So far life in Melbourne has proved to be everything I dreamed it would be and more. I finally have the perfect city/coast life balance, I’ve found a job I really enjoy, I have an amazing apartment and I’m surrounded by amazing friends both old and new. I’m a lucky girl and I feel so grateful every single day I wake up here and realise how amazing my life is. I’m appreciating every second because I know it won’t last forever and the clock is already ticking down on my time in this incredible city. Since starting my new job I’ve already been promoted and am now managing a sales team of 12+, I’m loving the job despite never having worked in sales before now. But it is very demanding on my time and I’m working long hours, so blogging is having to take a slight backseat and I will be posting a bit less frequently over the coming months. It’s a strange adjustment after having all the time in the world spend on writing, editing and creating for you guys, but it’s nice to have a new challenge. I will still be posting at least once or twice a week, so keep checking back here to stay up-to-date with my adventures.With working so much, I’m making sure I make the most of any downtime I get whether it’s having late-night catch-ups with friends over a bottle of wine or dinner, or getting tickets to the biggest event in the city! So I could hardly resist when I found out the Australian Grand Prix would be taking place, not only in Melbourne but just a five minute walk from my apartment! I’ve always loved watching Formula One, I’ll be honest and say I know very little about it all and would’t be able to tell you much about it as a sport, but I’ve always loved the atmosphere that surrounds it – the whole spectacle. It’s something that I would happily watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon, but probably never would have had the opportunity, or the drive, to buy tickets for and watch live in the UK. But halfway around the world, it was taking place right on my doorstep and it would be rude not to get involved. With one friend set to leave the city to return to Darwin the very next day, it was a great excuse to get loads of my mates together for one final hurrah and a fun day out together. We ended up with a gang of around ten of us and scooped up tickets for a bargain price of $99. I was really impressed at the price – for a backpacker it’s a good wad of cash but considering you get a full day of entertainment plus the chance to watch the race unfold in front of your eyes. You can’t put a price on the experience.We rocked up around 11am, just an hour after the gates opened and already there was a steady stream of people arriving. Being typical backpackers, we were all doing our best to save money and brought along a picnic and snuck in some alcohol to avoid spending a fortune once inside the gates. Although prices weren’t actually too steep at the bars and food stalls, we were still glad we came prepared because it was nice having our lunch at the side of the track while everything was going on. There was so much to see and do around Albert Park, from live music stages and mini race tracks for the kids, to games and challenges, and loads of food and drink stalls. It was great just to walk around for a few hours and see everything that was going on, especially when you reached the collections of racing cars scattered around the grounds and had the chance to meet some of the drivers. All of this excitement was set against the stunning backdrop of Albert Park lake and the beautiful natural park. It was a perfect sunny day and we felt insanely lucky to have such good weather after the previous two days had brought nothing but cloud and rain – typical Melbourne bringing one extreme then another!Finally, after walking the whole way around the track and the grounds, we decided to head back to where we had entered around Gate 5. We were keen to secure a good spot to sit and watch the race when it finally kicked off at 4pm, and we had spotted a good place early on. We ended up with the most amazing view of the track – sitting right on a bend where we could see the cars approaching and zooming off into the distance, plus had a great view of TV screens to keep up with the rest of the race. Sitting on top of a hill meant we were looking down on the track and we didn’t have anyone blocking our view – I actually can’t believe how amazing our view was and how close we were to the main track. It really was something special. Just before the race, and during, there were constant flyovers from various jets and even an aircraft carrier from the airforce which sent eyes gazing into the skies with amazement and wonder. The race finally started to screams and cheers of excitement as the cars sped around the track and we became engrossed. The atmosphere was electric and you couldn’t help but be gripped by every passing moment. It was a dramatic race for sure.For anyone who missed the drama – the whole race took a turn for the worst when the drivers headed into lap 17 and both McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Esteban Gutierrez were involved in a pretty terrifying crash. As the BBC put it: “Trying to pass Gutierrez on the run down to Turn Three, Alonso’s front right wheel tagged the right rear of the Haas and he was launched into a barrel roll, coming to rest upside down in the barriers. The two-time champion was clearly shaken but, although he limped away from his car, he was uninjured.” It was bloody scary to watch, on TV you’re always so detached from these incidents as you’re too caught up in the drama, but being there just metres from the track when this happened really made you realise how dangerous the sport is. I was amazed to see Alonso walk away uninjured from the crash – it really took your breath away to watch the footage and to see the remains of the vehicle. It really is a testament to the quality and the strength of these cars that it can withstand such damage and still protect the individual inside. Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg won the event. The whole race was just incredible to watch and I feel so lucky that I had the opportunity to not only witness such an amazing event, but also to share it with such great friends. If you ever get the chance to go to the Grand Prix – whether you know a lot about racing or not – I would seriously recommend you go! It really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and one I won’t forget in a hurry!
Have you been to the Grand Prix? What’s your favourite sporting event to attend across the world? When did you last have a great day out with friends?