With the shock news that Vienna, Austria has stolen the ‘World’s Most Liveable City’ crown from Melbourne. We here at Welcome To Travel was able to secure an exclusive interview with the actual city to get their thoughts on the whole debacle.
It’s surprising, sat with a confident, nigh on but not quite smug demeanour, Melbourne looks calm as if it’s just another day. They’ve thrown on a baggy jumper from the thrift shop, sprayed on their jeans and taken 40 minutes to lace up their 100% vegan Dr. Martens.
Today isn’t a normal day though is it, today is the day after Melbourne lost something they thought was theirs (it has been for 7 years), the title of World’s Most Liveable City. When we called Melbourne for an impromptu meeting we expected a tongue lashing at best or a protest down Swanston St with placards berating us at worst, but we got lucky.
Just 2 hours later we are sitting on an old milk crate in the rain watching this beautiful City muse as they sip on a coconut milk half strength latte, stopping only to run a 2 inch comb through their beard. Melbourne is here to chat.
Welcome To Travel: First of all thank you for meeting us on such short notice, you must be pretty upset and we can’t even begin to appreciate what you’re going through.
Melbourne: No, not really. It’s fine, it’s meant to be isn’t it?
Welcome To Travel: But you have won it for the past seven years. It must mean something to you?
Melbourne: It’s background noise for me to be honest. I don’t need an award to know I’m doing something right.
Welcome To Travel: So you wouldn’t have liked to win it an 8th time?
Melbourne: Well I’ll win it an 8th time at some point won’t I? It’s not going to Vienna for long is it? To be honest, I’m kind of busy this year anyway.
It’s at this point I’m startled yet intrigued. While it’s hard to keep Melbourne on track in between talking about them actually being the first capital and Sydney having lockout laws (and Melbourne not), I need to hear more. Yes it’s now 42 degrees after 20 minutes ago being positively baltic but I just have to know, how can a City be too busy to take out such an honour?!
Welcome To Travel: Oh. Busy? How busy?
Melbourne: By the time I’ve listed the events I’m hosting this year they’ll have announced the most liveable city of 2019
Welcome to Travel: No go on, tell us a few.
Melbourne: Ok, so I’m hosting VidCon next month and even WWE later in the year. That’s not even mentioning the fact I’ve just hosted the State of Origin and I don’t even care about it, that’s for NSW and Queensland.
Melbourne: Oh you’ve heard of those? Finally a journo that’s done their research. You know we’ve got the Melbourne Cup and Grand Final too yeah? That’s the AFL Grand Final yeah, it’s our official religion.
Welcome To Travel: Jesus, you are busy!
Melbourne: Exactly, can you imagine me having the time to lobby for an award too?
Welcome To Travel: Ok I think we get-INTERRUPTED
Melbourne: You know I let Ed Sheeran play a secret gig this year too?
Welcome To Travel: Yes, down Hosier Lane? I saw that.
Melbourne: Yes, I loaned him Hosier Lane for the morning, like I’m loaning this award to Vienna really.
Welcome To Travel: So we know you’re hosting events, that can’t take up all of your time though. You have people to do that for you. Surely you have time for an award?
Melbourne: Oh you’re right, that’s just a part of my job. The events are not just events, they’re a responsibility, as are many other things.
Welcome To Travel: Such as?
Melbourne: Well take the comedy festival for instance, it’s important to make people laugh, it keeps them happy. Food and drink keeps people happy too, so I make sure I have the best food in the world, as well as the best coffee, hence me not having many Starbucks here. I told them they’d be no good here. Why would everyone want an overpriced pint of syrup flavoured coffee when they could get a sumptuous cup of joy at a fair price from their local barista? No brainer!
Welcome To Travel: Good point, what else is important?
Melbourne: Educating people. If you want impressive awards, in 2008 I won my favourite award. UNESCO made me the world’s second ever City of Literature, that’s my proudest achievement. It’s why I have one of the first public free libraries in the world and it’s why we have a huge amount of Universities. Education is important.
Welcome to Travel: I didn’t know that!
Melbourne: Not many people do. I haven’t even mentioned I made all the trams in the City free a few years ago. That keeps people happy too, especially tourists
Welcome to Travel: It must do. That’s an amazing win for tourists! Do you know how much money I paid to get around London last month?! It must be incredible to welcome so many tourists?
Melbourne: It’s my favourite thing to do, make others happy when they see me and when they leave me. I want to ensure people from all over the world love what I’m doing and never forget me. Nothing is better than hearing people tell their friends that I’m the best City in the world and they must visit me, nothing tops that. I am lucky too though.
Welcome To Travel: How so?
Melbourne: Well I’m at the bottom of the country it kind of self appoints me as the best place to start a trip doesn’t it? Also I have made sure it’s easy for people to visit me by organising great value flights from all over the world.
Welcome To Travel: I think I’m beginning to get this.
Melbourne: Are you?
Welcome to Travel: I think so…
Melbourne: Free transport, education, sport, comedy, music, culture, food and drink…and you’re only just getting it?
Welcome To Travel: I’m definitely getting it. All of these things, they’re what makes you special aren’t they? The most liveable City in the World you could say? And on top of that you also have beautiful beaches and amazing wineries down Mornington Peninsula, just one hour away from you and can go surfing and see penguins at Phillip Island.
Melbourne: You are right, you really are getting it and in 2019, we’ll get the award back.
Welcome To Travel: Wow, Melbourne, you’ve surprised me. To be honest I thought you were a bit sure of yourself, I didn’t get it at first.
Melbourne: Don’t worry, you’re not the first, no-one gets it to begin with then they arrive to Melbourne and go ‘Now I see what all the fuss is about’. So I’m happy that Vienna has the award for this year, I can come kickback with you guys on your 8 day tour and show everyone why I’m the best city in the world.
Welcome To Travel: We would love to have you on our tour. Thank you for your time and everything that you do for Australia.
Melbourne: It’s my pleasure.