Before I moved to Australia, I can't begin to tell you how many times I heard 'Travelling eh? Mark my words - you're going to get to the other side of the world and fall in love...' I honestly think that if I had a quid for everyone who said something along those lines, I could have at least funded my flight ticket here - and probably bought a couple of new bikinis too.
Being the stubborn little sod that I am, I made the decision very early on, that under no circumstances whatsoever, would I prove anybody right in their premonitions, and I would remain firmly apathetic.
As much as half of me is dying for everybody to be wrong, the other half of me is more than ok with everybody in fact being right - and I'm ready to accept that I've gone and fallen completely head over heels in love. Admittedly it might be with a city and not with some random stranger I met at boozy bingo, but that still counts, right?
In my defence, Melbourne is pretty damn easy to fall in love with. I've managed to find myself a nice little place right on the beach, a tram ride away from the city and a short drive away from the Dandenong Mountain Ranges. I can go from swimming in the sea, to getting lost for hours in the ridiculously huge shopping centres in the city, to climbing trees (and falling out of trees) in the mountains - all in the space of a day. (And seriously - leave trails of breadcrumbs if you go shopping in the city. I couldn't find my way out of The Emporium for nearly an hour and have been too scared to go back in since.)
Melbourne is a city abundant in culture, with unbelievable food and insanely good desserts. I've indulged myself in every cuisine imaginable, and never before moving here had I found myself halfway through a meal, excited to be hungry again just so I can try something else. There's street art on every corner, and the buskers are so talented I could watch them for hours. There are hidden laneways, quirky little bars, night markets, and so many ice cream flavours that I really do fear I won't get the chance to try them all. The people here are the friendliest I have encountered - I challenge anybody to make it through an entire day without someone striking up a conversation with them in the street. Even the public transport system is cheap, runs on time and is therefore worth a mention! (Although even the Kenyan public transport I found to be more reliable than Bristol's...)
I'm pretty sure that Bristol is always going to be my number one. I love it with all my heart, and I can't imagine anywhere else ever getting me like Bristol does. But Melbourne has well and truly got my heart in a headlock - and something is telling me that it's going to be my first love of many on this trip....