I didn’t expect anything from it, and Sydney surprised me, she got me on board, she almost made me regret leaving.
A great city, finally
Most Australians who don’t live there, criticize Sydney as too crowded, too noisy, too busy… Well, for me, that’s just what I like.
Yes, I found there streets with passers-by, people in a hurry, people in suits, and cool people. Here, you are an anonymous person among others, no one stares at you, everyone goes their own way.
Finally, I can walk half a day through the city without footprinting the same street twice. With my sneakers on my feet, I’ve walked the length and breadth of Sydney.
What a joy to go from neighborhood to neighborhood, to see the difference. I was even happy to find a subway, a tramway, a real transportation system.
A modern, but charming city
Old buildings, there are some, around a square, on a street corner. As for the modern buildings, they play with their shape, their reflections and draw pretty silhouettes in the sky.
The most pleasant thing is to walk along the inlet, to stroll, to run… Darling Harbour, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Rocks area and of course the Sydney Opera House!
Walking around this town for a short week, I thought to myself… Here is a city where I could have lived and felt happy… The tickets were already taken…
A Suburb to Fall… Bondi Beach
And in the suburbs of Sydney (well it’s still part of Sydney, but from a distance…), not just suburban areas, building bars, or industrial areas, you have mostly the beach!
Hosted by my little Argentinean, I lived in Bondi. Its large sandy beach stretches for several hundred yards. Surfers, trendy people, small restaurants and early morning sportsmen live there in a good atmosphere.
If Bondi Beach only half impresses me (I was oversold it, and yes, I was disappointed!). The boardwalk that runs along the coast from Bondi Beach to Coggee Beach is just gorgeous.
I haven’t done Main Beach, but I hear it, too, is worth a visit.
An opera in Sydney Opera House
Thanks to a joint gift from my parents and brother, I was lucky enough to attend a ballet inside the Sydney Opera House!
Just to say, I’m sure glad I was there. The interior is impressive outside of the room… On the other hand, when you’re used to the old Parisian theaters, or the Opéra Garnier, the decor of the ballet room left me wanting more.
The acoustics were perfect, and the musicians did the place proud. Incidentally, in the ballet, I liked the music best.
I can’t tell if I’m insensitive to ballet, or if the standard of the Sydney ballet is just much lower than the Paris one. The whole show, I wondered what the point of it all was. I felt no emotion, I saw no story… Just ultra tense bodies, dancers not in symbiosis…
And really tight-fitting outfits for the men… In 3 years, I’ll only remember those golden tights that molded the young dancer’s buttocks…
What to see, what to do… and what not to do in Sydney?
There’s nothing better in a city than to take a stroll. So walk along the waterfront and discover:
- The Botanical Gardens
- The Opera House
- Circular Quay
- The Rocks
- The Sydney Harbour Bridge
- Darling Harbour
But also find out what’s lurking on the other side:
- Luna Park
- The docks and the beautiful view of the city
Discover other neighborhoods, shop, eat live…
- Newtown: Vintage stores, 100% vegan restaurants and hippie youth make this neighborhood a fun detour.
- Chinatown, don’t miss Paddy Market where fruits, vegetables and touristy trinkets compete for low prices.
- For shopping, visit the Queen Victoria before heading to slightly cheaper stores in the neighborhood all around…
Live by the surfers
There’s no way you can stay in Sydney without hitting one of the many beaches.
Don’t miss the walk between Bondi Beach and Coggee Beach, it’s simply beautiful.
Get out and explore the Blue Mountains!
A two-hour drive from Sydney, the Blue Mountains offer plenty of hiking, and beautiful views of these blue-glowing mountains.
I didn’t have the time, nor the team (with Andres my favorite handicapper!) to hike, but from the feedback I got, it’s definitely worth it!
And remember to pack a sweater… Personally, I had been a bit optimistic about the temperature!
The unnecessary attractions…
So then… If I wasn’t a bit negative, it wouldn’t be completely me…
As long as I was in Sydney, I wanted to pay homage to Nemo and so… Do the Sea Life aquarium. What a disappointment! The fish, sharks, rays and turtles are crammed in, and so are the tourists.
My only slightly playful moment was when the diver feeding the rays got harassed by the manta ray.
In a similar vein, Wildlife is a micro zoo that features only animals from Australia. The enclosures there are tiny and the animals don’t always have companions…
Well, I would have finally had my face to face with a crocodile, but that’s it.
A guide of choice
Sydney wouldn’t have been the same without him, it wouldn’t have had so much color, interest and humor: Andres.
More generous, I don’t know. This (very) tall Argentinian barely knew me, and he offered to let me sleep on his couch for my last five days in Oz. I could have felt uncomfortable, indebted or embarrassed, but he and his roommate Mauro, were adorable, kind and funny. I felt right at home there.
In addition to his couch, he offered me time. Happy to show me his Australian city of heart, he accompanied me to my Covid test, guided me, advised me, and even got up at 6am on a Saturday to see the sunrise.
There are people with whom it catches on right away, the humor, the mindset, the presence. With Andrès, that was the case. This week in Sydney with him was a real joy.
Australia is over!
It is with some regrets that I didn’t live longer in Sydney, that I left for my good old hexagon!
The review will be here soon, and I’m sure I’ll miss a few things from there….
For the curious, to get home, I simply had to show a negative PCR test less than 72 hours old to get on my plane (still 150AUD) and wear the mask during my 28 hour trip! Otherwise, no hassle, no quarantine.
Farewell traveler’s life…