Friday, August 23, 2013

Sydney, Australia

After a completely awesome day at the Australia Zoo, I boarded my flight to Sydney, a little worried about the hostel I had chosen to spend my next two nights in. This leg of the trip was going to be me completely on my own, and I won't lie... I was excited, but way more nervous than anything else. The flight was good and I sat on my own little isle, and I spent my time reviewing the directions to my hostel and praying that I would have just as much as an amazing time in Sydney as I had in Brisbane and Melbourne.

We landed right as the sun went down, so I was a little concerned about finding my place. I took the subway under the airport to the Queens Cross terminal and walked up to the street, completely unsure which direction I needed to go.

double decker subway train!

Thankfully a kind Aussie saw my confusion and lead me in the right direction. He was pretty impressed that I was in Australia alone, all the way from the States. I checked into my hostel, Chiliblue Backpackers and lugged my bags up three flights of stairs to my room. There, waiting for me was a huge German guy lounging on his bunk, and a shirtless Austrian dude lying on his. So I turned a little red and introduced myself, trying to look as unembarrassed as possible. There was one bed left, and it happened to be a queen size, so I was super worried some person would check in during the middle of the night and get in bed with me.

Needless to say, I did not sleep too well that night. Not to mention my sunburn from the beach was killing me at the same time.

I woke up in time for the free breakfast provided by the hostel, and quickly snarfed down the eggs and toast they were serving. I attempted a shower, but the water never got warm so I vetoed that idea. The shower was just this little room with a door that locked. Same with the toilet.

So I finished getting ready and I headed out to join up with a free tour of Sydney, so I could see all the sights with a native, like i was used to.

A shot of my room door, just for remembering sake
It took me forever to figure out my map, so I was really glad I left at 9:20 to meet up with the tour at 10:30. The girl running the tour was very nice and chatty, and she knew where Utah was right away! We started on the tour and she pointed out all the awesome buildings because she's an architecture major and loves the little details, which made me very happy.

Old churches are wedged between modern buildings.
It's pretty awesome looking.

A really cool architechural part of Sydney's history is the word Eternity written all over the city. A drunk guy heard his first sermon a few years after Sydney was settled, and the word Eternity really stuck out to him, so he learned to spell it, and wrote it everywhere he could. Bell towers have Eternity engraved on them, sidewalks, chairs and even a church bell got their tags. This cement square was at the base of a very pretty waterfall, and it was the best picture of all the Eternities I could get.

The largest shopping area in Sydney is the Queen Victoria Mall, and outside the building is this statue of Queen Victoria's favorite dog. Get this. It talks if you wave at it.

With all the expanding of Sydney, a lot of bird species died out and moved away once their trees were cut down. This alleyway has dozens of bird cages hanging from wires, and there is audio of birds chirping playing quietly. In the sidewalk. there are bricks with each species carved into them. It's like the "sorry we killed your habitat" exposition.

Sydney has a lot of statues througout the city that are replicas and 'sister statues' of others in other countries. The man reading the paper can also be found somewhere in England, and somewhere in the States. The doughnut ring things can also be found in Scotland.

She took us into the immigration building to show us the coolest map of Sydney. it's a scale replica of the city, set under the plexiglass floor. Unfortunately lighting was too sucky to take a picture of the entire thing, but I found the Opera House and took a picture of it.

We had been on the tour for about 2.5 hours by this point, and I was ready to finally see the Opera House. We stopped for a tidbit session with this bridge in the distance, and she started talking about how you could pay hundreds of dollars to hike that thing and get beautiful views of the Opera House. So I got excited, looking around for the majestic white building that I had first laid eyes on in Finding Nemo.

I'm serious. Finding Nemo is what put Australia on my list of places to go as a kid.  I wanted to see the shiny white building for myself.

So we continued on, and walked up a crapload of steps to a viewing platform. And there it was.

I just stood there for minutes that seemed like hours, just in awe that I was finally gazing at the Sydney Opera House with my very own eyes.

It is absolutely beautiful, with the sun shining off the peaks and glittering into the water.

The tour ended there, so I tipped her my last 4 dollars in coins and sat and stared at the building for a little longer. Finally I felt a little creepy and got up to wander around the city myself.

I spent about 3 hours in the coolest art museum I've ever toured, and it was free! Yes!

After spending the day looking at sights, I got myself some sushi rolls at the Queen Victoria mall and once it was dark I headed back to my hostel.

Will I ever stay in a hostel again? Not if I'm alone I won't! I luckily got moved to a different bed that night, so I wasn't worried some stranger would get in bed with me, so I slept a lot better night two.

I woke up on the 22nd and ate my last breakfast in Australia. I attempted a shower again, and gave up when the water was still ice cold. I got dressed, packed up my bags, locked everything shut and checked out of my room. I took the subway back to the airport and before I knew it, I was boarding my flight back home.

So I'm home, and I am so grateful to my friends for hosting me for such a long time! I had the absolute time of my life, and I can not express how thankful I am for my friends Naomi, Connor, Jordan, Melissa and Sharleen. I miss you guys already!

I am so incredibly lucky to have such adventure in my life!

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