally got to cross a few places off the list that had been on there for ages:
- Huxtaburger (lived up to sloppy, delicious expectations)
- Proud Mary (lived up to amazing breakfast expectations)
- Wonderbao (lived up to sweet, pork-filled expectations)
- Miss Jackson (lived up to brunch feast expectations)
- Patricia (far surpassed great coffee expectations)
- Bar Lui (far surpassed fancy view expectations to an uberfance experience)
Just to name a few, I guess.
I also rode a lot of trams. I love trams. I have loved Melbourne’s trams since the first time I jumped on board one. I don’t know why. I don’t rely on trams to get me to work, so it’s easy to not hate them, and when I’m on holidays I can generally avoid peak hours, so again with the ease of not hating. I am nervous on buses because I never know where they’re going, and trains are too big to feel much affection for, but trams? I know where trams are going. I love jumping on them and letting them take me there. And I love that they’re around when I think I might walk from Fitzroy to Northcote but then I discover Northcote Hill.
I just really love trams.
And the new things (new for me) I stumbled across? There were plenty of those, too.
- Rockwell & Sons (fancypants hipster burgers—oh my, that rib burger…)
- Truman (brilliant and delicious little cafe near my friend’s place)
- Bar Americano (tiny! secret! cocktails! happy!)
- Cento Mani (lovely coffee shop that had a good machine + eftpos and exceeded expectations)
- Hell of the North (surprise Saturday evening and a “feed me” menu = heaven)
Again… just to name a few.
So yes, Melbourne, I’m still enamoured of you. I still get excited when planning a visit. Every plane trip home, I look forward to coming back. But I’m glad I don’t live in you, because then I don’t think I’d appreciate you and your charms nearly as much as I continue to do.
And let’s be fair, Melbourne—Hobart’s stolen my heart. Even when I’m wandering Melbourne’s streets and grinning to myself, Hobart still pops up to say, Hello. I miss you. Come home soon.
And it’s nice.