Friday, March 25, 2011

Life seems so hard in Sydney

Our first stop in Australia was Sydney. Everybody knows the iconic opera house, which represents Sydney as much as the Eiffel tower is an icon of Paris. What many (including us) don't know is that Sydney also houses fantastic beaches and a great no-stress vibe.

We spent only 3 days there but got to do a lot. Of course we almost immediately went towards the quay and got a look at the opera house. Strangely, I didn't completely feel like I was in Sydney until I had seen this iconic building. I wonder if it's the same kind of effect the Eiffel tower has on people visiting Paris.

Our walks around allowed us to discover a ton of eating options, and the density of the downtown area.

The walls are made of plants in pots

One of the highlights of our visit was our meeting with 2 different sets of friends. On Sunday we took the ferry to Manly beach to meet up with a couple Denise had met through a friend during her south US road trip in November.  As we were walking along that beautiful, long, packed with people, white sand beach I got in touch with other friends who used to live in SF during my early years at Orange. Luck would have that they lived two blocks from the beach so we spent the rest of the afternoon having drinks with all of them together, at a fancy beach bar, completely packed, by the water. It was an excellent afternoon and, according to our friends, a great way to get an idea of a typical sunny Sunday afternoon in Sydney. We got the picture: It seems like a very stressful life indeed!

Manly beach

We then took the ferry back to central Sydney and made our way back to the hostel under beautiful views of the Sydney harbor.

Now another thing that really surprised us is the sheer size of the city. As we looked at the map we figured that this or that neighbourhood were actually small cities slightly separated from Sydney, the same way the whole bay area surrounding San Francisco is a series of cities more or less attached to each other. The truth is: Sydney is really a huge city and these areas really are just neighbourhoods of the same uninterrupted city, with shop after shop lining the streets, for-almost-ever.
We realized this first when we went for a walk towards Sury Hills, one of these many areas of the city, exploring the streets and discovering the specificity of Sydney's architecture.

Wait, whaat?

What confirmed it though, was our trip to famous Bondi beach, which again was really just part of the sprawling city. What it really made me realize is that despite how famous San Francisco is, it is a fairly small city that packs a lot of big-city appeal.

Pool or beach, or both?

Romantic getaway

Taming the wildest animals!

The last big surprise for us was the fact that Sydney is completely overrun by bats at night. As the sun sets, one just needs to look at the sky to see dozens of bats flying around. coming from the botanical gardens and on their nighly way to get food. Thankfully these Flying Fox bats feed on fruits and pollen, because they are huge and very impressive! We couldn't stop from looking at the sky, wondering at the bats as we were walking around at dusk. Truly a unique sight over such a big city!

Some more details of the Opera house:

Surprisingly, it is made of tiles!

The rest of the photos can be found here!

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