I am a sunny person. I am often overly optimistic, extremely peppy, and very happy. I love the color yellow. I love the warmth. My favorite weather is extremely sunny weather.
Given all of the things above, you’d think Sydney, Australia would be one of the best places for me to visit since it has over 300 sunny days a year!
You’d be mistaken…
Ryan and I arrived on one of those rare 65 days of rain…
Not just rain. Lots of rain.
The 5 days spent in Sydney all had at least 5 hours of pouring rain per day (5 on a good day, 24 on the bad…)
Now given my sunny personality, I don’t deal with rain very well. You’d say it really rains on my parade (pun intended).
Just ask Ryan. He can affirm that I am a major crab when it’s rainy with mood swings worse than a pregnant woman.
I’d just like to say my boyfriend is a trooper, a patient man who still likes me despite these rainy, crying days! I am lucky!
Anywho enough about that! All that was setting the stage for what you really want to hear about: SYDNEY!
The land of the Harbour, the opera, history and the ferry!
Our journey started sitting in the Melbourne airport… For 2 extra hours since our 10:50 flight didn’t end up departing due to intense fog until 12:50. However, eventually after a (seemingly) long 1 and a half hour flight on a budget airline, we made it to Sydney! Flying in over the Harbour I looked below and caught a glimpse of the city I was about to discover!
Upon arriving at our hotel, The Lord Wolsey hotel in Ultimo, we were checked in by the bartender and handed our keys and no instructions of where are room was. At first I was a little skeptical… I mean we did check in at a bar… But finding our way up the two wooden staircases to our clean, simple two twin bed room, my worries ceased. This was quite a nice hostel. After unpacking, it was time for exploration!!
Walking the 20 minutes into the center of the city, we passed Chinatown (one that was said to be one of the largest), went through the Paddy Markets (a very large indoor market space with every touristy thing and fruit and vegetable you could think of!), and finally landed on a nice place to have a drink and ponder what our plan of attack would be! Armed with little to no knowledge we didn’t make it far before deciding to stroll into the local Hilton hotel and speak with the concierge for some recommendations! As we left, the sky let loose and we got significantly wet in our search for dinner and walk home.
However after a dry bed and 9 hours of sleep the new day on Sunday looked promising as it was only sprinkling out! As soon as we stepped outside heading to church the sky decided it was going to play another joke on us and begin to pour again. It was not a beautiful, nor happy, nor fun walk to Central Station where we caught a bus out to Hillsong church. Hillsong church is such a cool, modern church that I will be calling my home while I am here! (the Melbourne campus that is, however the Sydney campus we attended was really cool as well!) the sermon was very uplifting and my spirits were high, until on the walk home it rained again…
Coming back to the hostel and changing socks we got warm and ready to face the next part of our day! Planning out the rest of our days in Sydney!
We found our way to a beautiful Harbour called Darling Harbour and I’d say it was just that, darling! The sun finally decided to make an appearance and say hello to cold and wet travelers! It was such an appreciated boost in the day! As I snapped pictures of the water, the seagulls, and the beauty and we found a place to lunch, the day was looking up!
Then stopping into the visitors center we grabbed maps, pamphlets, and talked to Miss Louisa about what we should do while in Sydney! She suggested loads of ideas including what we should do for the rest of our day Sunday: take the free bus out to The Rocks, the first settlement in Sydney and then head out and see the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House before taking the ferry over to Manly!
So we checked off the first two things on the list, seeing The Rocks and all the artisan markets in that area, and taking in the breathtaking views of Sydney Harbour including the bridge and the opera house (of course with many pictures for proof) and then went to purchase our tickets for the ferry out to Manly! We weren’t exactly sure where we were going but all my friends in Melbourne suggested we do this!
So we bought our ferry tickets! As we were waiting on the ferry I got a craving for ice cream (actually this was going on all day, however at this point it reached its peak) and I couldn’t get it out of my head. The sights of the water, the cliffs, and the towns we were passing did a good job of distracting me from this craving, but alas as the ferry docked, it came back!
So what does a cheapskate do? Go into the local Aldi and buy a carton of ice cream (cause we all know it’s cheaper this way even though you will waste some) and take it out by the dock to eat. As we ate our ice cream straight out of the carton, looked off into the Pacific, and dangled our feet over the edge of the dock, we began to notice little delights: I happened to look out at the horizon and notice 6 dolphins jumping, Ryan happened to look down and see a stingray swimming directly below our feet, and we both sat mesmerized at the black duck who kept on diving under for minnows. It was a truly beautiful moment; as the sunset we took in the world.
Finally pulling ourselves away from the beauty we found our way to the beach on the other side of the strip of land known as Manly. There we snapped pictures and felt the pacific ocean before deciding what we were feeling for dinner. Walking around everything was quite pricey and nothing was suiting our fancy. Ryan luckily remembered me reading about some wine bar that was supposed to be worth the trip out to Manly and we were searching in our guide books for the location before looking up and seeing it was right in front of us and had half price pizzas! So we chatted and laughed over $10 Pumpkin, Rocket, Goat Cheese, Pine Nut Pizza and Fig, Pancetta, Pesto, Rosemary, Double Brie Pizza! It was wonderful!
It was only topped by our completely dry ferry ride back into the Sydney Harbour! Seeing the lights of the city as we came into the Harbour was just stunning! Definitely one of those moments where you wish your camera could capture what your eyes see! The walk back wasn’t even that long from the Harbour either! However, after the long day we crashed for a 9 hour night of sleep!
Awaking, Monday’s weather unfortunately didn’t bring any surprises. We awoke to the pouring of rain and I knew it would be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. (If you get this reference I am grinning right at you right now! ) Anywho, we decided we would go to the inside Wildlife Sanctuary and Aquarium this day at Darling Harbour. After a very wet and tearful walk to the Sanctuary all the cute animals lifted my mood and we spent most of our morning and part of our afternoon between these two places and eating calamari for lunch! Finishing it off with a couple hours of chatting in a coffee shop and heading to the local grocery store to get fixings for some homemade chocolate chip cookies and dinner, it was all in all, a successful day!
Tuesday there was sun!!! It was not pouring when I awoke and I was finally able to go for a very needed run! I ran for less than 4 miles but it was EXACTLY what I needed! You ever had that experience where you just know that this one thing will change your outlook on life in any given moment? Well other than Jesus, running is that thing for me (hence the title of my blog…). I went for a beautiful run by the Sydney Fish Markets, a local Greyhound racing track, and a cute residential area of Ultimo. It was such a fun run full of hills and puddles to jump over! One I returned and had a shower and stretch out it was time to face the day!
We caught the free bus down to the Sydney Harbour (also known as Circular Quay, pronounced Circular Key, which took me the longest time to get!) and then found our way via buses out to North Bondi beach: the surfing capital! I love the beach and it wasn’t raining so this was right up my alley! We strolled along the clean beach near the teal ocean and took pictures by the cliffs. There were these amazing ocean pools that are actually what they sound like: a pool that is cemented in but fed directly by the ocean! Ryan and I were going to go watch the swimmers and have something at the café for a moment but when it started raining we decided to head inside. The closest place was the Iceberg restaurant and a perfect place to take shelter! We got a couple drinks and had the most stunning view overlooking the cliffs, the ocean, and the pool.
When it stopped raining we headed out to walk along the 5.9 km Coastal Walk to Coogee Bay. It was a stunning walk full of so many moments where you should just stop taking pictures because you know it will be impossible to choose which ones are your favorite but it is just so beautiful you can’t! We stopped at a local fish place in Bronte Beach when it began to rain again to grab a huge, filling, and delicious lunch to fuel the rest of our walk.
Finishing the walk in the extreme wind that came up from the storms as well as the ocean was both challenging and fun. I ended my journey with a delicious latte before catching the bus back to the city! This was by far my favorite place in Sydney!
Tuesday night was full of exploration, both for Ryan and I. Ryan headed out to the Sydney Opera House to see a show as I headed to walk around and explore Chinatown and get some work done for Uni. It was quite a relaxing and productive night!
The light that shone in the window Wednesday morning and my mommy calling on Skype brought me so much joy! We finished our journey in Sydney with a trip up into the Sydney Tower Eye where we took in the city from above and ate a very large pasta lunch out at The Rocks, saw the Sydney Harbour and the Darling Harbour for one last time before heading back to the airport.
Our flight back to Melbourne was quite uneventful and here I sit, writing this journal and post, back safe and sound in my dorm! Sydney was such a cool experience despite the rain! I definitely recommend travelling here!