Australia – Land of my childhood dreams! I wanted to visit this continent since I was two years old. Back then I wanted to have a kangaroo and jump with it through the australian bush. This childish dream faded, but still, the fascination for this country remained and you can imagine how enthusiastic I was when we landed in Melbourne. I got even more excited when we saw our first kangaroos on the way from the airport to the city. A moment that filled my heart with joy and my eyes with tears of happiness.
We arrived in Melbourne on a lovely evening. After two months of traveling in a Campervan and sharing the bathroom with many other women I was looking forward to a real bed and bathroom privacy. Also was I longing for a vibrant global city with all it’s amenities. New Zealand was amazing, but two months of nature had made me wanting to be a city girl again.
Melbourne is a big city. And global. And multicultural. And full of life. We stayed in Collingwood (with two guys in their apartment), a neighborhood similar to Friedrichshain or Kreuzberg in Berlin. But it was not only similar, it seemed Melbourne is the older brother. Well, I can’t tell by the club culture, but the street styles of the people, the amazing street art and the overall present message “All people are equal, no matter who they love” were more diverse and open. The CBD is the one of a global city. High skyscrapers reached into a blue sky, people of all kinds were walking through endless streets with shopping malls, clubs and restaurants–many of them with the typical “big city attitude”. The architecture was fascinating. Glas and steel skyscrapers, old wooden townhouses, brick houses from old factories and inbetween buildings like the Parliament of Victoria or St. Paul’s Cathedral. I took hundreds of photos, but I realized that architecture photography is difficult and I definitely have to work on that.
Due to a big Chinese community Melbourne celebrated the Chinese New Year with a more than two weeks long festival–which luckily took place while we were there. This meant food stands, dance and musical performances and amazing and loud fireworks (Torben and I were walking along the river beside the food stands when I asked him „How do we know where exactly the fireworks will be?“, when ear shattering noises, gunshot like, exploded right next to us above the river–we had found the fireworks). These fireworks, by the way, were longer, louder and more beautiful than the one we had seen in Wellington. It was not only Chinese New Year, but also a second one for us.
Of course we visited the famous Queen Victoria Market. But as great as Melbourne was for us, the market wasn’t what we had expected. Long rows of stands with clothes, bags, hats, household things and nick-nack. We looked at each other. „I thought it was all about food“, I said disappointed. We found a few food stands who were closed and couldn’t imagine that was all. After a while we found stands with vegetables, fruits, herbs, eggs, honey and nuts. But only two rows (there had been four or five clothing rows). The two rows had great products. All fresh and good looking. Much better than in the supermarket. But still, nothing new. Where were the stands with meat, fresh fish, and most important: with food ready to eat? Finally we found a building opposite the market where all this was. And we hoped to find new products and could taste food, we had never seen before… but we were disappointed again. Fish, prawns, lots of oysters and meat like in the supermarket. Sandwiches, pies, lots of italian food, coffee and a bakery. We had hoped for a little bit more australian food culture but couldn’t find it there. I feel sorry, that we were so disappointed, but couldn’t help it otherwise. The Chinese food instead was brilliant. Another day we had a great dumpling dinner in a famous dumpling restaurant (as we realized later).
A must see in Melbourne is St Kilda. A neighborhood with a nice beach south of the CBD. You can see the skyline of the city, walk along the beach, have some drinks at the waterfront or in one the cafes or bars in the town and last but not least visit the adventure park „Luna Park“. A totally relaxed atmosphere surrounded us. At sunset beach volleyball fields were build up free to join for everyone. We decided to walk along the St Kilda pier to take photos of the skyline. Many other people passed by while we were fighting with the wind to see a small penguin colony returning from their day out in the ocean. Some locals were fishing. And again, everything was easy and relaxed.
After a week of sunny days and city life we decided to leave Melbourne. Australia was waiting and we were ready to explore the east coast!