Crikey intern Cat Wall writes: There’s often a lot you don’t appreciate about a city until you see it from a tourist’s perspective and, being Perth born and bred, I imagine that applies to Melbourne too. I ventured over here last week to complete a fortnight-long internship at Crikey. Having been here twice before, I had no hesitations in returning for a third visit and each time it’s proven worthy of the journey. I’ve covered a fair bit of the world for a 20-year-old, but Melbourne is still one of my favourite cities.
There’s something about its charisma which engulfs a young traveller. It could just be the tacky charm of 7/11s — the novelty of 24 hour access to something other than dirty kebab stores or the equally greasy McDonald’s chain hasn’t worn off yet given that Perth stores have only recently negotiated staying open past six. This isn’t really helped by a penchant for iced confectionery (I believe they’re called Slurpees here and a tendency to wake up with glucose-induced hangovers.
But I’d say it’s more to do with a relentless sense of curiosity, a fascination with finding the allure of ordinarily overlooked surroundings, and the belief that some things are better expressed through pictures. While office hours and dreary weather have limited levels of intimate exploring, I did get chance to set foot around the city on Sunday. What was it this time that captured the attention span of an outsider looking in?
A life-sized game of chess.
The stunning architecture of Flinders Street Station.
Banksy-inspired graffiti on the daily walk home.
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The city’s annual Christmas decorations.
Something as simple as tall buildings lining narrow streets and the nostalgia it brings of a trip to Rome a few years ago.
Despite its stunning geography and largely flawless weather, Perth is still very much a sleepy little West coast town. There’s not a lot going on – journalistically or otherwise – and most people, myself included, find that an endearing trait. It’s easygoing and a great place to grow up but there’s no denying that it’s a capital city outsider.
I guess the appeal of Melbourne is in its ability to draw those similarities with Perth while still managing to be a real city. It’s cultured, it’s laid back, and it’s without the tourism-oriented façade of Sydney’s city life. I’m not really one for shopping but I’ve heard that’s pretty tops here too.
Maybe all it comes down to is momentarily escaping the cocoon of a particularly stressful final semester at uni, but even the morning commute with Morrissey seems enriched by this city. There’s something to be said about a place where even the ground you walk on leaves its mark.