13.12.2014 - 01.01.2015
Been in Melbourne now for just over three weeks now, and it's a little bit weird, because on one hand it feels like the time (not to mention the money) has flown by and like it hasn't been that long, on the other hand with how familiar and comfortable I am with St Kilda it feels like I have been here all my life. That is not to say that I don't feel like I stick out like a sore thumb amongst the hipsters and cool people that litter the bars, streets and beaches of this place, but it really is a great place to live. I really love the feel of this part of Melbourne, it is so laid back and with an endless supply of cool bars, the beautiful beach and the city so easily accessible this really feels like the place to be in Melbourne. The city of Melbourne itself also has a very different feel compared to Sydney for example, again it just feels a lot more laid back and chilled out, there is still the hustle and bustle that comes with been in a big city but it doesn't seem as frenetic.
As far as Christmases go, I have to say that this has been one of my strangest. My first one away from home so it no real surprise and it was to be expected I guess with travelling, but it just never felt like Christmas. It seems impossible to get into the Christmas spirit in such a hot climate and whilst I did my best to get in the spirit it just wasn't happening, even watching Elf didn't help!! Don't want to complain too much, as I wouldn't swap my experiences while travelling for the world, just giving my point of view on the matter. Christmas day was spent on the beach with a few cold ones, as seemed only appropriate given my location, and it was definitely a fun day spent with a few friends just hanging out and enjoying the sun. What more can you wish for when your away from your family and friends, and I did manage to speak to the guys back home on the day so that was nice. The definite highlight of the Christmas period was the two days I spent at the Boxing Day test, this was just one of those experiences that I felt I had to do (being a Yorkshire lad) and it was every bit as iconic and spectacular as I could have hoped for. Been there for the opening ball of a Boxing Day test is something I will never forget. I had visited the stadium from the outside the previous Friday, but to see it from the inside it seemed almost Colosseum like and as I looked round this massive arena awaiting the action to start I had goose bumps, although this could have been to do in part with been in the shade with the breeze blowing. When the action started I got to witness the noisy and excitable Indian cricket supporters and the brilliant atmosphere they bring, especially given an early wicket to celebrate. I have to say the action did not disappoint with both teams putting on a show, but it was just brilliant to take in the whole atmosphere of both the days of test cricket with the raucous Australian section of the crowd providing constant entertainment, the different vantage points that you can take up throughout the ground giving impressive views and the grassy surrounding areas of the ground which at lunch came to life with lots of people playing cricket or sitting having lunch. Like I say these were days not to be forgotten in a hurry!
New year's eve was another very different experience with the massive fireworks display that lit up the Melbourne skyline providing a much I needed change to the normally quiet night I have back home. They put on quite a spectacular show, with the impressive city playing centre stage, It was great walking around the closed off streets of the CBD and seeing everyone in such high spirits, and it was impossible not to be excited about the coming of a new year. I stood on the bridge over the Yarra River and watched massive fireworks explode from the top of huge skyscrapers, and I couldn't help but feel like a little kid as it's just not what I am used to and again it was something that I will cherish all my life. Having said all that I watched the Sydney display on the big screen at Federation Square the next day and it seemed to kick Melbourne's arse, so think that may be where I spend my next new years out here.
So looking back this festive period has been different, definitely not bad, just different I guess! But now I am looking forward to delving deeper into what this brilliant city has to offer, exploring more of the suburbs, getting stuck into the attractions and taking in all the events that this sporting city can throw at me, with the tennis looming large on the calendar and a must see. After all not often you get these types of opportunities. I hope 2015 will be every bit as exciting as 2014 was. If it is even half as good it will be amazing and I can't wait for it!!