Lauren, Scott and I all headed to Sydney, Australia for almost a week. It was the first country I have ever visited that also speaks English as the primary language (besides the USA and Canada). It was an awesome change of pace to be able to communicate with those around us, understand menus, and to not stand out like a sore thumb.
Sydney reminded us of San Diego (minus the driving on the wrong side of the road, cool accents, and being across the world). Scott kept referring to Australia as “Bizarre-o America” since it felt like we were in the US the whole time. To be honest, if I were to have flown halfway across the world on my two week vacation to go to Australia I might have been disappointed. When I travel internationally I love that smack you in the face difference of cultures, food and people. With that being said, after spending three months in Asia this familiarity was just what I needed and what I craved. It was almost reverse culture shock for us and it was overwhelming at times. It made us miss home more than any other place and I can see why people love to travel to Australia.
Sydney (and surrounding areas)
We only made it to Sydney this time around, but after our 3 weeks in New Zealand we fly back through Melbourne to see a bit more of Australia!
Things We Liked
Being able to communicate (ENGLISH!), beaches, ocean walks, people watching, cool/trendy parts of town, easy transportation, availability of everything we know, feeling comfortable, and not standing out.
Things We Disliked
Expensive and limited options for budget accommodations…we disliked very little though!
1. Ben Harper at the Sydney Opera House Forecourt
One night while drinking a few beers in Bali Scott mentioned that Ben Harper was playing in Sydney our first night in town and that tickets were still available. When we looked a bit further we noticed that the concert took place at the Sydney Opera Forecourt, which is the courtyard in front of the Opera House with views of the Harbour Bridge as well. This was the last straw and we booked tickets immediately.
Ben Harper puts on a great show and we had been missing some live music in our lives. Also, the venue was incredible and one of the coolest venues I have ever been to (my beloved Colorado venues of Red Rocks and Mishiwaka have my heart, but I am also a bit biased). It was overall one of the most memorable nights of our trip!
2. Sydney Fish Market
We have realized that we love fish markets. If a city we visit has a fish market you can bet your money we will visit it. The Sydney Fish Market was much different than the Asian ones, but it was so fun. We wandered around the stalls selling fresh seafood and settled on our lunch of oysters, salmon sashimi and sushi rolls on the water.
The Tokyo Fish Market was not for tourists. It was a working market that let tourists get a peak at the end of their workday. It was fast moving and we were just trying to stay out of the way. The Seoul Fish Market was mostly for locals. It is open 24 hours and you could go in, pick out your seafood, and have them grill/cut up whatever you purchased and serve it to you in a nearby restaurant. It was awesome, but the whole time we were never really sure what was happening since we don’t speak Korean. It was overwhelming. The Sydney Fish Market is for both tourists and locals. It was really nice to be able to read signs and order exactly what we wanted. We even learned what some things we have been eating in Asia or have seen in our travels actually are – like I said, those signs in English are really magical to us!
3. The Coast
The beaches, beach walks, and all the areas on the coast around Sydney are amazing. We checked out Bondi Beach, manly Beach and did a couple of the ocean walks. They say a picture says a thousand words…so here are a few.
We certainly missed home this Thanksgiving. We usually spend the holiday in Connecticut with the Berkes and it is probably Scott’s favorite day of the year. We weren’t planning to seek out Thanksgiving food or turkey…it seemed as if we might end up at a hotel somewhere eating bad food feeling worse about being away from home for the holidays than when we started. So instead we took the ferry to Manly Beach to do the Ocean walk and explore before getting dinner in the area. The views were incredible and the weather could not have been more perfect.
We found a brewery in the area, 4 Pines Brewing Company, so we decided it would be as good as a place as any for Thanksgiving dinner. When we got there we found of they had a Thanksgiving special of one pumpkin beer and a turkey leg (with sweet potato mash and green beans) so naturally we all ordered one of the specials. The food was delicious and they gave us another round of pumpkin beers on the house since we are American. My enthusiasm level for pumpkin beer every fall is incredibly high and I generally try to taste test as many kinds as a can. Unfortunately this year I have not been able to have any (apparently it is an American thing), but they brewed up a batch special for the holiday. We watched the sunset from the patio and our evening was really great!
It was nothing like being home (there is nothing we could have done to replace how much we love spending Thanksgiving surrounded by family), but we made the best of it! We were sad and missing home on Thanksgiving for sure. It was awesome to have Lauren there with us to celebrate too!
Total Number of Nights: 5
Languages: English (!)
Currency: $1 USD = $1.33 Australian Dollar (AUD)
Number of Miles Traveled: 4,275 (including our flight from Indonesia)
Number of Miles Walked: 51 miles (average of 10.2 miles per day)
Steps Taken: 109,649 steps (average of about 21,930 per day)
Transportation Used: boat, bus, taxi, metro
Type of Accommodations: Hostel (1), hotel (1)
Number of Beds: 2