If you you were to liken the cities of Melbourne and Sydney as two of Mother Australia's offspring I think it's fair to say that Sydney is the one who did well at school, got a highly paid job and is naturally good at all sports. Melbourne is the more creative and edgier younger sibling who scraped through school but ended up an incredibly talented graphic designer, is covered in tattoos and skateboards to work. Both know how to have a good time, how to cook a delicious meal and offer up great culture, but it has to be said that while Sydney will mix you the finest cocktail, Melbourne will serve up a better cup of coffee.
My recent trip to Australia included virgin visits to both cities. I loved Sydney and I loved Melbourne, and like Mother Australia I would find it hard to pick a favourite, However, it has to be said that I felt more at home in Melbourne, though I can assure you that I neither have tattoos or ride a skateboard to work (I am too scared on both counts).
They say Melbourne is one of the most "liveable" cities in the world, and I couldn't have found a better word to describe it. It's easy to get around, the sun is warm (when it shines) and people seem to enjoy and be very proud of living there.
I took lots of photos during my time in Melbourne staying with a friend and his family and here are some of my favourites which capture the many different corners of the vibrant, multi-cultural, artistic city that really doesn't care if its big brother Sydney gets more attention. They are all the reasons I loved Melbourne.
I loved being in Melbourne on Australia Day and watching a variety of very different people celebrate their shared country. I loved sweating in St Kilda on what was the hottest day of our Australian adventures and being spoilt for choice when it came to taking refuge somewhere cooler. I loved finding AC DC Lane and Dame Edna Place. I loved being surrounded by more street art than I could take in. I loved learning that coffee is a daily human right and this means not serving it in cups as big as
your head.I loved the rattling of the trams, especially the older ones. And how wonderful that the City Circle tram is free and plays tourist and historical information along the way. I loved going for brunch with a friend of mine who used to live in London and finding out brunch is about salad, roasted vegetables and corn cakes as much as it is bacon and eggs. I loved eating pizza and drinking cider in Little Creatures Dining Hall.I loved the Victoriana of Melbourne's lanes and arcades, so similar to those I've wandered through in Leeds and Mayfair. I loved seeing how Melbourne's Luna Park was the same as but also different to Sydney's Luna Park.And when my camera wasn't there I still loved Melbourne...
I loved being invited to go to an art exhibition with a group of born and bred Melbournians and seeing their genuine interest in the work and the artist, especially if they are local too.
I loved walking around Carlton and Brunswick and recognising the names of roads and the fronts of restaurants that had been featured in one of my favourite TV series, Underbelly.
I loved drinking prosecco at Joe's Shoe Shop in Northcote and then getting a kebab from local hero Haci's.
I loved staying and eating (A LOT) with a Greek-Australian family who had a real passion for their home city.
I loved promising myself and Melbourne that I will return as soon as I can.
Frances M. Thompson
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