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Remembering Melbourne, Australia

Too much of travelling – if there is ever such a thing – over decades seems to have taken a toll on my memory. When I travelled in the late nineties and early naughts, it was a time we didn’t have digital cameras as readily available now. Mobile phones were just about becoming affordable for the common man, and travelling was without the gadgets of today. Not to mention, no Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to instantly update the progress of these journeys.

While being “disconnected” had a charm of its own, because I never made notes or kept a diary, I realised that I have forgotten a lot about the places and people from these trips. Here I am trying to remember a little…

This time I try to recollect my three week trip to Melbourne in 2001, which was also my first time entering the southern hemisphere.

Now, Melbourne is a city brimming with exciting finds. I was lucky enough to spend a considerable amount of time there, but there’s always a possibility to spend an adventure-filled day in Melbourne if you are short on time.

So, what is it that I remember about my time in Melbourne? Well, let’s start at the very beginning…

I remember my sister winning a return ticket to Sydney.

I remember the name on the unchangeable ticket being that of my father, R.K. Modi, and me travelling on it as our initials are the same. Air travel was more straightforward and relaxed back then, but things, as we know, were about to change, sadly.

I remember the rather long route I took; Delhi – Mumbai – Colombo – Sydney, with a few hours at each airport. The constant worry of being told to turn back because of a name mismatch on the ticket is something I also remember.

I remember the flight from Colombo to Sydney on Sri Lankan Airways, being half empty, which meant travelling in style, occupying 4 seats. It was also the first time I sat in a plane that had “outside cameras,” which at the time was pretty neat.

I remember being heavily jet-lagged on arrival in Sydney and taking a taxi to a beautiful little Bed & Breakfast away from the city centre. Not great if you want to explore the city, but excellent if you’re going to rest and recuperate.

I remember not being able to sleep and renting films at the B&B for the night and watching TV until the early hours.

I remember the excitement as I visited the nearby Fox Studios picking up a M*A*S*H Tee from there. In all honesty, I decided upon my residence based on its proximity to Fox Studios.

From my trip to Australia, I remember the 10-hour train ride to Melbourne and splurging a little by booking a sleeper compartment. I remember my train companion, who was a trained dancer and on his way to perform in Cats in Melbourne.

I remember that even though I was travelling on a budget, the sleeping compartment was a luxury I needed after the cross-continental flight. I didn’t have all the necessary information back then, but I could really have done with a guide for travelling through Australia on a shoestring budget.

I remember my cousin, who never turned up at Melbourne station to pick me up because he overslept. Family! What can you do?

I must stop here for a moment and mention the importance of memories in general when it comes to travel. Even though, as a blogger, I have a lingering desire to write down everything I see, I have learnt to keep some aspects of my travel for myself. But the mind plays tricks with age, and what I remember now, might be forgotten tomorrow.

So, I’ve taken to personalising my thoughts through various items that I can use in the present and even pass on to my children in the future. Personalized By Kate is my go-to place for gifts like puzzles featuring photos from my travels or special wine glasses that commemorate occasions that I will cherish forever. It’s a brilliant idea to add a little personalisation to my life, but most importantly keeps my memories intact and more visible.

I remember stepping into Monash University, where my cousin was staying, and what would be my home for the next three weeks. The perfect abode to reminiscence my college life that ended a year ago.

I remember blending into the students and walking around as if I was one of them. In fact, by the end of it, I was smiling and greeting people I would see regularly.

I also remember meeting a school friend at University unexpectedly.

I remember the long route to the city I had to take, which consisted of taking the bus and then the train, but one that was quite easy on the whole. That’s living in Melbourne suburbs for you.

I remember the underrated charm of Melbourne, starting with the Central Business District reminding me of Canary Warf, London, with its tall buildings. But the beauty of Melbourne is that, just like the people, even the architecture is a mixture of new and old, comprising of both local and international designs.

I remember discovering that Melbourne is a great place to walk around. It’s a city best explored on foot with a tram ride thrown in for good measure.

I remember the people, who besides being laid back – not a cliche once you meet Australians in their natural habitat – were very friendly and helpful.

I remember meeting my college friend in Melbourne and staying at his host family’s house. All of whom have remained dear friends ever since.

I remember how all the malls and shopping centres are connected so that if it rains, you can actually travel from one to another without getting wet.

I remember actually having Australian wine in Australia.

I remember my friend taking me to China Town and just being overwhelmed with the colours and sights and especially the smells. And I somewhat remember an excellent lunch in a small eatery for which we had to climb a couple of floors. I wish I was a “foodie” back then or writing about food. Melbourne is THE place to experience and live food. Maybe, just maybe, these travels are the reason why I enjoy food so much now.

I remember the lights at night that brighten up the city and make it all the more beautiful, glittering and shimmering as people walk the streets merrily.

I remember the cultural diversity that is so abundant in the city. People from all walks of life and from all around the world are living and working together, adding to the charm of Melbourne.

I remember Melbourne being so welcoming that even today, if I had to choose a city to live in, besides my own, it would be Melbourne.

I remember picking up a DVD of my favourite film Almost Famous while walking the streets of Melbourne, even though at the time I did not have a DVD player at home that would play that region.

I don’t remember seeing a Kangaroo, simply because I never came across one. Yes! I went to Australia and did not see a Kangaroo. Beat THAT!

I remember checking if Lady Luck was with me at the Crown Casino. She was, for a fleeting moment. I used the winnings to have a nice dinner at Planet Hollywood.

I remember the tram rides, which were always fun and a great way to travel short distances when I felt oh-so-lazy.

I remember being amazed by the story behind Flinders Street Station and how it might have been “switched” with Mumbai’s Victoria Terminal (Now Chatrapati Shivaji Terminal).

I remember going souvenir shopping, picking up some Aboriginal art, which still hangs in my home office. And a boomerang which still, after more than a decade, is displayed in my home-theatre – never got around to using it though.

I remember the streets, the cafes, the markets, and the obligatory river cruise.

I remember meeting my friend and watching films in one of the many cinemas, although I can’t remember what movie we watched…Hannibal … yeah Hannibal, it was, I think?

I remember taking the Great Ocean Road bus tour and experiencing Australia’s natural beauty first hand. I remember witnessing the 12 Apostles as they all stood tall and brave while the waves came crashing into them.

I also remember managing to view a Koala in its natural habitat on The Great Ocean Road bus tour, so all hope was not lost.

I remember my friend Michael took me to a place where we had the “world’s best fish and chips.” Was is St. Kilda maybe?

I remember visiting the Coop’s Shot Tower in the middle of the Melbourne Business District in Melbourne Central Mall. It was here in the 1880s, lead shot was made by dropping down molten lead from a height so that it took the shape of a “drop” on its way down.

I remember stumbling upon the Melbourne Comedy Festival and experiencing Ozzie humour first hand as I attended a couple of shows.

I remember making the mistake of not taking the sleeper car on the train back from Melbourne to Sydney. It’s a comfortable journey, but sitting down for close to 10 hours can be torture.

I remember the 3 days spent in Sydney being hectic as I tried to cram as much of the city as I could in that time. I remember taking the Hop On Hop Off Red bus on day one to visit the sites this metropolitan city had to offer. The next day it was the Hop On Hop Off Blue bus to take me to a few of the beaches, including the world-famous Bondi beach.

I remember the journey back, the same as the one I took to Sydney via Colombo and Mumbai. Only this time, I decided to stay overnight in Mumbai before I reached Delhi.

Now, more than a decade after my trip Down Under, I wonder what has become of the places I visited. I wonder about everything that I missed out on for one reason or another. I remember not being able to see the penguins at Phillip Island. I remember not going to Melbourne Cricket Ground, which in this day and age, for someone coming from the cricket-loving nation of India, can be considered blasphemy. I remember how three weeks spent in Melbourne just whizzed past really fast. I remember the variety of food available, and my food cravings often make me want to return to Melbourne. I remember how culturally dynamic the city of Melbourne is, and I feel like experiencing that aspect once again.

For now, I sit and dream about my past travels, and I often find myself thinking… when do I go back again?

And as I do that, I wonder how much Melbourne has changed over the years. Has it lost its innocence, or does it still retain its charm?

And then I wonder about things to do in Melbourne with kids because unlike earlier, I now have two kids that travel along with me.

I’m pretty sure it remains as fascinating as before, and I hope that it impresses my children as much as it impressed me.


  • travelerthereisnoroad
    Posted 24 September, 16 at 5:40 AM

    Beautifully written- such wonderful memories! Im sure the city of Melbourne has changed since 2001, but it still has the laid-back, artsy, welcoming vibe that you described.

  • Kerri
    Posted 27 November, 16 at 1:06 PM

    Gosh some epic memories there. Some of them are still the same, whilst technology has obviously changed a few. One of the best cities in Australia.

    • Ticker Eats The World
      Posted 27 November, 16 at 7:28 PM

      Absolutely love it. If there was ever a place I would love to live, it is Melbourne. So vibrant.

  • gokulr27
    Posted 27 November, 16 at 2:31 PM

    That was refreshing post. Good to see you going back to the good ol days. People who travel disconnected are the ones having the best experience. Now all are busy digitizing their memories.

    • Ticker Eats The World
      Posted 27 November, 16 at 7:28 PM

      Thanks and yeah technology has made things easier but it’s nice to be away for a while and just enjoy a place without all the extra baggage.

  • Christina
    Posted 27 November, 16 at 4:45 PM

    So much has happened in the world in such a short period of time. The travel industry has been one industry that has been disrupted by technology for better or worse. I couldn’t imagine travelling without a mobile phone!

    • Ticker Eats The World
      Posted 27 November, 16 at 7:27 PM

      Yeah, it was a different world altogether. At times it was impossible to book a hotel in advance and would have to just reach a place and look to spend the night there. Things have changed.

  • Alouise Dittrick
    Posted 27 November, 16 at 9:50 PM

    Sounds like you had an amazing time in Melbourne. I know there are trips I took from before my blogging time, where I didn’t keep very good journals and I wish I had. It’s hard to remember those details in retrospect, but you did a great job.

    Also Almost Famous is my favourite movie as well. It’s one of those movies I can put out and watch no matter how I’m feeling.

    • Ticker Eats The World
      Posted 27 November, 16 at 11:08 PM

      That’s awesome. There’s something almost calming about Almost Famous for me. As for memories, not a day goes by when I don’t regret not keeping a journal of some sorts when I travelled extensively from 1996 till about 2004. Oh well…

  • Chrysoula Manika
    Posted 28 November, 16 at 12:26 AM

    I also remember my travels back then when we didn’t have digital cameras and traveling was simpler. Such a great way to travel sometimes I miss it!

    • Ticker Eats The World
      Posted 28 November, 16 at 12:30 AM

      I enjoy that I can share but yes also prefer to be away from it all. This past summer did Switzerland by discovering it once we reached there rather than doing too much research beforehand. Thanks

  • durhamslovelifetravel
    Posted 28 November, 16 at 2:53 AM

    neat post and it sounds like you have a lot of fond memories of Australia! It’s to bad you didn’t see a Kangaroo, cause I thought they were everywhere 🙂 nice memories would love to go there some day

    • Ticker Eats The World
      Posted 28 November, 16 at 8:56 AM

      Yeah, you’d imagine that Kangaroos and Australia go hand in hand but because I was mainly in the cities I guess I missed out. Thanks

  • Anita Hendrieka (@AnitaHendrieka)
    Posted 28 November, 16 at 3:02 AM

    I love remembering old travelling memories. Melbourne is such a cool city. I spent about 24 hours there on a layover and didn’t want to leave!

    • Ticker Eats The World
      Posted 28 November, 16 at 8:57 AM

      Cool. Yeah amazing place and so multicultural. Would love to visit it again some day.

  • (@globetotting)
    Posted 28 November, 16 at 6:28 AM

    My memories of travelling pre-smart phones / digital cameras / the internet (now I’m showing my age!) are patchy, too, but there are times when I miss those travelling days. I also miss the days when you could get half-empty flights! That rarely happens now, sigh….

    • Ticker Eats The World
      Posted 28 November, 16 at 8:59 AM

      I know what you mean. More likely a flight will be over booked. Travel has really changed now. I’ve started to do less and less technology while traveling now. But there’s no denying that it’s taken over and we just can’t do without it.

  • Jenna Kvidt
    Posted 28 November, 16 at 1:47 PM

    It’s so great to stop and think about past trips like this! I love reminiscing about our travels, especially the ones prior to laptops, smartphones and so much technology. Travel has certainly changed over the years! Sounds like you had a wonderful trip–one spot I really want to see in Australia is 12 Apostles–looks so gorgeous there!

    • Ticker Eats The World
      Posted 28 November, 16 at 2:24 PM

      Yeah the Great Ocean Road is a wonderful drive. If you can manage do it by renting the car and making it a trip for a few days stopping at some of the sleepy but pretty towns on the way. However I took a organised day trip and it covered most of the basic touristy places.

  • Rhonda Albom (@RhondaAlbom)
    Posted 28 November, 16 at 3:47 PM

    The great thing about travel is the memories you come home with. Although memories may fade, the essence of your travel is still there.

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  • Katherine
    Posted 13 April, 17 at 12:28 AM

    Did your sister not want to go or was it a case of not being able to go since her initials didn’t match the ticket? I can’t believe you took the train to Melbourne… mostly because even though I’m a former Sydneysider, I didn’t realise that you COULD catch a train to Melbourne.
    I hope that you never let your cousin live down that missed pick up!

    • Ticker Eats The World
      Posted 15 April, 17 at 4:00 PM

      She had already been so she got the ticket in my Dad’s name who then wasn’t interested in going so I got lucky. Sydney to Melbourne was a great train ride provided it’s a sleeper car, because don’t think I can do the seat car again. Thanks

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  • Stephanie | Adventures in Aussieland
    Posted 7 April, 18 at 10:32 AM

    I love this post. I was recently thinking back to my first trip abroad trying to see what I remembered. Memories that I thought would forever stay so vivid have started to fade with age and more travels. It’s sounds like you had a wonderful time in Melbourne. I’ve been living here for 4 years now and find something new and incredible about this city each day.

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  • Gail Hays
    Posted 4 November, 22 at 4:49 PM

    Very nnice post

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