I’ve finally started to miss New York. After being home for two months, the nostalgia is starting to creep in. So far it hasn’t been any particular place that I’ve missed, I just miss exploring new parts of a city every weekend with David. We spent most of our days walking, occasionally stopping for a drink or a bite here or there. Taking a leaf out of my travelling book, I decided to visit a new part of Melbourne on the weekend and visit Williamstown.
Exploring comes naturally when you’re in a foreign city for a limited time, but how often do you make an effort to see your own city? I know that I rarely venture around Melbourne just for the sake of it. Unless someone has invited me to drinks or brunch in another part of town, I’m unlikely to make my way there!
The best parts about travel don’t have to end when you come home. As I found in Williamstown, you can see new places and surround yourself with a different community or atmosphere without even leaving your own city.
Williamstown is part of greater Melbourne, west of the city. It’s a waterfront suburb, yet it its much more relaxed than the eastern bayside suburbs like Brighton and Hampton.
The front street is lined with early 19th century buildings, reminding me a little of Ballarat or Hobart. There is little development, with no buildings more than a few stories high – apart from the instantly recognisable ugly, public housing blocks towering over the sleepy suburb.
Walking down the street, we passed many welcoming, family-run restaurants. People were in singlets, shorts and thongs. I forgot for a moment that I was in Melbourne, and instead felt like I was in a northern NSW beach town. This isn’t trendy Melbourne, but laidback, unpretentious Melbourne.
We admired the boats lined up along the pier, including the Steve Irwin, which belongs to anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd, and enjoyed the city view. We bought fish and chips and ate it in the park, careful to keep the seagulls at bay. The park was full of young families, many of which were speaking different languages. I hear so many different languages walking around Melbourne every day, but it’s usually from backpackers or international students rather than entire families. It was another side of Melbourne that I rarely see in the city.
We sat on the end of the pier for a while, watching the boats. Funnily enough, the view took me back to New York – the place that inspired this little half day trip in the first place. Looking across the water from Williamstown to the the Melbourne city skyline reminded me of sitting on the sand in East River Park in Williamsburg, marvelling at the Manhattan skyline. This also reminds me that I have a heap of NYC content still to share!
Before we left, we got out of the sun for a while at The Strand. The outdoor seating area has a lovely view of the city skyline, which of course looks much smaller in photos than it actually did!
Spending the afternoon by the water in somewhere totally different to my own neighbourhood made it feel like we’d got out of town for a while. It’s great to have places like this up my sleeve when we need a change of scenery but don’t have the time to stray too far.
Do you try and see different parts of your city? What neighbourhoods have surprised you?
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