From Bondi I moved to Surry Hills, a city suburb close to Central Station. I stayed at the Kangaroo Bakpak, which was quite small compared to some of the other places that I have been, but this made for a friendly and personal experience. It was very easy to meet people there as it had a really sociable atmosphere and there was always something going on from nights out drinking to pizza and film nights.
When I first arrived I chatted to two of my roommates before dumping my backs and heading in to the city centre for my first real taste of Sydney. I walked from Surry Hills along Oxford Street towards Hyde Park (I love the English names of places here! Obviously our predecessors didn't have much of an imagination) and on the recommendation of one of the girls that I met went to the Australian Museum. I also walked to see the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge before heading to Darling Harbour, the Aquarium, Haymarket and China Town. I was pretty satisfied with a full day of city exploring, so I treated myself with a night out on the town. It was meant to be a quiet one (famous last words), but I ended up going to World Bar in King's Cross and didn't get in til gone 2!
Surprisingly enough though, I woke up without a hangover so I went for a run around Centennial park, which was absolutely beautiful and a popular spot for joggers and cyclists alike. I'm not sure, however, that the other people in the hostel appreciated my energy so early in the morning especially when they were mostly suffering with sore heads. Some of the others were sat down to watch the first episode of the third series of Gavin and Stacey so I joined them, and before I knew it pretty much a whole day had gone by spent watching TV and films! But it was nice to relax, chill out and have the time to properly socialise with people after my non stop activity in Japan. That night we went to a place called 'Favela' (Brazillian word for slum) for my first 'all you can eat Brazilian style BBQ'. It was a pretty amazing venue, and I liked the atmosphere and concept complete with pillow cases on washing lines above our heads to create the feel of a mock slum.
The next day I took the ferry to Manly (with incredible views of the iconic Sydney harbour skyline, which made me feel like I needed to pinch myself) to meet up with my course mate from uni, Kemi. We hung out on the beach for a while, and she introduced me to Copenhagen ice cream (freshly made, amazing selection of flavours, and more toppings than you can shake a stick at) and then we went and sat on the rocks overlooking the esplanade, taking in the views and philosophising about life! When I got back to the hostel it was film and pizza night, so all in all it was a pretty good day.
I treated myself to one of the first lay-ins since beginning my travels the next day, coincidentally along with everyone else in my room! I was suffering with a sore throat too, so it seemed like a good enough excuse. In the afternoon, I walked down to Centennial Park via Fox Studios and the Sydney Football stadium to lay in the sunshine and read my book. Then, after feeling guilty about such a lazy start, I went running in the early evening, before getting ready for another night out. I didn't drink too much though in preparation for moving hostels and meeting my parents in the morning although I still managed to stay out until 3am.
Packed up and grabbed a taxi to meet mum and dad at their hotel at 9am the following morning. It felt very strange to meet them the other side of the world. After a big hug we went to get breakfast together at the museum café. Then as if I was a local I showed them around Sydney a little bit, like Circular Quay, the Rocks and Darling Harbour. Coming out in sympathy of their jet lag, I forced myself to join them for a little afternoon snooze back at their hotel room before getting showered and changed ready for a spot of dinner at Darling Harbour (something light, eh mum?!) and no alcoholic beverages in prep for our bridge climb the following day.
On the Monday, dad and I met at 9am to climb the Sydney harbour bridge. What an incredible experience. And just a shame mum didn't take part too as we think she would have really enjoyed it. It was a bit cloudy so we couldn't see the Blue Mountains, but the views and sensation of being high above the rest of the world below you was pretty amazing by itself - and it was so nice to share it with someone else. Especially when my dad fell in to fits of hysterics after hearing a story about an unexpected proposal on the bridge that ended with the woman screaming no and slapping the face of her so called beloved. Such a warped sense of humour that we share…
After the climb we met up with mum, went to have brunch/lunch (as we had all skipped breakfast so were famished) and then took the bus to Coogee to walk back along the coastal path to Bondi. We stopped for a drink in a café in Bondi, to watch the world go by and then that night we went to an Indian restaurant at Finger Wharf on the recommendation of the hotel concierge. It was Indian fine dining (something I have wanted to try for some time) and we had seen finger wharf from the bridge, so it was the perfect ending to the perfect day.
For the next day we took the ferry across to Manly, lay on the beach for a bit (little cloudy, but we managed to have a bit of a snooze), then we hired bikes and rode around the island, heading to the national park and Shelly Beach. It was good fun, but seriously hilly! As if our legs hadn't had enough of a work out, we went back to the hotel for a swim, then went to the Opera Bar for a cocktail overlooking the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, then on to the oldest hotel Lord Nelson to sample their own brewed beer (more for dad's sake than ours), then to Fish at the Rocks for a delicious seafood meal - as an ongoing anniversary celebration for my parents and a bit of a nod to Christmas for the three of us. Then a fond, and a little teary goodbye (on my mum's behalf anyway), as my parents were moving on to Melbourne.
Since my parents have left I have spent my days meeting people in the hostel, hanging around and sightseeing in Sydney, and then making my acquaintance with the Sydney nightlife in the evenings and early hours of the morning… Given that I am planning on staying in Sydney for a lot longer than any other place I have been able to spend days doing not very much at all without worrying that I am wasting time. And to try to get us in the Christmas spirit, since it is still very strange to experience a summer time Christmas myself and a couple of the girls I have met here headed down to The Domain for a televised summer festival/carol concert (expertly named Carols in the Domain). I still cant believe Christmas is in a matter of days, but I am determined to get the obligatory photo of me in a bikini and Santa hat if the weather holds up that is!