Luggage drama on top of a naturally sombre atmosphere following the siege in Martin’s Place made for a somewhat different start to my trip than I had expected…
Having taken a break from all things blog-related over Christmas and New Year, I find myself now backtracking and filling in the gaps. Not because I think the readers of my blog are desperate to see a day by day recount of my life, but because if I don’t write things down I will forget. I won’t forget everything…I’m only twenty f…but there are little details to a day that are often lost to the more obvious “saw the Sydney Opera House” holiday stories. I don’t want to forget those details. So there.
The fun and games really started when Lou arrived on the evening of Wednesday 17th Dec. A midnight stroll through Darling Harbour was just the ticket and – I’ll be honest – a friendly face was very much needed.
Thursday 18th December
Both Lou and I woke up unnaturally early today. This jet-lag thing is a real puzzle. We freshened up before pootling down to the hostel’s adjoining cafe where we enjoyed a couple of Aussie lattes and shared a cooked breakfast.
By 9am we were on a train heading to Bondi Junction (side note – public transport is amazing in this city; clean, on time, plentiful…). Everything was familiar to my sister; she spent her three month University break out here in 2013 so felt instantly at home. En-route to the beach, we stopped briefly at the Bondi Westfields to sort a few bits and pieces out/buy things we had forgotten to pack: local phone SIM, macarons*, candle*, xmas decs/prezzies, toothbrush, watermelon juice*.
* not necessarily necessities but “when in Rome ** “
** I realise this phrase does not fit this scenario. Moving on…
We arrived at Bondi Beach in time for lunch. What can I say? We’re good at this.
After a brief stroll along the beach, we reached The Bucket List where Lou had the chicken wings and I had their “special” of scallops w/artichoke hearts, avo purée, beans, spinach and crunchy seed things. All this naturally washed down with a glass of Sauvignon and Prosecco. You know you’re on holiday when…
The weather had been overcast (mentioning the weather = +10 Brit points) but quickly got hot and we were paranoid about getting skin cancer despite lathering up in sun cream before going out so decided to catch a bus back up to the station. Waiting in the bus shelter I noticed a spider on my finger. Now, whilst it may have had the microscopic resemblance of a money spider, we are in Australia. All foreigners are taught that everything in Australia can and will kill you. So the spider had to go.
Mid-day heat kept us indoors, where we chilled for a bit, had our now daily granny nap, sorted some photos out and had even more laughs whilst putting the world to right – you’d think I hadn’t seen my sister for years!
Later that evening we headed back in to town, walking through the city via Martin Sq, where hundreds of people continued to lay flowers for the two victims of the siege earlier this week.
Syndey is a huge city, but the CBD is actually quite small, making it easy to walk around and take in plenty of sights in one day. Before too long we arrived at Circular Quay – or – Sydney Harbour.
A couple of hours later – and having sampled my first Aussie pie ♡ along with an expensive Starbucks – we caught the train back up to central. After re-packing Lou’s bag we attempted to watch a film before falling asleep 20 minutes in. Oh travel.
Friday 19th December
Today gave me a taste of things to come. My sister left early to meet our parents at the airport, before they all flew up to Hamilton Island, leaving me on my own in the city to do with my time whatever I fancied.
As I was up early (and in this city, early = fewer people about = good) I decided to go for a walk and suss out a bit more of the city. Walking west(ish), I strolled along Broadway in to an area called “Chippendale”, before stumbling upon a shopping mall on Bay Street. In an expensive city this mall housed the more “affordable” shops – something I’m sure will be useful as the months roll on!
After investing in some freshly pressed juice and now satisfied that I will no longer have to spend $4 on a single toothbrush as and when a replacement is needed, I continued on my walk.
How would I describe Sydney? I’d say if New York (tall buildings) had a child with San Francisco (some ridiculously hilly streets) whilst honeymooning in Europe (style and architecture) and retaining Britain’s sense (drives on the left 😉 ) you’d get Sydney. There’s an obvious Asian influence here as well – understandable given the proximity to the continent. This was more noticeable as I was walking towards – and eventually through – China Town. Asian supermarkets are the BEST! Nam will understand my excitement upon stumbling across flossy pork (see this Thailand blog for more of an explanation)!!!
I paid a flying visit to Paddy’s Market, where I was approached by multiple Asian men trying to entice me towards a “free” massage. As I said, flying visit. The market would be more fun with other people. Not to worry. World Square was next on my list, for no reason other than it was between where I was and where I wanted to be. Stopped for a bite to eat before waddling on once again.
Hyde Park was next on the list, where I saw a memorial dedicated to the people of NSW who were lost in WW1. As I walked further along the pool of reflection, I noticed a KOALA in one of the Eucalyptus trees!!! He/she may have been sleeping, but it was there.
I realise that this blog is turning in to a bit of an autobiography – and it is pretty repetitive…I’m not even half way done with my walk – so I’ll summarise:
- Passed St Mary’s Cathedral
- Walked to and through botanical gardens – lots and lots of birds; saw spiders 😀
- Walked around Mrs Macquaries point, saw her “chair”
- Walked back in to gardens
- Reached Opera House.
- Walked to circular quay and got train back to hostel.
- Back in room by 2pm.
- Intended to chill for a bit then go back out but had killer headache so had a nap. Woke up at 9pm. Fell asleep again. Woke up at 6am. Blue arms.
Saturday 20th December
Today I packed my case before heading for the station. Definitely getting rid of some stuff as, in this heat, it’s just too much to haul around.
Being the last Saturday before Christmas both the trains and the airport were very busy. Very, very busy. You trek through a bit of a maze between the train and the Domestic check-in area, made all the more fun by an abundance of families, each with about fifty children and 3 suitcases. Could have been the other way around. Still, it makes no difference when you’re shuffling through an airport.
As I have been SO lucky with travel-related shiz since arriving here (sarcasm), I was shocked to see that my airline had had a tech failure, resulting in many cancelled and delayed flights. Fortunately mine was only delayed by a couple of hours, so I stood among the crowds avec un coffee before checking in, queuing both outside (!!!) and in for an hour to drop my bag off, then finally scuttling through security (where I they carried out a “random” check for traces of explosives c/o my rucksack).
Side note: Australians are very specific with the times they allow you to check in and drop baggage.
Upon arriving in the minuscule departure lounge I quickly found food (which, y’know, made me happy) and a seat (which made me even happier). Boarded the plane at the time it was due to land in “Hammo”, settled in to my seat, ignored the child vomiting next to me and was soon en-route to meet my family.
Whitsundays, you could not be more needed.
Let the adventures keep on rolling…