I know it sounds cliché but, just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, it did. I spent this weekend in Sydney, New South Wales and I honestly did not think I would get the chance to do as many interesting things as I was able to do. Of the many cities I have been fortunate enough to visit across the world, Sydney quickly became one of my favorites. I flew down with Wade, Jared, and Jared’s father who is in Australian on business. Flying domestically here is much easier than it is in the states. Flights are significantly cheaper, you don’t have to strip going through security, no identification is required (not sure if that is really good?), and the planes have more legroom. I was also fortunate enough to have an entire row to myself on the flight from OOL to SYD. Needless to say the trip was off a to solid start.
We arrived in Sydney on Thursday night at 10pm, took a cab to our hotel, grabbed some Maccas (McDonalds) and headed to bed. We stayed at the Marriott Harbour Hotel (courtesy of Mr. Grossman and the state of Virginia). While Jared and his dad had meetings to attend most of the day, Wade and I took full advantage of what the city had to offer. Our day began early at 8am, on a chilly overcast morning, as we made the short 2-block trek down to the beautiful Sydney Harbour. This is when the reality of being in Sydney really kicked in. As I took in the amazing sights that the harbour had to offer, I had to ask Wade if this was actually happening. Standing on the water’s edge looking at the Sydney Opera House and the massive Sydney Bridge, I honestly felt as if it was some sort of mirage. In my mind The Opera House has always been this mythical piece of architecture in a foreign land, but no longer. This foreign idea became a stunning reality, and I am not sure why it hit me so hard, but I felt like a child on Christmas morning.
Naturally, we had to go open our presents and see what was inside. As we made our way over to the ‘exploding sailboat’ (I mean, just look at it) we started snapping picture after picture. Since it was so early and cold outside, the place was rather vacant, which was a plus. I got several pictures taken with no other tourists to interfere. After the photo session ended, it was time to check out the building itself. First stop: the box office. Out of curiosity, we stopped at the box office just to get an idea of how much tickets were. Well, after some deliberating we decided that we had to go to a show, and that’s exactly what we did. We bought tickets to The Blue Planet, which is a live orchestra playing to the striking images of animals in the ocean. The show, which was on Saturday, was one of the most remarkable spectacles I have ever been to. It gave a very real sense of how marvelous, yet cruel, nature is, to the intense sound of a flawless orchestra. To sum the show up in one word, I would say it was captivating. I never thought I would attend a show in the Sydney Opera House in my lifetime, yet there I was.
Going back to Friday, Wade and I explored the city a bit and grabbed some lunch at a local café, which was phenomenal. That afternoon, we took a boat tour of the harbour. This was another spectacular part of the weekend, as we saw the skyline, Opera House, Sydney Bridge, and other sweet landscape from the water’s perspective. Friday evening, we rejoined with the Grossman’s and went to Blu Bar on 36, on the 36th floor of the Shangri-La Hotel, which over looked the harbour. This was one view that no matter how many words I use to describe it, justice will not be done. Astonishing!
Another early morning awaited us on Saturday as all four of us took the bus to famous Bondi Beach. This may ring a bell as I mentioned Bondi in a previous blog, being a fan of the Surf Life Saving reality show that takes place here. We walked around Bondi for a bit and took in the fantastic scenery that it offered, and also watched some rather impressive surfing take place. From Bondi, it was time to hit the Paddington Market. The market place was filled with several different hand made goods, mostly clothes, and other cool random stuff. I bought a few Christmas gifts for the family at Paddington, but obviously can’t discuss what they are. We left the market and headed for the Opera House to watch The Blue Planet, as I discussed earlier. In case you missed it the first time, the show was exceptional.
After a couple of action packed days, Saturday night was an early one. We went to a local Greek restaurant, which was quite good, and then called it a night. On Sunday, we made the quick 2-hour trip, via public transport, to Hillsong Church. Many of you may be familiar with Hillsong’s band, which is world renown. Hillsong was such an awesome experience, as we had each heard their music and even seen a couple of sermons online, but being there was so much better. If you haven’t heard their music, you should check it out. This was our last adventure in the greater Sydney area, and it was a fantastic finale. For those of you who have never been to Sydney, if you can ever find a way to make it there, GO. It really is a special place.
I want to end this blog a little differently; with a list of things I learned this weekend. Credit goes to Lara Parker as I am stealing this from idea her.
Things I learned: Nothing too insightful, but relavent nonetheless.
1- Talk to people, it’s amazing what you can learn from them.
2- Being in a cab, stuck at a red light is a terrible feeling. Tick, tick, tick.
3- It is good to try new things. This includes experiences, food, drinks, etc…
4- It is okay for me to spend money on stuff I normally wouldn’t. I mean, how many chances will I have to do these things in Australia?
5- Public transportation is not always true to its timetables.
6- I walk way to fast. I need to slow down and enjoy the scenery.