This might be a long one so bear with me, but I have so much to say about this amazing, incredible, beautiful city that won my heart in just 4 days.
About 5 minutes after publishing my last post where I whined about not meeting new people, a girl in my dorm room struck up a conversation with me and invited me along with her and another girl to visit Manly beach the following day. Since I had already been planning to go to that very spot the next day too, I happily accepted the offer. My first real “friend” on this trip! Yay! I soon found out she was German, which her accent had already given away, and that her name was some variation of Alissa or Elisa… or something like that (we obviously aren’t BFF status since I don’t even know how to spell her name).
The next morning we went for coffee at the cutest cafe next to our hostel and then met up with her friend, Chelsea, who surprisingly enough is from Nanaimo but has been living and working in New Zealand for 2 years. It’s crazy that I go to university so close to her hometown on Vancouver Island but met her on the other side of the world. It’s funny how that works.
The three of us headed to Circular Quay where we would catch the ferry over to Manly. The views along the way were beautiful and when we arrived to our destination it felt like we had been whisked away into another world. The streets were lined with palm trees and shops which made it feel like a total vacation town and reminded me of beautiful Nice, France or Split, Croatia. Considering that those were two of my favourite spots on my Europe trip, you can imagine how much I loved this little place. Since it was a Sunday, there was a market on the main street that was lovely but made it busy as heck. After walking around for a bit we settled into a spot on the beach to catch some rays.
On our way back to the ferry we came across an animal “petting zoo”, if you will, where a lady was showcasing a non-venomous python! I hated it but I was too intrigued not to stop by and pet it. It felt weird and rubbery and smooth and I didn’t like it at all, but at least I can say I’ve touched a python!
With that, we headed back to Circular Quay on the ferry and watched the golden hour turn into an orange sunset over the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. It was so beautiful and we hardly spoke a word on the way back as we took in the sights one last time.
One of the best things about having a group with me was that I could stay out at night without being nervous or feeling unsafe. We went on a walking tour of The Rocks area and learned all about the history of the Europeans coming to Australia. It was really interesting and ended at Observatory Hill where a stunning view of the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney skyline lit up the night sky. There were also fantastic views of the stars overhead, which I obviously loved. It was the perfect end to a perfect day and I am so happy I got to see the liveliness of downtown Sydney at night.
Today, my last day here before my overnight greyhound to Byron Bay, didn’t start off too perfectly. I thought I would take the ferry over to Mosman Bay which is a cute area in North Sydney with some shops and a nice beach… or so I thought. Long story short, I got on a bus with full intentions to get off whenever it seemed like a good spot, but the quaint streets quickly turned into not so pleasant business areas and I ended up staying on the bus until the last stop where I got on the train right back to my hostel. So, not my greatest success but I quickly got over it and went back to Coogee to lay on the beach and enjoy a delicious smoothie bowl. I then bussed back to the city and walked to Darling Harbour where I am now sitting in the glorious sun and reminiscing on my time in Sydney.
Michael and I always used to laugh at the commercial for the TV series “Anne” (a new take on Anne of Green Gables) when the young girl shouts “I am enthralled by the beauty of this landscape” … or something along those lines. We found it hilariously dramatic but after these past few days in Sydney and it’s surrounding areas, I want to scream those very words at the top of my lungs! I understand now, Anne. I am so amazed by this magnificent and wonderful paradise that exists down on this part of the earth. Man oh man I have slowly but surely fallen in love with this city! It has everything I could ever want: lush trees everywhere, gorgeous sandy beaches, and most importantly, delectable vegan food.
Despite the fact that there is a fish and chips restaurant on every corner claiming to be the best in the city, Sydney is quite the vegan foodie’s paradise. I mean they even have a CHAIN vegan burger joint, does it get any better than that?! I think not, and every time I turn a corner and see the glorious words “Soul Burger,” my heart skips a beat. If only we had them in Calgary or Victoria, because I get mad veggie burg cravings pretty much every other day that unfortunately go unsatisfied the majority of the time. It’s quite devastating not having quick access to delicious vegan burgers in my homeland and it is something I will miss terribly when I return.
Aside from the amazing food I’ve been paying way too much for but enjoying every bite of, this city makes me feel so happy and alive! I feel so at peace and content but also inspired and motivated. I can’t even explain how marvellous my 4 days here have been and how heavy my heart is that I have to leave.
I just sat down on a pier in Darling Harbour to write down these thoughts when I looked up at the skyline and saw a sign… like really, a sign, both literally and figuratively. It says “TAL”. If that doesn’t scream “you belong here!!!!” then I don’t know what does. I mean yeah, obviously it’s some business that just coincidentally has their acronym standing tall above the skyscrapers, but is it a coincidence that as my heart was exploding with love for this city I looked up and saw my name in all caps?! There’s no way! It was clearly meant to be because I kid you not, it was the first thing my eyes fell upon when I tilted my head up to marvel at the city, even among the endless amount of buildings surrounding it with their own names spelled out at the top. Come on, that’s gotta be some sort of fate.
While I’m very excited for my time in Byron Bay and everything else that is still to come on my East coast adventures, I have left a big chunk of my heart, if not my whole entire gosh darn heart, in my tropical New York, my London in the sun. I will miss you terribly, Sydney, but I know without a shadow of doubt that I will be back.
Onto the next adventure! I am so ready to see what the rest of this country has to offer, although Sydney has definitely set the bar high! As for being alone on this trip, I have quickly come to love the freedom and excitement of doing whatever I want, whenever I want. Plus, in a place this incredible, I don’t have any time to feel lonely. There’s just too much to be happy about! I literally walk through the streets smiling to myself because I feel so lucky to be here.
Until next time,