February 26, 2016

Day 861 – Sydney

I was fortunate enough to have visited Sydney many years ago with my family. My dad’s side of the family have resided here for many years so maybe when I was fourteen we came to visit. Firstly, family holidays or ventures are very different to solo trips.  We are five in my family and we tend to like and want to do different things. Secondly, our trip was based around catching up with family and not really exploring the city.  Lastly, given that I was around fourteen I didn’t really remember much about Sydney other than the harbour bridge and the opera house.

So when I planned my trip this time, I was adamant I wanted to see more. The first day I spent being a tourist. I caught up with my high school friend, Anu and her husband who very kindly showed me around many of the hotspots. Of course, Sydney is a fairly big city so we explored the north part which consists of the harbour bridge, the botanical gardens, the opera house, the art museum and the markets. We ended the day by going to Manly beach where I caught up with my good friend Jenny. This is one amongst many of the beautiful beaches Sydney has to offer.  We walked along the coast to the northern beaches which were breath-taking and beautiful in the cool evening breeze.

My second day was spent exploring the Blue Mountains. Initially, I wasn’t too sure why these mountains were called the Blue Mountains because I didn’t think they could actually be blue but sure enough they are. This is one of the many amazing natural beauty regions with plenty of hiking opportunities and walks. Our first stop was a pretty town called Leura, this is a great spot for lunch and we also managed to explore the markets here. We then set off to explore Katoomba, here we stopped at the Echo Point also known as Three Sisters, which is the busiest spot in the Blue Mountains because of the stunning views. It is truly majestic and a spot to marvel at. Never before have I appreciated nature so much nor have I been so blown away by it. This trip made me understand and acknowledge just how wealthy Australia is as a country, so much to explore and appreciate. Our final stop was Wentworth Falls where we caught the sunset and again truly amazing. It was the perfect end to a perfect day. Whilst I’m a city girl, I’m edging more and more towards nature or as they say here, the bush.

The next day my friend had to go to work so I was left exploring and uncovering places around the city solo.  My friend dropped me at Coogee beach and I started my walk along the coastal path to Bondi beach. This is a popular walk and I was surrounded by beautiful views and passed several beaches. Unlike London or even England as a whole, surfing is very popular here. It’s part of the culture alongside swimming and getting a tan. I got to Bondi beach two hours later and soaked in the street art. With half a day left, I jumped on a bus and headed back to the city. I walked through Hyde Park and then hit Chinatown. Walking around the city reminded me of London a great deal. Many of the street names are also same as back home like, Liverpool Street and Oxford Street. I hit Pitt street mall, one of the main shopping districts but it was too busy for my liking and yes it reminded me of Oxford Street. My final stop was Darling Harbour, where I caught up with another friend, Jane.

That drew my trip to an end. Three days in Sydney is not enough time to explore such a beautiful and busy city. I researched and prioritized where I went. I was adamant that I would stay clear of Tower Eye, the Aquarium, the zoo and Madame Tussauds for example. I avoid such sites in most cities I visit and even back home. I did want to catch the train to Newtown but I didn’t make it. It would have been great to go here but also to spend more time in the city and enjoy a good meal or a cup of tea. I will go back I have no doubt.

Sydney unlike London, has the city, beach life and nature all rolled into one. Sydney has places like, Kings Cross and Paddington which made me think of London. Parts of Sydney are hipster and quirky like, Notting Hill in London. I couldn’t help but compare the two cities because parts of Sydney took me back to the streets of London. The public transport is great, I walked heaps but the buses are great and they have trains but no tube yet. The weather was better down in Sydney, not wet, gloomy or cloudy like London. People were not all that friendly, like London, I think this is just part of city culture.

Of course, Sydney is very different to Townsville, the town I’m currently living and working in. Whilst I love city life and all it has to offer, I must admit I have adjusted to living in Townsville. I have also been climatised so whilst it is too hot most of the time, I’m okay with that. I will always be a city girl but I appreciate and love living in small towns as it changes your perspective and gives you a great insight on what really matters and what people try and make you believe. Lifestyle and the opportunities offered are different but there is more scope for development and innovation. I lived and worked in Encarnacion, Paraguay for the people and now I’m living and working in Townsville because of my job and in turn because of the people I’m surrounded by.