Arriving at night awarded Melbourne an impressive air as we crossed the bay bridge and gravitated toward the bright lights of the CBD.

Our abode here was luxurious compared to the hostels we had become accustomed to. Susannah and Rowan (family friend) had kindly offered us their spare room for a few days while we explored their home from home. As much a backpacking is the life we chose for now there is nothing like the comforts of home, even if it is not your own. Being surrounded by the warmth of friends, clean dry warm fresh-smelling fluffy towels, soft comfortable bed, efficient washing machine and detergent, homely kitchen, television etc and all complimentary too. For us this was heaven! After a delicious ‘welcome’ supper, I joke with Susannah that their abode would of course be included and scored our rated travel accommodation list on our blog. Obviously  there was nothing to concern her as their score is a clear 5/5 with the ultimate in luxury being able to lie-in passed 8am and not have to pack our bags for check out for a few of days. Bliss! Thank you again ;)


Susannah and Rowan’s lovely St Kilda East home

The weather in Melbourne was not in our favour and resembled the gray skies of London. In fact the river here was reminiscent of the River Thames and for us the whole city felt like a mini London. This was both a plus (it felt very familiar) and a minus (it was just all too familiar). We joked on our trip that around every city corner there is an EY building and here we found a Nokia Care store too! Both previous clients.

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Still, we had a lovely time here visiting art galleries, design and film museums.

The National Gallery of Victoria was showing a truly sensational exhibition called ‘Moon in Reflection’ by Kim Hoa Tram who is a Melbourne based Vietnamese born Chinese artist. The exhibition of large simple artworks, which marry Chinese calligraphy with Chan (Zen) Buddhism to illustrate the path to enlightenment, are both profound and beautiful. I have subsequently bought ‘The Essential Dalai Lama’ which is the first book of his collected wisdom. Buddhism is a way of life I have always wanted to learn about and which has since expanded my approach to life. This purchase has please J greatly and we now have discussions about the Buddhist teaching together!

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Melbourne was a very social spot for us. Kelly (Haywood) and her partner John have emigrated recently and we met over drinks and dinner. Emigration seems good for them and they look well on the, usually great, weather and outdoors lifestyle. I however sense they question how much the 9-5 is inhibiting their discovery of Australia itself. We hooked up for coffee with Frankie & Andy (a fun English couple we met in Adelaide) who are travelling with their delightful 2yr old daughter. It was great to see that travelling with a young children in not as prohibitive and daunting as we had been lead to believe.

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Of all the cities in Australia that we could potentially move to, Melbourne would be our choice. We love the outdoors lifestyle coupled with interesting architecture and a vibrant creative and cultural edge. The suburban housing has all the quintessential character that is missed elsewhere in Australia. But if we were to emigrate her I would ask myself if this… “Would it become another London experience on the other side of the world?” Which confirms the idea that it is not particularly another country we are looking for it is another way of life.

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Susannah & Rowan: we would both like to thank you for your kindness at having us to stay. Our welcome was warm and your food delicious. Thank you for allowing us free reign in your home and for couriering for my belongings over. We wish you both well and your silver lining is around the corner.

Kelly & John: It was lovely to catch up after so long. Melbourne seems like a great place and ideally suited to you being full of very sporty/arty people. We wish you well with your new job, just don’t get too sucked in! Enjoy the skiing and remember there is the whole of Australia to see and it is so worthwhile ;)

Frankie & Andy: Lovely to have caught up in Melbourne. Enjoy your trip in Indonesia. NZ has been a ball so far with mainly blue skies and warm temperatures, but navigating passed the many washouts and potholes can be fun! Hope to see you in SE Asia.