Posted by: Rebecca | March 19, 2012

Planning’s great, until you find somewhere you’d like to stay a while longer?

As my friends will know, I’m generally a planner. I live by lists, iron my clothes for work the night before, and order my groceries online. Not surprisingly, therefore, before stepping out of my front door in York, I had an Aussie itinerary – a colour-coded spreadsheet, complete with columns for time zones, flight numbers, currency, climate and things I could do each day. Laugh as you might (will, are, I can hear you… sods!) I figured that doing all this before I left, would mean I didn’t have to waste time planning things when I’m here. I spend enough time at work planning logistics, travel, hotels etc. The last thing I wanted to do over here was that!

Anyway, my spreadsheet was impressive and, whilst the flight details were comprehensive for the whole trip, the ‘what to do’ column only got as far as the Grand Prix (80% rule, right? Cover the important things etc). Thereafter, I knew my Melbourne-based uncle had booked taxis to collect and return us on Monday, so we could go up to his place for a BBQ and a drink or two (ten?). I also knew we were planning to do Yarra Valley winery on Tuesday, then the Great Ocean Road for 3 days after that, ish, sometime, before heading up to Sydney.

The only snag with this plan, is that I’ve taken quite a shine to Melbourne! I really like it here. I like traveling by tram and walking around the city, especially in the evenings. I’ve also got used to the road sense, ie I recognise the bleeps made by the pedestrian crossings, and now understand why, when cars are turning right, they use the left hand lane, (yes left) and it’s actually quite logical!

Everyone’s really chatty and chirpy – for instance, when you walk into a shop, or hotel reception, instead of saying “Can I help?” people say something like “Hey there, and how are you today? What can I help you with?” etc. Random people on the tram, bus or street will just talk to you like they’ve known you for years. It’s just such a welcoming place. The climate is city-bearable (ie it’s warm but not crazy hot or muggy) and some of the developments are very impressive (fire-breathing pillars along the riverside) and pretty (colonial-style housing which looks as though it’s come straight out of the deep south). I haven’t yet been back to St Kilda either (since my slightly excited, tired and drunken first night) and I really want to. So, the thought of leaving town to hit the GOR, then coming back just to leave for Sydney (which I’m sure I’ll love just as much for a multitude of other reasons), is not appealing yet.

Maybe it’s the excitement and enjoyment of an F1 weekend? Meeting some great new people? Drinking far too much? Having a series of late nights (something I thought I was too old to manage anymore!)? Or not feeling guilty about any of the above?! Or maybe I just like Melbourne. Who knows. But from tomorrow, things will change again. F1 will be on its way to Malaysia for race 2; I’ll be seeing my uncle (my brother’s godfather, who I last saw on Simon’s 21st birthday, 15 years ago) and fully expect mum to be in tears at some point (as she hasn’t seen him since then either); and my city-girl lifestyle will soon adjust to coastal, beach girl.

Anyway, as I ponder the next phase of my trip, I’ll leave you to enjoy the race / highlights with Martin (if you’ve got the SkyF1 channel) or Jake, DC and Eddie (if he makes it?!…) and I’ll give you my thoughts on it in the next update…

ttfn /Boxy xx

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