Instead of booking a flight to Sydney, we arrived on a 14-hour overnight bus ride from Byron Bay. With Ryan drooling on the seat beside me, I awoke to the sounds of car horns and the smoke-filled commuter air while crossing the great Harbor Bridge. A hundred feet below I saw the white butterfly wings of the magnificent Sydney Opera House, signifying to me we really had made it to the other side of the world.
Sydney is certainly a fantastic place to be stuck! Perched on a stunning harbor, it’s a sophisticated city with a diverse population, thriving culinary scene and architectural excellence. Sydneysiders, as the city’s residents are called, are a chic and eclectic people with a strong pride in their city. They’re loyal as hell to their sports teams, their corner cafés and pubs and the sun and surf of their coastline. And for a nation at the end of the world – so geographicaly isolated – they seem to share an innate sense of adventure, to which I certainly relate.The visa waiting game lasted a good 10 days so we set up shop and set out to live like the locals. We rented an apartment in the Potts Point neighborhood of the city, which turned out to be an ideal home base. Sitting atop a hill overlooking the Sydney Harbor, it’s a stylish neighborhood whose leafy streets are lined with outdoor cafes, trendy eateries and upscale delis and bakeries selling French and Italian delicacies.
We enjoyed discovering the personality of each of Sydney‘s charming neighborhoods. It was a nice mix of taking in the hustle and bustle of city life and relaxing. Highlights for us will definitely be:
- Starting our days off right, highly-caffeinated on a strong flat white and proper ‘brekkie’
- Morning walks along Macquarie Point for views of the awe-inspiring Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge
- Perusing the bookstores of nearby Surry Hills and window-shopping at the Victorian homes-turned-boutiques of Paddington
- Experiencing the colorful Gay Mardi Gras celebrations (more to come on this!)
- Stumbling through Kings Cross, the gritty underbelly of the city where the good, the bad and the ugly congregate
- Exploring the scenic coastline surrounding Sydney and the famed Bondi Beach
- Uncovering Sydney’s past by walking around the cobblestone streets of The Rocks where the first settlers made their home
- Admiring the plethora of fashionistas on the streets who seem to try so hard to keep up their image
- Partaking in the lively outdoor food market scene
- Indulging daily in pastries at Sydney’s top-notch cafes
I found Sydney to be extremely livable and thoroughly enjoyed our stay. It’s comfortable, clean, green and easy to navigate. We can speak the language, drink the tap water, have hot showers and all the meals we enjoy back home. I am anxious, however, to get on the road again as this journey for me is more about facing the ups and downs and frustrations that come with immersing yourself in a completely foreign culture. It’s there, when faced with those daily challenges, that I find to be the most difficult yet the most rewarding.