Melbourne, Victoria (Australia)

May 03, 2017

Flying to The Land Down Under, even on an economy seat, is very expensive.  However, since Australia's PR visa requires activation (that is, you have to physically travel to the country and have it validated through immigration or passport control), and we're not ready to move permanently just yet, we decided it would be best for us to just do an initial entry instead and explore the country where we are planning to settle for good, eventually.

To be honest, we don't know anyone from Melbourne, but we chose it to be our point of entry simply because the airline tickets are more affordable when you land here (compared to Sydney).  #frugalspending

We arrived at Victoria's capital city on the evening of Palm Sunday, so the first thing on our itinerary was to attend an 8 pm Holy Mass in St Agustine, a church that's only a few blocks away from the hotel where we were staying.  The church's modest building size perfectly suits its small close-knit community, where people are warm and friendly.  I liked how they shake hands to greet each other "peace be with you" during mass and I was even more surprised to find their priest standing by the door after the recessional to personally wish every mass goer "good night."  It was, indeed a great first night in Australia and I must say, I'm loving the place already!

The following day was dedicated entirely for touring the city center.  Oh, how I love Melbourne's free tram zone!  It makes sightseeing even more enjoyable because you don't have to worry about your dollars going down the drain just for transportation.  In a country where EVERYTHING seems to be so expensive (Just imagine paying AUD 2 for a 500ml bottled water, crazy right!?!), every penny really counts.

Another thing my husband and I really appreciate about Melbourne is that locals are generally honest individuals -- based on our experience.  Like we were supposed to take a cab going home, but instead of grabbing the opportunity to have us as prospective passengers, the taxi driver sincerely told us that our destination is just two blocks away so we might as well walk our way there to save our money.  On another instance, Ron was about to buy an adaptor but was told by the shop owner that the universal charger my husband actually owns (he brought it along with him to the store) only needs a few tweaking in order to fit a socket.  I mean, if we were in a different country, perhaps, those people would have taken our naiveness to their advantage for the purpose of gaining a sale or profit.

Overall, I would say that Australia seems like a good country to settle in.   People are nice, accommodating, and helpful.  Lifestyle is relaxed, their community is family-oriented, and the weather is pretty much tolerable. (I'm not a fan of snow, you know!)  The only issue I have with Oz is their high cost of living, but I'm hopeful we'll be able to manage that.  (Note to self:  Just STOP converting!  Lol!)

Below are some of the places we visited during our short stay in Melbourne:

*Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens

*Melbourne Museum

*St Patrick's Cathedral

*Old Treasury Building

 *Flinders Street Station

*Federation Square

*St Paul's Cathedral

*Forum Theatre

*The Block Arcade

 *Princess Theatre

*Melbourne City Baths

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