UrbanLegends: The Guy Who Flies… to Melbourne!
One of my first blogging interviews was at the invitation of “The Guy” from Flights And Frustration, who also goes by the name “The Guy Who Flies”. And now it’s my turn to return the favour! The Guy has been a long term international business traveller. He has flown abroad almost every month since May 2000. In the period between May 2000 to September 2001 he was based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The Guy has been blogging for more than 2 years on his site Flights And Frustration. He also helps spread news of other travel bloggers via his second site Travel Blogger Interviews. And he loves Melbourne, home of UrbanDuniya!
What is your favourite city in the world, and why?
Normally I would say Prague, however I haven’t been there for 14 years so feel as though I wouldn’t know the place anymore. Of the places I visit more recently I’d say Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) has to be one of the greatest and favourite cities that I know.
When did you first visit the city, and what was your experience like?
I first visited in August 2002. At first I was quite amused since I was visiting from the UK and it was the height of an Australian winter. A lot of the locals were walking around the South Bank shivering and wrapped up in their jackets and coats. I was there with just a T-shirt on enjoying the mid to low teen temperatures. I was thinking to myself do you really think this is cold?
Temperature aside I was at first a little underwhelmed by the city. I’d been sold on the tourism of Sydney, their gorgeous harbour, the bridge, the Opera House and all that goes with it. People had often told me as to how wonderful Melbourne was. Yet at first I couldn’t see the natural beauty of the place so was feeling underwhelmed. Also as someone who was desperate to see rugby league Australian style then Melbourne was maybe not the best city to get that fix.
Like all good things this city just grows on you. As I’ve revisited the city I’ve really appreciated why it is such an amazing city.
As a city it is so well structured. It has some of the best transport links of any city in the world, plus the centre (the CBD) is nice and compact, so much so that it is easy to get around on foot.
The weather although changeable is very appealing.
The place just oozes class and is undoubtedly the fashion capital of Australia if not the southern hemisphere. Chic isn’t the half of it. As you walk around the CBD you can’t but be impressed at how stylish and beautiful everyone looks.
Event wise the city is perfect. Venues are within walking distance of the CBD. There are always some sporting events going on or concerts and shows at the many theatres.
The place is also bustling with a cafe culture and the Australian love for fine coffee. Eating and drinking is never a challenge as everything is catered for in abundance.
Do you have a special memory attached to this city, and what is it?
A weekend in November 2003 stands out for me as the greatest sporting and event filled weekend I’ve ever had anywhere. Little wonder Melbourne is seen as the sporting capital of the world.
The weekend began on the Friday night as I made my first ever trip to the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground). I attended with some colleagues to see an international rules (AFL v Gaelic Football) between Australia and Ireland. Since I’m half Irish it was great fun and Ireland won too 🙂
The next day we headed off during the day time up to Flemington race course. It was the beginning of the Melbourne Cup race meeting and this was Derby Day. We had a fabulous time in the hospitality beer tents, we went to watch the races and I think we had a few winners that day too. Even though it was overcast most of the day we still somehow managed to get sunburn.
After a quick return to my hotel to shower off we all met up again in the evening. After a few social drinks we headed to the big stadium located behind Southern Cross Station (now called The Etihad). We were watching a 2003 Rugby Union World Cup match between Australia and Ireland. Sadly Ireland didn’t win that night but it was a great event.
To round it all off on the Tuesday was Melbourne Cup Day. So I headed back up to Flemington for one of the biggest race meetings in the world. Sadly no winners for me that day, but what a weekend!
What is your idea of a perfect day in this city?
I would begin the day by enjoying a typical Australian coffee with breakfast at one of the many wonderful cafes you can find along the lanes littered across the CBD.
I would then wander through the CBD enjoying all the great shops that they have to offer. From high fashion to electronics, great food and music I would easily lose hours window shopping. Then if my budget is a little stretched I’d head north west of the CBD to the Victoria Markets where I’m sure to find a bargain.
Mid afternoon I’d head south of the Yarra river to Olympic Boulevard. Hopefully I can then get my RL fix as I watch the Melbourne Storm play at AAMI Stadium.
After a great NRL game I’d probably get a tram back to the city. There are so many great places to eat in Melbourne that I’d probably settle down in China Town or the Greek Precinct for food from places I love.
After dinner I’d head to the Irish Times on Little Collins for a schooner or two.
Then as the sun is about to set it is a tram ride down to St Kilda beach. Then just off the pier at the breakwater I could watch the St Kilda penguins come in for the evening.
Yet another fun filled and memorable day in Melbourne 🙂
If this city was a person, what would he/she be like?
I can’t help but say that she would be a perfect partner for me. She’d be extremely well organised, friendly, entertaining. Dressed to impress whilst being very sporty and cultured.
Is there anything you don’t like about this city? (be honest!)
Melbourne is absolutely full of street art, it is everywhere. Whilst I must admit that I’m in two minds as to whether I agree with the concept of street art or not (vandalism v expression) I must admit that places like Hosier Lane has some wonderful creations in a designated spot. Yet in spite of this it seems that most buildings are full of scrawling, graffiti writing. I find this very ugly and a real eye sore. I don’t understand why people can’t respect the property of others.
If you could sum up this city in a word, what would it be?
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