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A Sydney Side of Life

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Stairs of the Sydney Opera House at Sunset

Our arrival to Sydney couldn’t have come any sooner. We certainly knew there was more to this vast country than Bris-Vegas and the coastal party town we’d seen, and our Aussie experience was just about to turnaround.

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.

Extended Stay

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Victorian homes of Surry Hills

When planning our around the world trip, we imagined plotting out some lengthier stays along the way. Long-term travel often calls for the need to recharge your physical batteries, and the idea of planting our feet in a place for awhile has certainly been appealing. We didn’t, however, plan for this to happen so early in the game, nor in an expensive place like Australia. But as our nomadic lifestyle demands, we can‘t always call the shots. A delay in obtaining our travel visa for the next stop of our trip meant we were ‘stuck’ in Sydney to wait it out.

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.

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The surf in Bondi Beach

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.

Discovering Sydney
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

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Views of Sydney Harbor from Macquarie Point

Sydney is a multi-faceted city with so many different layers. We felt like we were discovering a new side and view of the city each day we were there. It certainly has earned a spot on my list of world-class cities.

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.

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Comments (2)

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  1. roundwego says:

    Glad to hear our post on Sydney has you excited for your upcoming trip to Australia! Sydney was definitely one of our favorite cities. Freezing back home now, we’re missing the city beaches and world’s best cafe scene. Enjoy your visit back to Oz!

  2. Amy says:

    Thank you for reminding me what a wonderful country I come from. I haven’t been back to Australia in almost 5 years but will be going back in May 2011 and, to be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to it that much. But after reading your post, I cannot wait to get back onto Aussie soil and enjoy all the wonders that my amazing country will show me and my husband (who has never been).