That Monday waking up in Sydney felt a lot like waking up on Christmas morning. I found it hard to stay asleep and most of the night I found myself staring blankly at the ceiling. It was much like in my youth when I would wait anxiously for Santa to bring presents. Except I’m an adult, Christmas was 2 months ago, and it was about 40C outside. So even though I knew I wouldn’t wake up to any presents, I was still looking forward to waking up anyway.
The night before my friend, Emma, took me to a grocery store to stock up on supplies for the week. To any normal person I would have probably looked insane the way my face lit up at the sight of foods I actually recognized. I’d been in Asia for so long that I forgot what a normal grocery store looked like without assorted seaweeds, fish, and kimchi. I may have gotten a bit carried away and put too many things in the cart, but Emma did say to grab whatever I wanted. The only condition was that I would cook for her and share a few tips that I’d picked up in the kitchen.
After some quick brekkie (breakfast) I eagerly headed towards the train for the central business district, also known as the CBD, and Emma made her way to work. My Sydney adventure was about to begin!
Sydney Train system
Two words: f***ing confusing. Even after getting the railway app, which is supposed to help you catch the right trains and platforms, I was still confused as to which platforms to take. Coming from Korea where everything is hyper organised, to a system like this, made for a very painful headache. I’ll tell you what. If it weren’t for my Australian SIM card, and 3 gigabytes of data, I would not be able to get around this city. I did finally manage to figure out where I was going and arrived at my destination, Circular Quay pronounced key, after a 40 min train journey.
There is was, P Sherman 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney. Just kidding. I mean there it was! The Sydney Opera House! The kid in me let out a small tear of accomplishment. Ever since I was young, I always loved watching Australian movies and TV shows such as Kangaroo Jack, the Wiggles, The Crocodile Hunter and countless other Ozzie shows and films. I knew it would always be the vacation of my dreams. Which makes this kind of awkward as I’ve already been to over 30 countries before finally reaching Australian Shores. Trust me when I say I wish I could have come sooner, but AUstralia is very far from my hometown of Tampa, Florida. Purchasing only the flight ticket to Oz would have cost me everything I had. I promised myself that when I lived and saved money in Asia, it was for the sole purpose of being close enough to Australia to go on a vacation. This would have been a reality a year ago if it hadn’t been for my careless skiing accident which left me unable to walk the week before my trip. It took me a year to recover and prepare again. When I finally saw the Opera House there were no words to explain the amount of emotions I felt.
I spent about an hour scouring around the harbour trying to get a picture at every angle possible as well as taking countless selfies.
While walking around the Opera House trying to find the perfect spot to take a photo, I found myself standing in front of the gate of the botanical gardens. There I found some cheerful volunteers at the entrance that guided me to the perfect spot for taking a photo of both the bridge and the house. They were right. I did get my perfect postcard photo and background on all of my electronics, well for at least the next month. It was so easy to find too! You just have to walk with the water to your left and follow all the tourists!
I decided that it was too hot to continue walking around the gardens and wanted to spend some time gazing at the view. I found a bench and peacefully sat down to eat my homemade lunch, but I realized I wasn’t alone. Creeping up on me, and my lunch, was a menacing creature. It’s two beady eyes staring right at my sandwich. I was glad for the company, but after a few minutes of it inching closer and closer, I realized it only wanted to be friends with my food.
You know you are in Australia when it’s 40°C outside and -20° C inside every building.
If you keep following the water to your right while walking through the botanical gardens, you’ll find yourself in front of a European style building called the Art Gallery of NSW. I didn’t visit the art museum solely to avoid the blistering sun, but also to see some wonderful works of art. This art gallery is massive! I spent 3 hours exploring the floors and enjoying coffee at the cafe downstairs. They also have changing exhibits, as do most museums, the one currently showing is called “Nude”. The tickets were sold out for the live nude show that was apparently going on, but you can still see the nude artworks in the exhibit. I was uninterested in seeing the live sex show anyway, plus I’m a backpackers budget.
This art gallery is just across from Parliament House and the library, which is where I was headed next. In my honest opinion, the state library of NSW is the nicest looking library I’ve ever seen. I spent about 2 hours looking around and trying to catch up on my blog posts. Next time I go on a trip, I’m bringing my laptop.
The Rocks District
Tired and ready to head home, I walked towards the train station. I checked the time and it was only 3pm, still too early to quit! I noticed that the Rocks district was just next to the Circular Quay and the train station so I decided to walk through it a bit.
This is quite the most interesting thing about Sydney. The old buildings and stores from the historic era of Sydney during its colonization. Here you can find “The oldest pub” just across from The contemporary art museum. The class of the past with the present is something uniquely interesting. I can definitely see why the area is very popular with tourists. Having seen enough for the day, I took my last photo of the Opera House and then took the train home.