The next morning, I got up at the abnormal hour of three in the morning to freshen up before heading to the airport to catch my seven am flight. When I got to the airport, my bag was just over the check-in limit so I had to do a last minute rearrangement. This involved putting a two-kilo packet of almonds on my carry-on. I then said a fond farewell to my grandparents before clearing security and waiting for my flight. As an avid Avgeek, I spent most of the waiting time taking photos of the various aircraft that land in Sydney. Unfortunately, because I was in the domestic terminal I could only take photos of regional aircraft.
Some of the scenes at Sydney's Domestic Terminal
The 737 which would take me to Melbourne
This was a shame as Sydney plays host to a range of beautiful long range aircraft that come here.
Soon it was time for boarding and I found out in Australia they use an aerobridge and a stairwell to board the aircraft. This was surprisingly efficient and soon we were on the way to Melbourne. I was fortunate enough to have a party row all to myself. A party row is when the two seats next to you are completely empty. I was able to give the bag of almonds and my laptop bag a seat each.
After the short hop, we soon landed at Melbourne's Tullamarine airport. I collected my suitcase and headed toward the hotel using the super convenient airport shuttle bus.
The ride to the hotel took about half an hour and it was here where I messaged my very good friend Isabelle to see when she could meet up.
She would be meeting me the next day and for now, I had a whole day to figure out what to do. Earlier, I had arranged to meet my good friend Ethan who came with me to South America. We were going to meet up for an early morning coffee and chill for a nice lunch. When I reached my hotel, my room was not yet ready so I had to leave my suitcase with the desk before heading out to meet Ethan.
We met up just after his church service and we spent the time catching up since our last meeting. He was curious to find out what I would be doing in an advertising firm and I was asking about his university exploits. After spending a good amount of the day catching up we went our separate ways and agreed to meet at least one more time before I fly off. I headed back to my hotel room to catch up on a little sleep. Soon after I headed north to the University of Melbourne to meet my friend Advait and his new girlfriend.
More city sightseeing
It was soon evening and I dressed in my finest fleece turtleneck and bomber jacket and headed up north.
My fine turtleneck
Soon I took one of the many tramlines up north and reunited with my buddy Advait. Before heading to dinner he took me around his campus and introduced me to some of his friends. A lot of the older buildings had a strong Hogwarts type vibe about it. Soon we left the campus and headed to an Italian restaurant where we would be meeting Advait’s girlfriend. It was wonderful to finally meet her and we spent the meal just getting to know one another. In the meantime, Advait spent the time catching up since we hadn’t seen each other for several months.
Dessert from a fro-yo place
Soon we headed back to this campus where we all chilled in his dorm room with a huge bunch of his very good friends. Soon it was getting late and I wanted to crash back in my hotel room.
The next morning, I woke up bright and early and hit the farmers market for a light breakfast before meeting my friend Isabelle. I had failed to look up whether the market was open on the day I visited and to my disappointment it was closed. Luckily I was able to find a café that was open and got myself a spot of breakfast.
My morning stroll to the market and breakfast
Soon I walked towards the centre of town for some exploration.
Old Town White Coffee
I then caught a tram to the Collingwood area of Melbourne where I would be meeting Isabelle. We met at one of her favourite cafes to catch up over one of their brilliant cups of coffee. It had been over a year since I last saw her and we were talking about all the things that have happened since then. She then took me for a stroll around the neighbourhood to show me some of the non-touristy sights in Melbourne. Collingwood is pretty much the hipster neighbourhood of Melbourne.
The sight of the very first Coles Store
I was eventually surrounded by a plethora of cafes and vegan-friendly restaurants.
Afterwards, we headed back to her place, but not before stopping at a tea shop, a candle shop and a furniture shop. She describes herself as a homemaker and she takes pride in her home and how it is maintained. When we arrived at her home she introduced me to two of her furry friends, her adorable little cats.
Isabelle's adorable cats
Initially, they didn’t take a liking to me but they eventually warmed up to me. They took an interest in my jacket for some strange reason. After spending some time there hanging out I arranged to meet with her and Ethan. She suggested we try one of her favourite vegetarian restaurants in the neighbourhood for dinner.
I headed back into the city to do a bit more exploration and enjoy a spot of lunch.
With this weather, Melbourne is a great place to explore
After lunch, I realised I had forgotten to give Advait his present which he wanted from Singapore. After running back to my hotel I caught a tram up north to the campus and gave him the gift which was a Singapore flag he wanted for his room. After catching up over a coffee and wishing him luck for his exams, I headed back to my hotel room to crash before heading to dinner.
Ethan woke me up from my nap and we headed to dinner. He had not met Isabelle before so we spent the tram ride up, talking about how I met her and why he was in the same clothes from the day before. After having friendly banter and sending photos to Vinay we soon reached the restaurant. The restaurant was all vegan and there was a wide range of options for me. Soon Isabelle arrived with her boyfriend and we set about getting to know one another before ordering. I got myself the basic bitch burger, this consisted of a quinoa patty with avocado. For dessert, we all shared the chocolate cake with vanilla soy milk ice cream.
Afterwards, we soon parted ways and I headed back to my hotel to prepare for my flight the next day.
My ride back on the SIA 777-300ER
All in all, I had a great trip to Australia. I want to come back and visit Sydney and Melbourne again as I feel now that I’m an adult I can explore more of the city by myself and enjoy it much more. The dream is to do a road trip one of these days where I can explore some of the amazing roads in this country. Now I have the next big chapter to look forward to, life in the United States.