Thursday, November 15, 2018

Good day, Melbourne!

Adulting is tough. You need to juggle a lot of responsibilities in life like bills, bills, and bills. I would often hear people complaining about this vicious cycle. Yes, it is tough to keep up with everything, but everything is possible. That's why my ATC batch mates who share the same passion for traveling would always make sure that we would have at least one or two trips abroad each year. This year, we chose Melbourne, Australia.

Traveling with these people was easy, except for a minor speed bump we encountered days before our trip (*ahem* visa application of one of our companions). But all is well. Here's how we conquered the second most livable city in the world.

My friends arrived a little past five in the afternoon at Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport, while I was still en route to Singapore for my connecting flight to Melbourne. The dawn was breaking as we entered the Australian airspace.  For some reasons, we arrived thirty minutes ahead of our scheduled arrival. Yeah great news for everyone, but the pilot burst the bubble after he made an announcement.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to announce that we have arrived at Melbourne thirty minutes ahead of our scheduled arrival. However, due to the lack of parking space at the airport, the ground controller advised us to wait for another 30 minutes before we proceed to our assigned gate."

Wow, so much for the roller coaster of emotions in just two sentences.

Commuting from the airport to the central business district is already considered an immersion to the local culture. As the city lacks train connectivity to and from Essendon and Tullamarine Airports, you'll immediately feel like a local as you'll sit hours at the freeway because of the traffic. Upon arrival at Southern Cross station, I made my way to Flinders Station where I met up with my friends who were having lunch near Yarra River. Not to mention that they were all fresh and clean compared to me, I haven't had a decent shower for more than 24 hours already. Ewww.

For four days, we toured around Melbourne and the nearby towns of the state of Victoria. We went to St. Kilda Beach and endured the bitter cold wind despite the sunny weather. We also visited some key spots around the city like St. Patrick Cathedral, the iconic Flinders Station, Melbourne Central, State Library of Victoria, and other shopping centers of the city. We also dedicated one whole day for the Great Ocean Road Tour. Even though it was my second visit, I still enjoyed it. I mean, I will never get tired with the view.

I also did the unusual thing a tourist can do in Melbourne - ghost tour at Pentridge Prison. None of my friends wanted to join me because they were too scared! Sorry, but being a history nerd, no one can stop me from exploring the dark corners of one of Australia's haunted places.

Traveling with your close friends is fun. It breaks the vicious and toxic cycle of adulthood. While in Melbourne, we had the chance to know more ourselves through traveling. We also got the chance to try some of the city's best flat whites and food. The food scene is always a treat in Melbourne.

Melbourne is a great place to travel. It is easy to navigate around, but a part of me wishes train connectivity from Tullamarine Airport to the downtown area. The city is not perfect, and it has its flaws. But I guess, that makes Melbourne one-of-a-kind. It is not pretentious and too sterile to live in or visit. It has a character which is well-loved by the locals and visitors.

I wouldn't mind going back to Melbourne over and over again and enjoy their flat white.

God, I still can't get over with their flat white!

Here are some of the photos taken during our four-day adventure in the land down under.

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