Yesterday was an interesting day, after being woken up at 4am and failing to get back to sleep, I finally got up at 7 and then out of the hostel by 10ish. I was half thinking of waiting for everyone else to wake, but they don't seem to be morning people like myself, and I wanted to get on with my day.
After managing to sort out topping up my phone, or as they call here "recharging" it, I had another McDonalds breakfast (I need to find a healthier way of starting my day!) and started to wander in the direction I considered the Royal Botanical Gardens to be. On my way I stumbled upon a lovely little park called Hyde Park (it's worth noting that there are a couple of places and suburbs in Sydney that share their name with places back in the UK). I wasn't planning on seeing as much of it as I did, but I did find a couple of nice spots to stop and read my book.
The Royal Botanical Gardens are just a short work North from Hyde Park past St Mary's Cathedral. When you're wandering the shopping malls and arcades down George Street, it's hard to imagine that Sydney can accommodate these large open spaces as well. The Gardens themselves have quickly become one of my favourite places, encouraging you to not stick to the path and to see everything. I didn't manage to view all the gardens, instead sticking to East side so that I could make my way up to the Opera House. The rest of the gardens are the bits I want to see with places like the tropical house, so I plan on going back.
If there's one thing that I'm finding sets me apart from everyone else on this Ozintro group that I've come with, it seems to be this. I'm quite happy wandering around the parks and gardens with the aim of chilling out with a book and taking my time. Whilst they come back after spending time their and seem as oppositely impressed as I am.
We've got a trip to the Blue Mountains on Friday that people back home insisted were a must see, yet others on the Ozintro group before us were insisting "it's boring. Once you've seen one mountain and waterfall, you've seen em' all. Don't go". It's quite disheartening to feel so divided from everyone else.
After having a vague glance at the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge (and finally finding enough souvenir shops to satisfy the people back home with postcards and momentos) I walked back down what's quickly becoming one of my favourite streets, George Street. It seems to contain all the shopping down it and has some lovely independent shops (a lot of chocolate ones) and rustic looking arcades. The style is very swish, even for the more everyday clothes shops. The city reminds me of a mixture of London in a big way. You can see the history in a lot of the older buildings, whilst at the same time it's still a very modern and new city, the skyscrapers mixing in well. Whoever was the architect for this place did a pretty solid job. As a result I've fallen in love for the city and if possible, it's replacing London as my favourite. Whilst I'm still to find the best places to eat for this and that, I want to spend more time here to learn the city in more detail. Even when it was raining yesterday, the Queen Victoria Building still looked magnificent for a shopping mall.