MELBOURNE MY REASON TO FALL IN LOVE WITH IT!


MELBOURNE
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Melbourne and me has a history of love, so unique.
When through the vast cinemascope I had, its first ever glimpse,
'Salaam Namaste Melbourne,' its RJ crooned,
Seeing the exotic locals & sights, my heart too swooned,
Ever since, my hearts been humming Melbourne Melbourne,
I know, it too is yearning to greet me, with a warm Welcome.
Be it solo, with family, couple or with friends,
Melbourne has something to offer, for one and all.
And maybe this year, luck will favour the lovers so apart,
Yes, Melbourne is my love, I'm coming; destiny shall play its part.

Yeah, so the year was 2005 and Melbourne simply stole my heart. The famous movie 'Salaam Namaste' was based in this fabulous city, and my eyes kept looking at the mesmerizing backdrop rather than the actors in the movie itself. So, enchanted was I. Its been almost a decade since then, I'm still awed. Two years back, I joined the IB Blogger community and what did I first see - a visit Melbourne contest that had just concluded. I wanted to kick myself as I was late. Ah, what did I know! Some time later, the winner of that contest started flashing her Melbourne pictures proudly and I went green with envy. And more recently, another blogger took off to Melbourne city and has been raving about her trip since - you can imagine me pulling my hairs off, for not being able to go there myself yet. So, when IB threw another chance via this contest - I knew, I had a shred of hope left. Let me share some Salaam Namaaste movie pictures, that had Melbourne all over them - the reason really I fell in love with it - the most livable city!

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One can see the mesmerizing sea/beaches/cliffs, unique architecture, harbour, greenery & amazing activities that attracted me to the place. A visual delight, do watch the movie if you want to be captivated by beautiful Melbourne and of course watch these incredible videos. Melbourne offers so much more, that a single blog-post would not be enough! So, the incredible odyssey continues...

With Melbourne in my dreams, I fell asleep last night with this half written post. And would you believe it if I say - I WON IN THE CONTEST ( in my dreams of course )! And, I was like Wowee! Let me pack straight-away. There's so much I want to see and do that I feared if the 5 day trip would be enough. But, I'm the sort that makes the most out of situations - so, I'd make my Melbourne trip fun and memorable one nevertheless. Here's the Check list of Melbourne - why it is my and everyone's Number.1 choice!

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So, check-list done, I followed my blogger friend's journey as an inspiration. And damn yes! She has definitely been one. I kept track of her journey to take tips for my own. And here's the complete coverage. One can get a tourist visa with all the proper documents submitted, from the Australian Embassy. And once that's done - Melbourne --- Here I Come :-) Choosing a flight would not be a problem because Melbourne is a world-class city with world class connections from every corner of this world.

  • Getting around - Once I land, I take my friend's route of backpacking around the city and beyond, to get the taste really of a Solo Woman Back-packer ( I've heard lots that Melbourne is very safe for women and been confirmed by my friend too, who had first-hand experience ). I hire a car to self-drive around, especially, if I want to travel outside the city ( and camp overnight in Caravan Parks, thus, meet other travelers too on the way ) - else, Melbourne's own local transport after buying the Myki pre-paid top-up cards ( from few designated shops ) is a smooth cake - and a must experience! It can be used to travel in trains, trams and buses, without waiting in long queues. Just hop & swipe! Easy hah! And to make a traveler's life more easier is the Victoria Public Transport App. Just put your destination and time of going ~ it'll show up which train/tram/buses to take! Superb! With all stops clearly marked, one can never get lost.
  • For accommodation - there are a plethora of choices - from top class hotels to budget ones, from hostels to flat-sharing. I'm a well prepared traveler, so my arrangements are pre-decided/arranged. Trust me, planning in advance helps rather than any last minute hasty decisions, especially while travelling abroad. I'd like to divide my fantastic tour into two parts - first experience all the popular destinations and then try the off-beat ones! So, here are the must-visit popular ones first. Enjoy ;-)

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    MELBOURNE
  • Finders Street Station ~
    With its architecture, jaw-dropping,
    Reminding of era bygone, so captivating,
    Visible from far away, it is mesmerizing,
    Stands tall, proud, and inviting.


    This is one of Melbourne's prime and oldest landmark monuments. And you won't miss it - because, it'll show itself to you ;-) With the rich history that Australia has, one can find many Victorian era buildings of Gothic architecture still standing all and magnificent. Look out for the St. Paul & St. Patrick Cathedrals too which are a visual delight and many more well preserved heritage sites.

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  • Eureka SkyDeck 88 ~
    Dizzying heights, I so love,
    Touching skies, high above,
    The world at my feet, I see,
    Looking up at me - high mercy.


    Well after absorbing up the rich architectural heritage of past, one can move on to taste the modern architectural splendor of the present times too; and Melbourne has plenty of that. The most notable is obviously the Eureka SkyDeck 88 that allows you to practically touch the sky. Get a breathtaking bird's-eye view of Melbourne from up there esp sunsets. Oh..my dreams, for real do take me there! Its the perfect place for that perfect Selfie, right ;-)

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  • Bathing Boxes, Mornington Peninsula ~
    Pristine seas, colour that is bluer than blue,
    Kissing your feet gently, the sandy beaches too,
    Lined up are those colourful bathing boxes,
    Ample privacy, yet, oozes feeling of community too.


    Integral part of Mornington Peninsula ( considered Victoria's favourite recreational destinations ), these colourful and attractive structures are Victoria’s prime cultural heritage and unique identity, that have been built over the past century by various community members. Ideal for beach use, they can be rented for shelter, storage of boats, accessories, and other equipment used commonly; in the beach or boat.

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  • Federation Square ~
    Where the square stretches an entire city's block,
    Clubbing together is a plethora of classy events,
    Specialty stores, bars and restaurants many,
    Unique meeting place it is and a cultural hotspot.


    One of Melbourne's iconic place, the FedSquare is built cleverly on top of a concrete deck above the busy railway lines, it also has another section with open space. This is where all the action is, when in Melbourne. Right across from Flinders Street Station, and at centre of the city itself, here one can enjoy various events throughout the year, meet whole lot of people or just use the free WiFi connectivity and get networking. Now, wouldn't it be fun to live-blog my experience from there ;-)

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  • Shrine of Remembrance ~
    Where all those martyrs laid down their lives,
    While drafting the current Paradise,
    Each of their sacrifices, I humbly salute,
    To their message of love I shall contribute.


    An important place of remembrance of all those great souls who laid down their lives in World War 1. It is one of the largest war memorials in Australia, dedicated to paying respect to all the Australian martyrs who took part in the war. Engraved are these words in the memorial - "Greater love hath no man"!

    MELBOURNE
  • Melbourne Street Art ~
    Be it narrow lanes or alleys,
    Bearing fragrances of fresh colours many,
    Master-pieces they are, all set-up,
    By stencils, murals or paste-ups.


    Being a hardcore art lover, I find it fascinating that Melbourne is hailed as one of the world's greatest street-art capitals. Here, public spaces provide as a gallery and stage for artistic expression and with permission from the authorities too; though private buildings may require owner's permission. And when its all legal, 'art' gets twice enhanced and plays a contributing factor to a vibrant urban environment. And it doesn't stay static - it can change everyday, thus, giving infinite new expressions. Amazing, isn't it? Street-art also includes street-musicians and one may end up hearing some wonderful piece on the road itself. Art is respected in the city by everyone. I'd love to spend hours and hours in these lanes esp Hosier, admiring art.

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  • Melbourne Cricket Ground ~
    Born in a cricket crazy nation,
    A visit to the MCG, is a definite must,
    This is where all those matches were played,
    Featuring all my favorite cricket-stars.


    Largest in Australia and entire Southern Hemisphere, this is sort of a Mecca for cricket lovers. Well maintained and a fully equipped stadium, it is within walking distance from the city centre at Yarra Park ( part of Melbourne Sports & Entertainment Precinct, which is the premier sporting precinct in Victoria ). Not just cricket, this stadium holds many other world-class sports events too and many prestigious clubs and associations are it members ( eg. Football Clubs, Commonwealth Games, Summer Olympics etc ). Hope to catch a live-match of ICC World Cup'15 while there :-) Ah! What an amazing experience it would be.

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  • And when at Yarra Park, why not visit the famous Yarra River too - which means the ever-flowing. From indigenous Australians of pre-historic times to the modern European settlers, this river has been a life-line of sorts - primarily used for agricultural purpose. In recent years, this beautiful river has been used not just for transport but also many recreational activities like kayaking, rowing, canoeing and swimming. One can also just simply stroll on its banks or read a book by its side, and an artist can even splash his canvas with the captivating landscapes around. Special highlight of this place is the annual 'Moomba festival' that celebrates the Yarra River's increasing cultural significance to Melbourne. It is a carnival of sorts bringing whole Melbourne together in its festivity. Another similar place full of green-delights for nature lovers would be the Fitzroy Gardens, one of the most historic and aesthetically pleasing gardens in Melbourne. And while there, do not miss the famous Captain Cook's Cottage and re-live pages of history.

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  • Great Ocean Road, Victoria ~
    I am a happy back-packer; the road being my home,
    Lustily I enjoy, as I cover the curvy path, long,
    Excited all the way and enthralled many-folds,
    Thrilled by the luscious sexy-beauty of the Great Ocean Road.


    An Australian National Heritage listed no less, the Great Ocean Road is a 243Kms stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia. With a panoramic view, it is one of the world's most scenic and dramatic coastal drives and everyone's favourite must-visit. With the road running along the cliff, it is surreal to watch the sea with white waves crashing on the rocks far below and bits of mesmerizing greenery peeping at you here and here. One can also visit the Limestone caves ( esp the famous 12 Apostles, ) in the cliffs ( takes 4 hour drive on the GOR ) and the therapeutic Hot springs too!

    MELBOURNE
  • Melbourne Wildlife ~
    Where birds and animals too speak their own language,
    They run, hop or fly in their full carriage,
    Rich and unique is the fauna here,
    Miss not them, they add to the pleasure.


    Melbourne has its amazing share of wild-life that one just simply cannot miss. Infact, the popular Melbourne Cup will give a glimpse of its impressive horse-racing sport. Famous as "the race that stops a nation", it is a 3,200 metre race. On this day the entire state gets a holiday. Such a high profile event naturally calls for high-fashion too. Everyone is dressed in their elegant best ~ men in their 3 piece formal suits and women don attractive head-gears. Well, Melbourne is a fashion capital - where one never dresses out of fashion!

    MELBOURNE Melbourne is also famous for Kangaroos ( whole Australia is home to them ) - the best place to watch them in their natural habitat is at the award winning Ballarat Wildlife Park. Whale, Dolphin, Seal, Penguin and sleepy Koala watching in Phillip island ( 90 minutes from Melbourne ) is a must activity too that promises all the fun for everyone, especially those with families. The island offers sheltered bays/swimming beaches ( also ideal for beach cricket or volleyball ); it has renowned fishing hot-spots and a coastline for surfing, that is rugged. One can enjoy watching those penguins ( hundreds of them ), cruise the waters, soak up all the action at world-class Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix and also take part in other engaging events that makes this place a hot-circuit of activity whole year round.

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  • Anti-Gravity Hill, Woodend ~
    Not far from Melbourne ( 1 hr drive ), is a baffling place ( and one of the most well-kept secrets too ) that defies gravity, situated in Straws Lane, Woodend. Eg. If I stand near the bottom of a hill facing up-hill, and tip water on the road; it won't flow downhill, but instead, will flow up. Do it with a ball and the same thing would occur - it'll roll up the hill. And while running too, you feel you are running down-hill, when infact you are going up. If you put your car in neutral gear, at bottom of a hill - it'll slowly roll up too; and the hill is quite steep, making this phenomenon very mysterious. Can't wait to experience this fun spooky thing for myself.

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    Do the Kite-surfing at Melbourne's most famous St.Kilda Beach, Hop on a Hot-air Balloon and fly over Melbourne, Yarra Valley & the Vineyards, go Zooming up the Dockland's giant Ferris Wheel/Southern Star, Learn the past's rich history at Melbourne Museum, Unleash the shopaholic me at Queen Victoria's Market, get Amused at Luna Amusement Park, Visit the peaceful Iskcon Temple or simply Enjoy the idyllic picturesque villages close by at Dandenong Ranges ~ pick Strawberries; explore forests nearby and click tonnes of Selfies ~ Well, Melbourne does indeed seem to offer plenty; infact, my blog-post is running out of space covering so many...


    And last but not the least, mingle with locals over cuppa hot Australian coffee and try their various cuisines. Hope to see and experience all of them with my own eyes making my dream a reality and blog my 'real' experience next time! Till then take care, Mate~

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    QUIZ : So, which of these places would you want to visit in Melbourne and why? - WIN an Awesome Prize for the most spectacular answer!

  • ❤❀❤

    ( Images Credit - VM, IB, SN -Filmapia.com, Bollylocations.com, Youtube, 4Aus.com, Junkpit.net, Wikipedia, Mountmacedon.org.au, Adventurestoday.org, Planetden.com, Keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk & Sketches are ©Mine ) | Cosmopolitan, elegant and chic, Melbourne has a passionate soul and a welcoming heart. From thrilling world class events and renowned architecture, to café-lined streetscapes and verdant parklands, there’s always something new and exciting to discover in Melbourne.
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    25 comments:

    1. Exciting post on Melbourne Nandhini. My pick from your list is Ballarat Wildlife park as I am a big nature lover. Being an Environmental professional, I would love to visit that park and come back inspired by the conservation methods they use and try to inculcate that here in our nation.

      I completely enjoyed your post, however I'd love to hear your say on mine as well http://creatikaa.blogspot.in/2014/12/melbourne-awe-inspiring-place-to-visit.html

      My best wishes and happy new year 2015 :-)

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. thank you and happy new year to you as well!

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    2. Quite beautifully composed post, discussing the places to visit in good amount of detail.
      Well, for me, it'll be the 4 hour drive through the Great Ocean Road to the limestone caves.
      And best of luck for the contest.

      ReplyDelete
    3. Great post! After reading your post & watching all the videos, I'd most like to visit the Dandenong Ranges for it's scenic beauty, breathtaking view and cool breeze blowing through my hair. :P I'd give anything away for driving through the winding roads which are present throughout the ranges. I'd love to stay at one of the bed and breakfast cottages and go on frequent excursions in the forests with my camera which provides excellent views. And not to forget the famous ride in the Puffing Billy, a day reserved especially for that. To add to that, there are also several picnic spots for me and my friends to spend a fun-filled day and the ranges are a perfect spot for hiking and cycling.

      Wish you and your blog a happy new year! :D

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. thanks , same to you :-)

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    4. Such a Loving , Dreamy post. I would love to visit St. Kilda Beach for kite surfing , Yarra valley for lush green vineyards , Queen Victoria market for delightful shopping, Luna amusement park amd Iskcon temple for Blessings. Happy & Prosperous new year to you and your readers.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. thanks dear....have a great year ahead too...wish you n ur family :-)

        Delete
    5. a great post , with all pics and nicely described about the scenic beauty as well as the must watch of Melbourne, i want to visit the Penguin Parade as these small, aquatic, flightless birds are nature's gift and so rare and so beautiful.They can't be missed . In short it will be heavenly experience 

      ReplyDelete
    6. Wonderful post and interesting videos that make me feel that
      Melbourne invites the eternal romantic in me to hold hands with my beloved and go see the Twelve Apostles .Go on long drives on the great ocean road. In the middle of nowhere in a vineyard spread a table and enjoy a meal and a glass of wine with my dear one. Enjoy the sunsets holding hands and do lots of shopping at the Queen Victoria Market and see all the graffiti being created at the hosier lane.
      Great Post and interesting videos watching them I am sure to visit Sovereign Hill for spending some time in the era gone by. The lure of gold and panning for some nuggets is a temptation that is too much to resist. After I have found the gold I am bound to celebrate it with some wine so I will visit the vineyards and enjoy some great wine from the Yarra region .Visit the Pannys Phillip Island Chocolate Factory and have my fill with this yummy delight.
      therisingstarz.blogspot.in/2014/12/melbourne-selfie-capital-of-australia.html
      http://goo.gl/ByJqvP
      therisingstarz.blogspot.in
      http://goo.gl/59Omjz

      ReplyDelete
    7. Interesting Post
      After reading your post and watching all the videos
      I feel I have stepped into a kaleidoscope called Melbourne
      Where Vistas of experiences would unfold one after another
      The nature lover in me is enticed by the thought of watching the penguin parade.
      Traveling though the great ocean road, soaking up the freshness as the breeze ruffles my hair gets me in the mood to pack my bags for Melbourne.
      But before I can move ,Puffing Billy whistles and invites me for a ride. The kid in me jumps with joy at the thought of visiting Pannys Phillip Island Chocolate Factory
      Even before I can deside on the list of places that I would like to see in and around Melbourne.
      What’s that noise that I hear ?
      Oh its loud cheer from MCG as the cricket world cup 2015 is about to kick start.
      So many plces to see and so much to do.
      I am thetimetraveler ( http://goo.gl/wdXDzu ) and I have decided … Melbourne here I come ( http://goo.gl/RvUCQf ).

      ReplyDelete
    8. Yes! Anyone who watched the movie "Salam Namastey" would be mesmerized by the locations shown in the movie. I too still remember the scenes from the movie where Priety Zinta sips Coffee while standing at the egde of the deck! But I didn't know back then that it was Melbourne, now I do :)

      it was nice taking a walk through your dreamy world as you dreamt of winning the Contest.. all the best! May your dreams come true!

      now getting to what I choose from the list you have compiled.

      Anti-Gravity Hill!!
      Are you kidding?! I imagined everything you wrote about the gravity defying things to do up here. I still can't fully believe it! So yes, I want to experience this myself. "Seeing is believing" they say.


      Eureka SkyDeck 88 is my next pic. I would want to stand at the highest point in Mebourne amidst modern developed architectures and feel like the king. When I read about this, I imagine myself in a suit like a business tycoon looking out from Eureka SkyDeck. Such a rush it gives!

      Ok enough with Heights :)
      next on my list is The Great Ocean Road.
      Being a poet, a location like this would be nirvana for me. What a ride it would be along the coast! I would visit the place with my diary and I am sure that the serenity and beauty of this place would awaken the poet in me. Not just the ride, the Apostles at the end of the road will surely add to the experience.

      thank you for this opportunity to participate.

      happy new year.

      regards,
      anirudhs2009@gmail.com

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Congratulations :-)) And the winner is you!

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    9. Being a nature lover, Australian flora and fauna appeals to my inner senses. If I ever have a plan, I would like to explore the flora and fauna, quite unique to Australia. Maybe, cuddle a koala bear as well, in one of their national parks.
      - Ranjith (http://www.alightheartedtalk.com)

      ReplyDelete
    10. Great post! After reading your post & watching all the videos, I would definitely want to visit all those amazing places when I get to visit Melbourne :) But of all, my top pick would be a visit to Yarra valley for a beautiful sunrise balloon flight. After seeing the video, I can't stop myself from dreaming a romantic magical flight above the scenic vineyards and watching the sunrise from up above! Throw in my favorite wine, I will doubly enjoy the ride sipping my glass and taking sensational selfies all the way :) Now I can't think of a better way of spending a vacation!!

      Next of course, cruising through the great ocean road in a open-top car to enjoy the coastal scenery and the iconic 12 apostles for the nature's amazing work at play. Then a ride around the city in the vintage trams to enjoy its urban splendor and the legendary puffing billy to enjoy its natural splendor. Finally a day at the hot springs to unwind and totally rejuvenate myself :)

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    11. Hi!
      We know beauty never need words but without words it cannot be explained and when you get wordless after seeing it... your mouth still get open wide and WOW comes out. Dear! Your explanation about Melbourne is wonderful and picturesque description. I am a person who always attracted to nature first of any place so I would love to see the Melbourne Nature & Wildlife. The 12 Apostles rock formations is world famous rocks which changes its color in sunrise and sun set. And then I will see the Phillip Island Nature Park where I want to see the animals which I hardly see in India. I never saw Penguins, Koala and other animals.
      Driving on a smooth road with natural beauty around you, it always gives you a feeling of heaven on Earth. I would love to drive on Great Ocean Road which is also famous in world to give you a scenic experience and the pleasure of that driving is amazing.

      Bhawna

      ReplyDelete
    12. Hey ,Superb post ,so all set to pack bags to have a thrill at Melbourne…Now being high on my wish list:)U’ve very well covered "the best of Melbourne" & for the entry in contest ,there cannot ever be a single place for me..It has to be a bouquet of places to feel calm down my zest to explore it..So naming ,first comes the Great Ocean road not just to linger or have a decent walk but to amaze myself with Jetskiing ,Scuba diving & to try swim with Dolphins & seal! Yay ! these b’ful creatures would be lucky to share a swim with me;) .Then it would be "Eureka Sky deck, to have an awe inspiring experience to be closest to sky & get the sky deck view of this liveable city & MCG to watch & cheer the players on one of the worlds best cricket ground!

      Wishing u Best of Luck & a great year ahead!!

      Visit my blog@ http://jhilmilbhansali.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/a-date-for-life-timea-date-with-nature-wildlife-art-cuisine-ah-melbourne/

      ReplyDelete
    13. You do have your own indomitable blogging style... and I've always found it interesting. It gives me a new and a fresh perspective, which is different from what others write or the way they express a similar thought or idea.

      So obviously, my choice or my option while in Melbourne will be to do something that not many generally go for. Shopping and market hopping is surely not going to be high on my priority list. But when it comes to art... YES.

      But HOW is more important... I am going to hire a Segway and go zipping along the Yarra riverside and see the public art on display there. Interesting, isn't it? The Segway will not take me further in lesser time, but will also make sure that it tires me a lot less. Obviously, i am going to stop and click pictures... maybe even relax by the side of some and do a fast sketch on my iPad.

      But art only by riding a Segway? No way.
      I am going to go tram-hopping and try and discover street art and street public art and the same time ride different types of trams through this wonderful city.

      What else? Well, I just might go up to the Skydeck and watch and click the way the contemporary and heritage architecture co-exists in Melbourne.

      Or maybe take an early morning balloon ride and see how God spreads his colours over Melbourne to make it such a lovely place for art.

      Arvind Passey
      www.passey.info

      ReplyDelete
    14. Given a chance to visit Melbourne, I would absolutely make a run for Eureka Skydeck 88..Imagine the view of the city from such a great height of over 300 metres and while you are suspended in air in a glass box!
      This is an experience not to be missed and I hope I get a chance to visit Melbourne and go explore Eureka Skydeck 88 soon :)
      -Nikita @Njkinny's World of Books & Stuff

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    15. Thanks a lot @everyone for the responses!!! The Contest closes and the winner is.........................any guesses?

      ReplyDelete
    16. Wish that its me :) ;)
      But then let the Best Comment win :)

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    17. I wish It could be me.... fingers crossed

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    18. I wish it could be me...fingers crossed

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