The first words of the Australian national anthem are “Australians all let us rejoice for we are young and free,” which seems especially applicable to Sydney. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more young and free than I did while we were walking through its streets and seeing the harbor for the first time.
Sydney is an incredible city. As much as I liked Melbourne, Sydney just has more to offer. Our stay started off with a bang when we arrived during free wine night at our hostel. They were not stingy with it, either! The following day we walked and walked and walked. We saw the Botanical Gardens, Hyde Park, the Domain, the harbor, the bridge, the Opera House and The Rocks District, and then we walked across the bridge and saw some of North Sydney, and then we walked all the way back after that. I was just so thrilled with the city that I didn’t want to stop sightseeing all day.
After that long day, I was exhausted and we decided to take it a little easier. We went back to The Rocks, a historical neighborhood that used to be the dodgy part of town with all the gangsters, but is now a really fun and interesting area. They have a market there every weekend that has all sorts of crafts, clothes and other random things. That night we watched the All Blacks knock Australia out of the Rugby World Cup. Since we were rooting for New Zealand, we decided to just stay in and watch the game from the safety of our hostel! No, actually rugby isn’t as popular here as it is in New Zealand.
We also took a couple of day trips outside of the city. One day we rode the train out to the Blue Mountains and did a little hiking there. It was quite pretty, but nothing compared to New Zealand’s scenery. Another day we took the ferry to Manly Island to enjoy the beaches there. That morning, Julien, a French guy in our hostel, asked if he could come with us and practice his English. We said sure and had a nice day hanging out with him. He’s a photographer, so he and Brad had a lot to talk about. (You can check out Julien’s pictures here.)
And just like that our time in Sydney was over. I’ve kind of been dreading writing this post because I’m not sure how to sum up Sydney in a succinct and interesting way. We saw many strange and contradictory sights, like homeless men sleeping across the street from Lamborghini dealerships and puddles of vomit outside of expensive clubs with beautiful views of the harbor. For me, just being there and taking it all in was thrilling. If I had to sum it all up, I would probably say the city seems young, fit, energetic, beautiful and fun. In any case, we had an awesome time and I really hope we can go back there again some day.