Wow... so Sydney... firstly we had sunshine all week (just to rub it in if you are reading this from england)...and secondly it has been GREAT meeting back up with Siobhan, it felt like we hadn't been away from each other (other than having 3 weeks of catch up to do)...
After the mammoth greyhound journey I navigated myself to the bus station... took a bus then a taxi to the address Siobhan had given me and knocked on the door to her in PJs jet lagged from Singapore the day before! It was great to have a base for the 6days in Sydney and me and Siobhan were staying at her second cousins house for the whole week alone right until the last 24 hours when he arrived!
I really enjoyed Sydney... it had better weather and was was a faster pace than Melbourne - being used to London I did prefer this!We saw all the main sites over the next few days; the Sydney Opera House (which looks brilliant even close up)... the bridge - which is actually smaller and not as good as I thought it would be (still you wouldn't get me doing the walk over that thing) and generally walked around the area in the sunshine.On other days we walked around the Botanical Gardens... "The Rocks" - a posh high street which is full of markets and a general buzz in the evenings and weekends... walked around central and circular keys (that's a good 30-40 minute walk) and had an unsuccessful trip to Bondi Beach - we couldn't find it (to summarise we mucked up the bus and train times ended up walking in the wrong direction for about an hour... got hungry... it got late... we ate and headed back after giving up in our tired state! LOL next time aye)... We also took a ferry ride under the bridge to Darlington Harbour - saw the fountains... Paddy's market .... shops ;) and other places/ landmarks which are just so pretty in the sunshine... Sydney central isnt that big so we were able to walk everywhere and explore the many places (same names as most London places- which got ridiculous at one point... a few egs: Kings Cross, Guildford, Oxford Street, Hyde Park, Regents Street are just a few places we walked and took a train past... it was surreal!).The blue mountains was also a day trip well worth while!! All the tours advertised this for about $100 and we were able to do this for half the price by getting the train there ourselves (though it took 2 hours - long... thank god for the ipod) and then we bought an explorer pass once there which allowed us to jump on and off the bus seeing the different views and doing the different trial walks round various waterfalls, cliff edges... "the three sisters" and "echo point" (the main sites)... there is a blue tinge over the mountains - hence the name ... but the views were so different from the ones we saw in Asia and it was nice to experience something new!
In Sydney we also bumped into old friends... Valentina - a girl Siobhan met in India who lives in Sydney took us to a delicious Indian restaurant (traditional) and we had a Bollywood evening with her watching films in the house too - nice to take a more relaxed pace as central Sydney was a 30minute bus away and the suburbs FIVE DOCKS where we stayed was nice and had its own more chilled atmosphere... we found a supermarket, a place to use the internet, a postoffice and all in a short walk... I must admit it was nice to have a few nights in cooking our own "normal" meals and chill out for a bit too... on one of the days I even met up with Kok-Yan (who went to my secondary school) us three hung out by the habour and went to the famous Lindt cafe for milkshakes/ hot chocolates to enjoy by the pier...NICE!
In Sydney it is also very multi-cultural (like London) though more with Asians EVERYWHERE - like half the people are oriental (it was quite nice after being in Korea - the familiarity of it all)... it is also SO expensive the AUD is becoming so strong compared to the pound so we haven't been drinking out (as its London prices - and even more in some areas!)...
On our last night Siobhan's cousin and his Mrs came home and we were treated wine and pizza and a night watching the bats fly overhead in the garden (giant fruit bats to add to the long list of Australian wildlife...as well as the night time bugs cringe!!!).
The next day whilst packing and pottering away - having a relaxing day before the 13 hour Greyhound trip... we sorted out all our bits and bobs (mainly looking at accommodation further on the east coast and flight times to Perth... etc) we were cooked an Aussie brunch; A fry up on the BBQ with champagne too - and met some of their friends which came round too... every now and again its lovely to be surrounded by friends and family (even if they're not yours!) and I watched them decorate the house and put up the Christmas try - home-sickness slightly creeping in... it was nice to share that with them but I know for the next two weeks me and Siobhan have some beach chilling to do on the East coast with we are BARE excited about... in the week to come we have planned: Byron Bay, Surfers' Paradise and Byron Bay - and its supposed to be 25-30oC so can't wait!!!