Adventures with Hot Chocolate

My very first travel post special. Not too long ago, I had the privilege of making a trip down under, visiting 2 of my closest friends in Melbourne and Sydney. Without a doubt, I had the best holiday ever. As a disclaimer, this post is not going to be describing too many tourist attractions in Melbourne or Sydney. I had only spent 4 days in each city with much time spent shopping. I just want to share this beautiful experience with all, to the best of my ability.

When I returned from my trip, many people, who had been to Australia or know much about the place, asked if I went to this place or that place, if I did this or did that and I find myself appearing to have missed out on many attractions. And yes, I did feel like the trip was somewhat too short. The lasting impression and memories have given me a whole new look on life, as I now explore the possibilities of moving and working overseas.

Despite the 8-hour flight, during which I did not sleep a wink, I did not feel a single bit of fatigue. Upon touchdown at Tullamarine Airport, Melbourne, I felt as if I was transported to a paradise on earth. The nice cool air was rejuvenating, my body was too occupied absorbing all the sights and sounds of this city to realize that it had been awake for over 24hrs.

Taking a shuttle service from the airport to the hotel, it took approximately 25 minutes. Through cheaperthanhotels.com, I had found a good deal at Cosmopolitan Hotel in the suburb of St Kilda, just off Acland Street. My friend lived a short walk away, making it very convenient for us to meet up during the trip.

Traveling in Melbourne was fairly convenient, as the tram service was very accessible.  Shopping was great as we visited Chapel Street, DFO at South Wharf and Smith Street. Food was tricky as the portions were larger than Singapore’s, and slightly more expensive. Traveling with a budget, we had to be prudent in ordering food, ensuring that there would be enough for all without over-ordering!

On the 4th day of my trip, we then took an hour-long domestic flight to Sydney. This being my first domestic flight, it was interesting to note that it felt like taking a bus with security. The plane was literally an airbus. The taxi trip from the airport to my friend’s apartment at Purvis Street was about 15 mins. My impression of Sydney was a lot more city-like, with more high-rise buildings and the large numbers of Asians we met in the city added to the cosmopolitan nature of the place.

Shopping in Sydney was just as good, especially at Paddington. Trendy fashion shops lined up along the streets, coupled with the artsy bookshops, cinema and cafes.

Technically, very little sightseeing was done. Besides visiting Darling Harbour and the Sydney Opera House, I hardly went remotely close to any famous sites in Australia. But the vibrant streets and beautiful architectures of Melbourne and Sydney made up for the lack of sightseeing. It was a nice mixture of vintage and colonial influenced buildings with the modern contemporary “glassy buildings”.

Up until now, you must be wondering what is with the Hot Chocolate. Well, one very key aspect of traveling is the weather. As Australia was transiting into Autumn/Fall, it was starting to get chilly and windy. The average temperature in the Melbourne was approximately 12 degree Celsius, dropping to single digit during the night. Though it was slightly warmer in Sydney, throughout the entire trip, it was extremely comforting to always stop for a cup of coffee or to have a hot chocolate to go. I wonder if it was the weather or its very own nature, but Australia exuded a chill, laid-back feel; a relaxed environment where one could stop to enjoy the world. People were always friendly and very willing to help you find that perfect pair of jeans.

A picture paints a thousand words; below are some pictures from the trip.

St Kilda
Acland Street
Cake Shop along Acland Street
Best Burgers In The World
A Vintage Shop at Smith Street
Inside a Cafe
Melbourne City
Little Alley with Great Food
Sydney Opera House
A Cinema along the streets of Sydney

To conclude, a holiday is more than just the place. It’s the experience and the people you travel with can make a world of difference. Moments from the holiday are stored in these freeze frames, which inspired me to pick up a Holga and start appreciating the beauty around me.

It’s a pity the photos are not that great but I hope to take better ones the next time I’m there! And this time, with my Holga!

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