I’ve been in Melbourne for almost a month now (where has that time gone?!) so I feel like a post on my first impressions of Melbourne is long-overdue.
Melbourne is SO European
When I’ve visited Australia before, on ‘gap yah 0.1’, I skipped Melbourne and headed to Sydney. In Sydney there are fruit bats dripping from the trees, beautiful beaches and blinding modern architecture. You feel like you are on the other side of the world.
In Melbourne you feel like you have hopped over the English Channel.
I pointed this out to friends and family who asked whether this was a disappointment. I don’t think it is. Melbourne has taken the best of Europe, its grungy edge and ingrained coffee culture and done it better (soz Europe).
Melbourne instantly felt familiar but excitingly exotic at the same time. It was just what I needed to ease me into my new life of full-time travel.
I have recently moved to Fitzroy, the hipster epicentre of Melbourne. Every single coffee shop is a hipster/instagrammer’s dream with exposed brick walls and vegan brownies galore.
On the vegan note, who thought Oz would be so full of them?! The legendary meat-eaters seem to be jumping ship for a lifetime of kale smoothies and clean living! I still can’t get over the fact that we had a hard time finding a houseshare because we weren’t vegan. So many Gumtree ads specified vegan-only housemates. WTF.
I know I’ve already said that Melbourne is European BUT it’s also crazily Americanised. I think this is more of an Australia in general phenomenon and something I happily managed to overlook on my last visit here.
Everything is heavily consumer-driven, the adverts of tv are mental and SO frequent it makes watching a single program a major commitment.
There’s also a massive gambling culture here which I blame on the USA. ‘Pokies’ (slot machines to us Brits) are everywhere and available 24/7. Melbourne is also home to a massive casino which rivals those of Las Vegas.
In my colonial head I thought Australia was way more Britain orientated but, much like everywhere else on the planet, America seems to be taking over. It means I get to watch plenty of crappy tv though. Thank you USA!
Awesome Street Art
My oh my the street art is incredible. It may even be a tad better than Berlin’s… Bold claim I know!
It’s just the talent behind them, pretty much every piece is an amazingly beautiful work of art. Especially where I’m based in Fitzroy, where every street corner is decorated with stunning murals.
Keep your eyes peeled for a post dedicated to Melbourne’s street art.
I though that the UK had prepared be for unpredictable weather that changes at the drop of a hat but not so. Melbourne is something new entirely. There’s a saying here that they have ‘4 seasons in a day’ which I had politely laughed at and shrugged off. But it’s true!
I get anxiety having to decide what to wear each day. Do I bring my coat and have to lug it around with me when it decides to be 28 degrees? Or leave it at home and risk freezing when the temperature sinks into the low teens?! It’s turmoil, I know.
Although things are looking up, apparently it’s just consistently drizzling in winter. Woo!
Everyone is attractive
It’s as if we’ve wandered into Scandinavia where everyone is flawlessly tanned and effortlessly cool.
Walking down Acland Street in St Kilda is very depressing when you’ve just stepped off a plane shrivelled and crumpled. Expect trim girls in tight-fitting gym wear, guys with perfect beards and even children who dress themselves better than you do.
Maybe some of it will rub off on me?!