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Journals from Deakin University, Australia

2011-05-16 A Short and Sweet Trip to Sydney

              It’s been pouring in Melbourne which is a little unusual for autumn. I’ve been told that rain is expected, but the torrential downpours and hail storms we’ve seen recently are out of the ordinary. This being said, I was not sad at all to leave Melbourne for a weekend in very sunny Sydney.

                My traveling partner for this trip was Mandy, an American friend who lives on res with me. We departed Melbourne Saturday afternoon and after a quick hour flight we arrived in Sydney. My Aussie friend Eliza met us at the airport and we made the 11-minute trip back to her flat. After a freshen-up we headed to the Opera Bar. The bar wraps around the Opera House and has stunning views of the Harbor Bridge and city skyline. Everything looked beautiful lit up at night. The crowd at the bar was a mix of posh opera goers and casually dressed tourists. We only stayed for a short while since the bar is primarily outdoors and it was chilly along the water. Back in the suburbs we met Eliza’s lovely family for dinner at a Thai restaurant. I’ve never had better (or more) Thai food in my life. We had duck, calamari, tofu, chicken, beef and pork! It was a delicious tour of the menu.

                Mandy and I ventured out by ourselves on Sunday morning and headed to Circular Quay which is the heart of the harbor. From here you can see all the iconic Sydney sights. We took one of the many ferries to Manly beach, which was about a 30-minute trip. Manly is a tourist hub and a surfer's paradise. There are lots of sidewalk cafés and shop-lined streets. Mandy and I completed a short “nature” walk from Manly to Shelly Beach. From the look-outs at Shelly you could see nothing but crystal clear turquoise ocean. We met one of Mandy’s friends from home for lunch then caught the ferry back to the city. It was the rockiest ferry I have ever been on. I certainly felt seasick and was very happy when we reached solid ground.

                Mandy I and headed back to Kensington, where we rendezvoused with Eliza before jetting off to the famous Bondi Beach. In summer there can be more than 100,000 people on the beach at one time. Due to a combination of factors (autumn, chilly, Sunday night) there were significantly fewer people. After strolling along the water we warmed up with the most delicious hot chocolate I have ever had. I think it was pure chocolate just melted into a cup. Yumm! To top it off Eliza insisted we have hot chips which is apparently a Bondi tradition. We capped the night off back at El’s with Indian take-out and a good movie.

                Poor Mandy caught a bug Sunday night and was out of commission on Monday. Luckily Eliza had the day off uni so she was able to be my tour guide/companion. We started at the Queen Victoria Building. It’s a stunning old shopping arcade which caters to the very wealthy. Even though I couldn’t afford anything inside, it was marvelous to admire the architecture. We hit another old arcade called The Strand for Australia’s best chocolate. I restrained myself and only bought a little chocolate teddy bear. From the CBD we made the long walk to Darling Harbor, the maritime hub of Sydney. We circled all the way around the harbor and ended back at “The Rocks.” I didn’t actually see any rocks! The Rocks turned out to be an antiquated shopping district with cobblestone streets and a world famous pancake parlor. Of course we had to stop there. We then circled round to the Botanical Gardens and spent the rest of our afternoon strolling the expansive park.

                Don’t tell Melbourne but I think Sydney might be my new favorite city!

                One month to go….now it’s exam cram time. Yikes!




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