Australia, days 6 and 7: Sydney city-slickin’

Oh, man. My calves are feeling these last two days.

Yesterday (my Monday, Sunday-ish for you statesiders) was my designated museum day. I ended up hitting up two museums (which was actually a lot, okay?!) and exploring the city for the rest of the day. I was actually amazed that any museums were open on a Monday here. For being in a workaholic country, U.S. museums have a whole lotta blackout dates (including Mondays for some of them, oddly enough) that are sure to enrage art-lovers the country over. But, I digress. Yesterday was fun.

I was very responsible with the big girl camera on day 6 and took some pictures of my favorite pieces from the two museums I visited: the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Art Gallery of New South Wales. While the latter was, well, contemporary and somewhat small, the Art Gallery of NSW had both contemporary and classic art and was yuuuuge. I’ll let the pictures do the talking from here on out; both of these places are a must visit, basically:

sydney museum of contemporary art

sydney museum of contemporary art
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Now, day 7 saw a less-responsible side of me. As we ventured towards the Laguna Beach-like Manly Beach, I instantly regretted not bringing my big camera. Thus, I have but a few iPhone pictures to show thee.IMG_1725 manly beach manly beach IMG_1730 IMG_1731 IMG_1733 IMG_1739

The water was cold and the sand was soft, just like home. I smelled the same coconutty suntan oils I smell back in California. The teeny little waves reminded me of the summer trips my family used to take to Maui, where the ocean is like a giant, mellow jacuzzi. Except instead of being surrounded by pure touristic infrastructure like we were in Maui, we were surrounded by some of the most stunning residential architecture in Sydney. Seriously, I didn’t get enough pictures of it – the apartment buildings (like the one above) and homes were out of this world. Again, for me, Sydney is a place that is so foreign yet so comforting. I’m 17 hours away from my job and my apartment and my snake and my boyfriend and my friends and all the normal things in between, but pieces of home are scattered everywhere.

Tomorrow, I’ll be taking a day-long tour to the Blue Mountainswhich is sure to be a much different view of Australia than anything I’ve seen so far. As my eyelids are currently falling down my face, it is best that I catch some Zs so that I actually wake up for this tour tomorrow. We leave at 7:00. I won’t be on my A game at first, but I have to pretend like I will be.

Till tomorrow, my cornsnakes.

-H

Travel tip: I cannot stress this enough. If you really want to do something that involves limited space (i.e., getting on a tour, seeing a certain show, or visiting a certain museum that has limits), book that stuff in advance. Like, now. Otherwise, you’re either going to miss it or pay way too much for it. Not that I have any experience with that on this trip…

Australia, days 4 and 5: Sleepless in Sydney

I couldn’t resist. I got up at 5:00 am today and 6:00 am yesterday. Corny as it is, can you tell me it’s not an apt title?

So, as promised, I’m getting reeeeeeeal picture-y up in here, especially since I am combining two days of Sydney-ing into one. While Day 4 was largely a travel-slash-Queensland withdrawal day, Day 5 was a day that we got to enjoy an impressive number of Sydney’s highlights. We opted for a 2 hour morning cruise around the harbor, followed by lunch at the Opera Kitchen at the Sydney Opera House. While the afternoon left room for some solo exploring, we all reconvened later for dinner at Doyle’s, a restaurant about five times as old as I am with terrific seafood. Seafood which, I promise, is not five times as old as I am. It’s actually quite fresh, I assure you.

Behold, photographic evidence of the days!

Right before sunrise.
Right before sunrise.
sydney sunrise
During sunrise.
sydney sunrise
A little after sunrise. Captured the three stages, I did! I gotta be thorough with y’all.

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An interesting building in the city of Sydney. Anyone know what this is?
An interesting building in the city of Sydney. Anyone know what this is?
More pleasant city walking.
More pleasant city walking.

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Pretty fountain.
Pretty fountain. That’s all, really.
sydney opera house
A solid view of the Opera House. Because it wouldn’t be a post about Sydney without that, TBH.
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Brother’s friend, Ethan (23) and little brother (9). Little brother looks like he’s about to bungee jump off of the Opera House.
boys in sydney
Brother’s friend Grant, dad, brother’s friend Brandon, brother, brother’s friend Ethan, and tiny brother looking like an appendage of one of the older boys.
circular quay sydney
Another view of Circular Quay from the Opera House.
Some boy band I met in front of the Opera House. Heard they're bigger than One Direction.
Some boy band I met in front of the Opera House. Heard they’re bigger than One Direction. 
sydney opera house detail
Detail of the Sydney Opera House. Per an older gentleman on our cruise, “they could have done a better job”. Someone’s a shady lady!
This restaurant at the Opera House looks like it came out of my wildest design dreams.
This restaurant at the Opera House looks like it came out of my wildest design dreams.
bennelong restaurant
Another picture of this restaurant (which is called Bennelong, btw) because it’s just that amazing.
A picture my brother took of my other brother.
A picture my brother took of my other brother.
Da crew.
Da crew.
Seagulls in Sydney are cleaner, but meaner.
Seagulls in Sydney are cleaner, but meaner. Trust me on this.
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Fort Denison in the harbor. Fun fact: supposedly this is THE place to be to watch fireworks on New Year’s Eve. Who’da thunk?
sydney skyline
More Sydney skyline.
manly beach
I…think this is Manly Beach? Don’t judge me guys – it was our first real day!
A view into the open ocean. AKA, the path the sharks use to get into the harbor.
A view into the open ocean. AKA, the path the sharks use to get into the harbor.
watsons bay
I WANT to say this is Watson’s Bay. Someone correct me if it’s not. All I know is that sharks are present here.
Quarantine Bay. Eery name, beautiful beach.
Near Quarantine Bay. Eery name, beautiful beach.
house in sydney harbor
We were utterly fascinated by this house. If you live here and are reading this, can we visit?
Gorgeous beach near the Taronga Zoo.
Gorgeous beach near the Taronga Zoo.

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sydney bridge
Another fun fact: these concrete pillars have NO structural value and were only built to assuage peoples’ worries about the integrity of the bridge. 
The Sydney Harbor Bridge. People spend ungodly amounts of money to climb this thing. I can only imagine.
The Sydney Harbor Bridge. People spend ungodly amounts of money to climb this thing. I can only imagine.
Gotta show you all the views of Sydney.
Gotta show you all the views of Sydney. I got you, fam.
circular quay sydney
Near Circular Quay at dusk. We are still pronouncing it “Kway”. Somebody correct us, PLEASE.
The man who made this whole trip possible: my dad.
The man who made this whole trip possible: my dad.

Sydney obviously has an extremely maritime feel, but it also is uncanny for how similar to the U.S. it seems. Little green hills remind me of Washington or Oregon. The clean, tall, stone buildings set against slightly chilly weather downtown remind me of Minneapolis. The people’s casual attire and friendly, “no worries” demeanor reminds me of Southern California. I’m convinced that Australia, or at least Sydney, might be the closest thing to Southern California you can get outside of my home region. At least that’s what I have heard and have seen myself so far.

Today marks the one day this week that I get to do that which nobody else in my group wants to do: museums. Maybe a zoo visit. I know, how could anyone possible not love zoos or museums? But alas, I respect their desire to go to the beach. That is, after all, kind of what Sydney is known for.

You guys will forgive me for using a picture of the Opera House as my featured pic, right? Catch you on the flip.

-H

Travel tip: If you are looking for a little more variety in your trip wardrobe but also need to buy souvenirs, buy cute clothes that you know your friends will also wear. Wear the stuff on the trip while you’re on it, then wash and give the stuff to your friends as souvenirs. They’ll love it, and you’ll look cute on the trip, too.

Not that I’m doing that or anything.