This past week I travelled to Sydney Australia for a mini-vacation back to the developed world. I travelled with a PC friend named Vania, who lives on North Efate. Sydney...was...AMAZING! Sydney is such a beautiful city. Very clean and there's so much to do. Speaking of having so much to do, you may be wondering: Megan what did you do there? I will tell you:
The first day, Thursday, we headed to the Opera House, took the basic tour, which was really neat, and afterwards took a bus tour of the downtown area. We jumped off the tour for lunch in Chinatown and then jumped back on the tour bus to finish the tour. After the tour we went to a large department store so that I could buy some jeans because it was around 55-60 degrees and all I had were shorts and flip-flops.
The second day, Friday, we headed out to Blue Mountains. Blue Mountains is a national park where you can get a look of the Three Sisters and some other rock formations. It's really beautiful and it was so nice to be able to walk around a forest, not bush, again. We took the CityRail train out to Katooba, a small town where you can find transport out to Echo Point, a look out point of Blue Mountains. Katooba was also a very nice and charming little town. I finally managed to buy shoes in the town. They were men's shoes because apparently my feet are too big for that country, but hey at least my feet were warm and I didn't have to walk around in flip-flops.
On Saturday we went down to The Rocks. The Rocks is a great street market where people sell clothes, home decor, jewelery, and the like. I can't get enough of street markets so this was right up my alley. Plus at the market there was a booth selling real corn on the cob!! Yummy!! After the market we walked across the Harbor Bridge. We did not climb the bridge or pay to go up to a look out point because it was on the expensive side. We did walk the whole way across the bridge, which took much longer than we thought it was going to, and went down to see Luna Park before heading back across, by bus. That night we met up with some of Vania's family, whom she had never met before, for dinner. They were really great. Very funny and so kind! It was not nearly as awkward as we thought it was going to be and so much fun! After dinner we decided to go to a gay bar (Vania is gay and needed some gay time). Unfortunately, the bar played terrible music and we didn't stay for very long. We tried to find an alternative club/bar but we didn't have much luck.
Sunday we decided to chill out and just sit around in book stores in the morning and then that afternoon a couple of Vania's cousins took us out to North Sydney to go to Manly Beach and to a HUGE mall. That evening we went to the cinema to see the new X-Men movie (really good). It was a very nice relaxing day.
Monday we went to Taronga Zoo aka Sydney Zoo. Very expensive but very cool. They had a ton of animals (very funny, I know that's part of the definition of a zoo, but I've been to zoos that had very few animals) and all of the shows, like the seal and bird shows, were free so that helped to balance out how expensive it was. After the Zoo we went to see the new Pirates movie (OK) at the IMAX theatre.
Tuesday was our last day. For our last day we went to the Australian Museum which was really neat. They have a great exhibit all about the history of the Aboriginal people of Australia. After the museum we decided to head back to a book store for a few hours (hey, don't judge, we don't have ANY book stores in Vanuatu!). For dinner that night we walked practically all over the city looking for an affordable Italian restaurant, FINALLY finding one at Circular Quay. After dinner we then went to "The Chocolate Room" (I know!!) a great little dessert place. Vania got a slice of Mississippi Mud cake and I got Tiramisu. So good! After all the wonderful food we went back to the hostel and packed-up all of our bags to hit the road the next day around 4:30am (7am flight).
Oh and a note about the hostel, called Base Backpackers: it was hands down the nicest hostel I've ever stayed in! We got free bedding, a key card to our room/front door/bathroom, and our own lockers under the bed. They also had washer and drier machines to do laundry and a massive kitchen. It was very very nice! We even got free towels, but that was because the guy was feeling nice when we asked for them!
It was an absolutely fabulous trip and a fantastic vacation. Am I broke? Oh yeah! Was it worth it? I think so.