A Travellerspoint blog

The Iconic Aussie City

gets mixed reviews from us

rain
View Around We Go on LauHot10's travel map.

It was mid morning and wet when we arrived in Sydney and it stayed wet for a lot of the time we were there which unfortunately didn't help us fall in love with the place. We trudged from the main station with our bags, in the rain to our hotel which was in a pretty good location. There was no way we could afford our own room so we'd opted for a three bed dorm. Both of us are fairly intolerant when it comes to snoring and so we prayed for a quiet room mate. After dumping our stuff we found our way to the centre and were kind of aiming to find the Opera House although this didn't happen.

Sydney is quite a grand city, the majority of the buildings are all well proportioned, Victorian giants that loom large over the busy streets. There is a pleasant red brick Cathedral and lots of green spaces with statues, fountains and tree covered walkways.
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It does have that big city feeling though, fairly impersonal and no obvious heart. As a tourist you seem to be being pulled in several different directions most of which involved spending money we didn't have so I think we felt a little like children staring in through the sweetie shop window.

There are two main harbours, the most famous of which is home to Opera House and then there is Darling Harbour. We found our way here and had a look around. It would have been nice to go in the Aquarium but it was silly money and so we just sat for a while, doing some people watching, attempting to soak up the damp atmosphere. After traipsing around a bit more; looking in shops, trying to find a cheap cinema but failing and then somewhere cheap to eat in China Town but failing again we headed back to the hostel. We ate here because it was as cheap as anywhere else and then headed up to the room. Here we met our roomie, he was a wee man, probably in his fifties from a small island close to Fuji. He explained he was here on business and had been for a couple of months, although we never established what the business was. He was very sweet and we both liked him but from the get go you could tell he was going to snore. Unfortunately this wasn't the only thing he did, he also ground his teeth and the noise he produced was unbelievable. It sounded like nails on a blackboard. Suffice to say we didn't sleep too well that night, or the next.

Our second day in Sydney we walked purposefully towards the Opera House which was smaller than I'd imagined but still unique and it was special to be laying eyes on such an iconic building.
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Mum had asked me to tell her what I thought because it was designed by a Danish Architect apparently. Well Mum, he didn't do too badly.
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After snapping a few photos and listening to some Aboriginal men playing the Didgeridoo although according to one of the men this is not what they themselves call it but in fact Irish Gaelic for black man playing a pipe. The name originating from the observation of the act by some Irish fella it would seem.

Then we walked back to the city through the Botanical Gardens which made for a pleasant stroll. The sun was sort of out now so we took our time about it, took pictures of some flowers and then we stumbled upon the bats.
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I have never seen so many bats in my life. There were about four or five trees full of these leathery capsules.
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Thankfully the majority of them were motionless but a few were flapping about and making a fuss. I found it all a bit eerie but Adam liked them and wanted to get a picture of one of them in flight so I waited dutifully.
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That box ticked we continued on and spent the rest of the day dodging the rain, although we weren't too successful.

The next day was completely frustrating and we spent most of it in McDonalds using their painfully slow Wifi to find a place to stay in Santiago. This was also when I got up to speed with all the gapes in the daily record of our spendings. By the end of it I had plunged into a mood and really could not be bothered with anything and I think Adam captures my mood quite well here.
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The city seemed to be frustrating me, we couldn't afford anything and the truth about what Australia had actually cost us just compounded this fact even more. We left the plastic, pre fab modernity of McDonalds and went to sit in a park for a little bit but the sun was going down and it quickly got too cold. I decided a £5 steak each for dinner was the answer although Adam still thought this was a little extravagant, and he was probably right. We attempted to go back to the Opera House to see it at night but it seemed like a lot of effort to me and in the dark I stepped in to part of minimalist water feature, drenched my foot and declared I'd had enough for the day.

Thankfully for Adam I woke up in a slightly better mood. He however was feeling a little blue himself but being slightly more mature than I managed to put this to one side and we made good use of our last day in Sydney. First off we went to the Contemporary Art Gallery which was free, and both felt baffled at times about how certain pieces could really be art. Still there were some interesting, thought provoking and even interactive works on display.
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We just didn't linger so long over the video which showed someone trying to pull different inanimate objects through the holes in a ruler.

Next we walked up through an area of the city called the Rocks which I think used to be the poor, more industrial part. It sits close to the harbour bridge and there are lots of renovated terraced houses and some quite fancy shops selling opals and top end souvenirs.
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It was quite a long walk back in to the city then with our tummies rumbling and we were quite pleased when we reached Subway. This was really the cheapest and most filling option when it came to food. At least it involved some salad! Then we popped in to McDonalds for a 50p apple pie each and Adam managed to have a disjointed Skype conversation with his parents using the dodgy WiFi.

Then we walked back towards the Rocks and went over the Harbour Bridge as the sun was beginning to go down. We joined hoards of people who were getting in their after work run, I'm not sure how far it is across the bridge but there and back seems to be considered a good distance by many. It wasn't raining which was nice and we got some good photos of the dying sun on the white sails of the Opera House roof.
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We then walked back down and wandered around the harbour a little before making our final walk back to hostel. This had definitely been the best day we'd had in Sydney. With the weather improved and actually seeing a little more of the city it had given us a better lasting impression.
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Back at the hostel the man from Fuji had been replaced by a French man the previous night who also snored like a trooper. We were both looking forward to the private room we had secured in Santiago, despite both being a little apprehensive about what lay ahead.

Australia had been really enjoyable, and we were pleased we'd visited both coasts as they are so vastly different when it comes to scenery and people. It was a good balance between the quiet remoteness in the West and the fast paced, bigger cities in the East. The freedom of the campervan and seeing Kellie had really made the visit memorable, the perfect interlude in our round the world adventure.

More Soon,

Laura & Adam

Posted by LauHot10 10:13 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world

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