Yep, it’s time, August is upon us, and that means it’s quarter final time in the grand old CITY RUMBLE! We have eight cities, eight amazing and very different destinations, lining up against each other in a bid to make it to the semi-finals, which will come along a bit later in the year. Here a the line ups for the next four weeks –
1.London Versus Melbourne
2. Seville Versus Dhaka
3. Tokyo Versus St Petersburg
4. Cairo Versus New York City
What prizes are on offer for the winning city? What? Prizes? Are they not satisfied with the glory that it is to take home the title of ‘Winner of Andy’s World Journeys’? Well. They are going to need to be, aren’t they? Yes it’s just the chance to revel in the glory of being the winner. But considering we started with, well actually I don’t know how many cities but at least forty, it’s a great great honour! Of the cities above, we will say goodbye to four of them in August. Then two more in October. And then November or December will see the GRAND FINAL. Who are you putting your money on? No, there is no betting. Just loads and loads of fun.
But we start today with one that at least is personally very hard for me. It’s a city that I really love in London, for so many reasons, against my hometown of Melbourne, which I’ve been exploring over the last 10 months making my new vlog series ‘Melbourne Revealed’ for YouTube. So anyways, this has to be done. The quarter-finals have to begin, so let’s get ready to RUMBLE!
We have London, the capital of the United Kingdom, the most important city in the Commonwealth, and of course home to the BBC and the place where Doctor Who was born! Why do I love London? Well I guess it’s been a thing since I was growing up watch British TV. It’s one of the world’s most iconic cities, there are elements about the London which just scream LONDON. By this I mean things like the Tube and the signs for the Tube, but also Big Ben, the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park and so much more. It is one of the world’s great ICONIC cities, and there can be no denying that.
And for that you just get excited by the thought that you are going there. Of taking the underground, of experiencing shows at the West End, seeing the city from the Thames, feeling the buzz, all in all it’s an epic experience, any visit to London. And I didn’t even mention Shakespeare’s Globe!
So how can Melbourne possibly stack up to that? (or indeed, any city!) I mean, what is iconic about Melbourne? Well, as a native Melbournian, actual I would say there are a number of things that are inconic in our fair city. For example, Luna Park! An amusement park in St Kilda, near the beach, which has been in operation since the early 20th century and one ride, the Scenic Railway, well it’s over 100 years old itself, and the Carousel is not far off that. And yes, I visited it early in the year for an episode of ‘Melbourne Revealed’.
But not just Luna Park, the city has its landmarks. Okay, we don’t have the Sydney Opera House, but we do have the Arts Centre with its spire. We have the Flinders Street station with its famous clock, no Big Ben but still a place all Melbournians know and choose to meet at. It’s just opposite Federation Square, which is not the prettiest design one can see, but it’s still memorable in its way. And we have a number of beautiful old theatres, the Princess Theatre and the Regent Theatre, as well as the Atheneum Theatre are all historic theatres that are great places to see a show. And Melbourne is huge on the Arts, with loads of theatre and art to see.
The National Gallery of Victoria often hosts exhibitions along with its permanent displays too. Undeniably one of the best galleries in the country if not the Southern Hemisphere. Our trains may not be iconic, but our trams are! They are another familiar symbol of this fair town. And you can ride inside the city centre for FREE!
Wow slam dunk just about! But no, let’s go back to London. Because it’s got so many facets and parts to it that it’s very hard to know where to start. Start at Earl’s Court then. Why? Because it has what Melbourne has – lots of Aussies! And a blue Police Box as well which has to make it pretty special. There are so many interesting,… what’s the word? It’s not suburbs really, so perhaps ‘borough’? I don’t know.
The city teems with life, and everyone wants to go there, and that means it’s one of the world’s best connected cities, without a doubt with I think five international airports and links to the mainland Europe via the Chunnel. Melbourne, on the other hand, is a long way from, well most places. As is Australia. Unless you live in New Zealand you are looking at a long flight to get to Melbourne. And from East Coast USA or East Coast South America? Forget it! London is so conveniently located the fact that its airports, especially Heathrow, are huge headaches is almost completely negated. Although I will point out if you are coming from India, London or Melbourne it’s much of a muchness almost. And we are much closer to China. If that’s where you’re coming from.
London is an historic centre, a city that goes back 1000 years or more. Melbourne was born in the 1850s, and has had a much shorter life as a city. But it does have its history, and never forget that people have lived on these lands for thousands of years. Before there was a white-man city. And Melbourne does afford the opportunity to learn a bit about that if you look hard enough!
Both cities are built on big rivers. Melbourne’s Yarra River winds through the city to Port Phillip Bay. Take a boat along it, or go further up by car and explore the Yarra Valley, a great spot for wineries and more.
In London, it’s great to see the city from the Thames, a famous river often mispronounced (it’s pronounced ‘Tems’ basically if you ever wondered) and many of the main sights are along the river.
Interestingly, the main cathedral in both cities is St Paul’s, and the London version is much bigger and impressive than Melbourne’s, but the Melbourne version is still impressive and beautiful it’s just not to quite the scale of London’s, which you can climb for an awesome view of the city. St Patrick’s is Melbourne’s other cathedral, a Catholic cathedral and possibly bigger than St Paul’s, which I think is more well known mainly because it is right in the centre of town.
Weatherwise, well this is a win for Melbourne (and not many recommend Melbourne for its weather!) but, despite the fact that every time I’ve been in London it’s been hot and sunny, I know full well I have just been very lucky. And when it is hot in London, you can’t escape the heat as air conditioning is rare. Melbourne’s beaches are not Queensland-standard, but if you know where to go on a hot sunny day, well the beaches aren’t too bad at all. Just get a little out of the city! Altona, Williamstown, or beaches along the Mornington Peninsula are fantastic. Anyone in London know of beach there they would recommend? Well, it’s not quite on the ocean, is it? LOL.
The thing here is, I fully expected that London was going to win this one. I really LOVE London. My next couple of points were to be money – well London is hella expensive and so Melbourne would win there. Melbourne’s food is awesome too. London does have a great selection of food from India and Asia, but so does Melbourne and I think it’s fresher and better here. And accommodation – well it’s a bugbear of mine! London is one place I’ve only been happy with my room once, and that wasn’t a hotel or Air Bnb, it was at a college arranged by a friend who was living there. I’ve had smelly hostels, dirty hostels, rooms that were a cupboard with dreadful bathrooms, so it seems you have to be paying over 80 pounds a night to get a half decent room. That’s $150AUD and that should see you fairly comfortable here in Melbourne. And so I am left with a dilemma.
Give me the option, and I would go to London every time, and that’s presuming I didn’t live in Melbourne. But I have just written 1500 words thinking things through in these two cities and I feel like the points go to Melbourne. The biggest points against Melbourne are its location and the fact that all the sights in London are so famous and well known to people who haven’t been there and who have alike.
But Melbourne doesn’t have a royal family or Buckingham Palace. It has the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the biggest cricket stadium I think in the world. London has Lords, not anywhere near as big, but more iconic and symbolic. Both are also big cities in sport.
At the end of the day, I have to choose. And I know Melbourne better than any other city on the planet, so of course I can think of many reasons to recommend it. But I have to go with my gut, and my gut says the winner is LONDON. As much as I love my city, it’s frustrations are such – and this is traffic more than anything – that I am thinking to go rural in a few years and get away from here. And so I will settle with London as the winner here. Narrowly.
What do you think? At the end of the day, can a city like Melbourne compete with a giant of the world in London? Let me know your thoughts! And then there were seven cities left! We head on towards the ultimate winner. Let’s see who it will be!
Thanks for reading today, take care and as always – May the Journey Never End!