G’day mates! I have arrived to the land down under! First off, let me just say that the flight from Dallas to Sydney was actually one of the best flights I’ve ever been on, and that’s saying something considering it’s 17 hours long. The plane was not full by any means so I got a whole row to myself, not to mention that I had a seat in the front of the plane that already had extra leg room. I got the best of both worlds: a window seat so I could marvel at the earth from thousands of feet above while also benefitting from the perks of an aisle seat aka being able to get up and pee without a fuss, which is great when you are like me and need to pee every two hours. They also had a great selection of movies and I got to watch Room and Lion, two movies I’ve been dying to see but not enough to pay to see in theatres… so that was a win!
We landed in Sydney early in the morning and got to see beautiful hues of orange and yellow from the sky as the sun was rising. It was one of the best landings I’ve ever experienced in my life and Sydney looked just as beautiful and enticing from above as it did once I finally got to venture out on land. It took me a little while to figure out how to get to my hostel, especially considering how unprepared I was by not writing down the address. I knew which train stop it was close to and once I finally found the train, I figured I’d be fine.
Once on the train, a kind Australian man asked if I knew where I was going. I said yes, it’s beside central station. He informed me that there are many different roads all around central station and that it would probably help if I had a street name. I didn’t. Thankfully, as we pulled into the station, I saw my hostel right across the street. I thanked my lucky stars because otherwise I would’ve been wandering around the streets aimlessly without any way of looking it up. I pointed it out and the nice Aussie told me which street that was and how to get there from the station. Bless that kind stranger’s heart!!! I wouldn’t have had a clue what I was doing without some guidance.
Once in my hostel, I quickly changed into some shorts and a t-shirt (that in itself felt amazing after the cold yucky weather of Calgary) and headed towards the harbour! Along the way, I wandered through Hyde Park and the Royal Botanical Gardens. They were so beautiful and full of exotic plants and flowers, palm trees, and unfortunately, spiders. I spotted a GIANT web and figured I’d take a closer look and sure enough, there he was: the first monstrosity of a spider to be seen on my trip down under. Ok, it wasn’t thaaaat bad. But the black and white furry legs on that bad boy were unlike anything I’ve ever seen before in my sheltered Canadian life, and something I really could go my entire life without seeing again.
I finally reached the harbour where the infamous Sydney Opera House stood across from the Sydney Bridge. I stood there and took it all in, because sometimes it’s really hard to believe you’re actually there when you’ve seen so many pictures of a place. Seeing it with my own two eyes made the elementary Tal in me shriek with excitement as I learned all about Sydney in grade one or two and dreamed of being able to see the opera house in real life.
I wandered along the harbour for a while when I realized I was starving. I figured I would head back towards my hostel and see if I found any cool places to eat along the way. I ended up stopping at a grocery store and grabbing a much needed 2L bottle of water, an apple, and a premade wrap which I took back to the hostel and ate on the terrace. After really contemplating giving into my drowsiness and taking a nap, I decided to venture out again and head towards the University of Sydney.
It took me a while to walk there but boy am I glad that I did. I can’t believe people just like me actually get to go to school there! It was the most beautiful campus I have ever seen: full of lush greenery and palm trees, abundant with green spaces where students were lounging between classes, and amazing old buildings. The campus itself was massive and I spent a good half hour just walking around it.
The area around the university is called Glebe and is known for its many little hole in the wall restaurants and shops. I ever so luckily stumbled upon a full vegan burger joint called Soul Burger. I wasn’t hungry in the least after my lunch but I thought how often, if ever, do I accidentally run into a vegan PARADISE like this?! I went in and ordered a “classic cheese burger” which was delicious and messy and wonderful and then decided to make my way back to the hostel.
I got lost along the way and wandered around the huge central station for way too long before I could figure out which side my hostel was on. And I hate to admit it, but at this point my jet lag hit me hard and I passed out at 6 o’clock… which explains why I am now up and fully awake at 4am, ready to take the day.
Today I am heading to Bondi Beach and am going to do the Coogee to Bondi walk, about 3 hours along the ocean. I know of some really good vegan restaurants in Bondi that I am dying to try so that is the plan for the day: hike, relax on a beach, and eat some good grub. Sounds like a perfect day to me, but nothing ever goes as planned when travelling, so well just have to wait and see what the day brings!