The moment I sat in the seat of the shuttle bus in LA the butterflies that had been kept locked away started to flutter. I watched the buildings and colors of the city become a blur as the only thing that I could think about was seeing Joe and starting our adventure.
I found myself in the international terminal only to find out that I would be taking my international flight out from a domestic gate. It turns out that carrying a duffle bag, a small backpack and a large 70L pack completely wrapped in plastic wrap, 5 terminals down a busy airport is no easy task. By the time I made it through security my sweat had dried and I soon saw Joe walk through the Security gates.
Eight weeks is a long time, even for Joe and myself. That much time apart makes seeing each other that much sweeter. With ten hours in the airport and 14 1/2 on the plane, we had more than enough time to catch up.
Our internal clocks were all out of whack and when we arrived at our Hostel, our eyes and bodies drooped in a way of begging to finally find a place to rest. Check in still was an hour away and after walking around Sydney, a lot like zombies we finally found our way to our bed in the Hostel and slept for a good 14 hours.
It took some time to get on the new clock schedule but we finally achieved it. Our first days were spent exploring Sydney. Not only does the city consist of genuinely kind and good people but it’s clean, easy to get around and all around pretty great. Our first day was spent on a walking tour learning bits and pieces of the city we would’ve probably missed otherwise.
Sydney excels at bringing the big city and nature together in the wonderful mix of views and botanical gardens. We walked through and admired giant trees neither of us had seen before while gazing across the bay to the Sydney Opera House and the Harbor Bridge.
I went from watching snow try to cover the mountains outside my windows to flying to a country where beautiful purple spring flowers covered every branch of most of the trees. The sun beat down on the red roofs of the buildings throughout the city and the contrast of red and purple was like its own signature Sydney art piece.
The Harbor bridge and Opera House are both breathtaking in their own architectural way. Walking up to the opera house I placed my hand on one of thousands of white tiles that make up her outward shell. And while stepping onto the Harbor bridge the giant steel beams shook under the driving cars as both Joe and I gazed across the water that met the city and watched as boats and people went about their days.
You can explore almost the entire city by just walking. Chinatown seemed far on the map but with the hustle and bustle of a big city and so many things to keep you busy, you find yourself there before you know it. Sydney is a fun mixture of cultures and Chinatown was no exception.
When you can’t get to where you’re wanting to go by walking, Sydney offered probably the best transit Joe or I had ever seen. With the Opal card, you put a certain amount of money on it and you just tag on and off any mode of public transportation you desire. On Sundays the card maxes out at $2.60(AUD) and you can travel for free after that. From ferries, trains and buses- it applies to it all.
We took the 2 1/2 hour train ride to the town of Katoomba and stepped out into the Blue Mountains. With Joe getting over a cold and myself just picking one up we didn’t get to far but did find a shady spot on some sandstone and enjoyed a view that wasn’t tall skyscrapers.
Neither joe or myself are beach people, and to be quite honest I have a very large fear of the ocean but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go and see the famous beaches of Australia. We started at Bondi and walked across the cliffs and watched as surfers caught big waves and the ocean crashed along the sandstone walls. The water carved big and artistic holes and lines to the sandstone like it was it’s own personal sculpture.
Many of our days were finished off with naps and homemade dinners at the Hostel. Sydney was a bit of a unexpected gem in a lot of ways. The reason behind this trip was not only to travel but to get some big and amazing mountains under our belts... so to find such enjoyment from being in the city was a decent surprise.
We woke up yesterday morning after a week in Sydney and caught the shuttle bus before the sun broke the horizon. The airport was quiet and as the plane took off we waved our goodbyes to Australia. It’s hard to believe anyone could visit these places for just a week at a time. We did so much but as we were flying away we were already talking about what we were wanting to do next time we come back. Before we knew it, the Southern Alps of New Zealand broke the horizon and a massive smile of excitement grew across my face.