29.12.2008 - 07.01.2009 26 °C
What a relief to arrive in this beautiful city after the "rock" experience. Some great impressions we collected from Sydney:
Sydney has a big Asian population so the variety of Asian food offered is huge. Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean, Malaysian,... You can go for the cheap take-away or dine in a nice fancy restaurant, depending on the money you want to spent. Beware, Sydney is not cheap, so we found the Asian take-away a welcome alternative.
The water & The Bridge
Darling Harbour is just beautiful as is the rest of the harbour. Numerous bars and restaurants can be found along the side. There are several spots where you can take the ferry to cross the Sydney harbour, giving you the best view of the Sydney harbour bridge. We decided not to do the walk on the bridge. Although most Australians say it is the best thing you can do in Sydney, the price they charge is crazy and our experience learnt us that Australians have the habit of overstating things and making them look better than they actually are. So missed out on this one and we can't tell you whether the view is really that "spectacular".
Sydney opera house
Of course you can't leave Sydney without doing a tour of the world famous opera house. Outside architecture we found impressive. The design is unique and given the fact that it was a nightmare to build, the result is there. Inside however, we was a bit disappointed. We've seen more beautiful opera houses and theaters. But the tour is interesting because it gives you the history behind the construction (problems) of the building.
Bondi Beach & surfin dudes
This is one of the great things about Sydney. It's beaches. 15 minutes outside the big city you can find Bondi beach. Near the beach no big appartment buildings but small shops, bars and places to eat. What I liked about it is that it had the atmosphere of a small beach town. Of course, the surfers are nice to watch too Who doesn't want to be a cool surfer dude, hey? So Ansa took off to hire a surf board. It can't be that difficult, he said. After two hours of struggling to get into the deeper water and trying to lie down on his surf board, he abanded the ocean...for the day.
The next day we were picked up by a guy with a hangover and a van in a very bad state, driving to a remote beach only accessible by 4x4. We had a one day surfing course.
Man, it's hard! Even though the waves were not that big, it's is hard work to get into the deeper water. Once you are there you get on your surf board to find your sweet spot. When you see the wave coming, you paddle as hard as you can to get the right speed (after one hour in the water your arms get pretty tired). Then the wave reaches you and this is the moment where you stand up on your board and keep your balance! When you can't keep your balance, you drink a lot of salt water and you start again. And again. But it's all worth it when you surf that wave till you reach the beach. Yes!
The next two days we could hardly get out of bed cause our bodies were aching so much. We are getting old!
New Years Eve (NYE)
We saw the fireworks! Thank God for that. After four hours of queing we managed to get into the park that is supposed to offer the best view on the fireworks. However, there were 20,000 people with the same aspirations so finding a good spot to sit was not easy. Thanks to a german couple (Mark & Sandra) that we met in Cairns, bumped into in Ayers' rock and bumped into again in the 20,000 people crowd (do the statistics), we got smuggled into the VIP section and had a splendid view of the fireworks. The 10 minutes long fireworks. Imagine we would have got on a boat for 500 dollars per person...
We spent one day in the blue mountains, about two hours from Sydney by train. Here we were fortunate enough to see the sunset, it was not raining! Beautiful view, but a bit overstated by the Australians... One day in the mountains was sufficient for us.