Does it ever feel like some places are made just for you and no one else? That’s how I feel about Melbourne. I’ve never taken my family to Melbourne. Every time I’ve been, it’s been a solo trip, and next month, after a five year absence, I’ll be wandering the lane ways and tramways of this gorgeous city once again.
This time I’m visiting for business, but memories of trips past will no doubt haunt me as I explore the wonderful hidden cafes and bustling shops in Melbourne’s cobbled CBD.
While I love taking the kids to Sydney, with it’s ships, kinaesthetic museums, bumpy ferry rides and iconic landmarks, Melbourne holds a special place in my heart.
My Jewish grandparents built their first house in Melbourne. in 1939, they had smuggled diamonds into Australia to help them start a new life in suburban Prahran, away from Nazi-dominated Europe. After the war, my Great Aunty had moved to Melbourne. She spent the war hiding out in Budapest, Hungary, in another family’s house under an assumed identity. What was fascinating to me was that even at 90, she still didn’t want anyone to know she was actually Jewish. She had been a Catholic since the war and was scared that her neighbours would find out the truth.
One of the reasons I’m looking forward to this trip is so I can visit the holocaust museum. My grandparents may be gone, along with great aunty Nora, but their legacy lives on in the lives of their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. The house my grandparents built still stands, in more ways than one.
The other reason Melbourne is all mine is vastly more personal. It was when I was in Melbourne five years ago that I was pregnant with my 4th baby. That weekend I became gravely ill, and barely made it onto the plane home. Two days later I was fighting for my life in a hospital bed in Ipswich. What I had thought was just Gastro turned out to be an Ectopic Pregnancy.
Despite everything, I am thankful for what happened… If it weren’t for that experience, my life would be incredibly different. I started up my own business and made a fresh bid to live every day to its fullest thanks to that journey. And now, as I contemplate going back there, it feels like I’ve come full circle.
Melbourne and I have some reckoning to do. So, yes, Melbourne is for me. Maybe someday I’ll take the kids, but right now, it’s mine to enjoy and absorb.
What’s your favourite just-for-you city?