The Trip That Started It All: Melbourne, Australia

Gelato in Little Italy one day, Indian food the next, a German foreign film another, and Australian “No Worries” every day.

All of this and more can be found in Melbourne, Australia (pronounced Mel-Ben), a city that’ll always be dear to my heart. A diamond that doesn’t bother to shine, Melbourne simply knows its own worth and waits for you to discover it. Years later, it would make the NYT’s 36 Hours series not once but twice.

After visiting a few galleries as a class requirement when abroad, it quickly dawned on me that Melbourne was a place with a definite art scene. I mean, this was a place where graffiti was legal.

I enjoyed Melbourne’s laid-back, artsy vibe more than Sydney. If my friends and I weren’t taking university-sponsored weekend trips outside the city,  we were bouncing around from one festival, museum, or night market to another. We even made it to a FINA water polo match.

When not studying or traveling, my roommate and I would walk down to the landmark Queen Victoria Market for grocery shopping. While I calculated exactly how many kilograms of something I needed for a recipe, my roommate would ask for “two big handfuls” (guess which one of the two of us is more free-spirited).

I still remember the butcher we went to at the market because his face said that he was friendly before he even opened his mouth.

And I still remember Melbourne.