Four full days after arriving in Sydney a slightly dazed and broken version of myself after an insanely long journey, I already feel like I’ve seen and done so much. If I was to write down everything I’d stopped and gaped at, paused and pondered over and generally been amused by, I (and you) would be here quite some time. So, I’m just going to focus on the two things that have made the biggest impression on me so far – and that’s besides the sheer scale of the dense forests around the Blue Mountains (and the evil steps we staggered up to get to Echo Point to see a stunning panorama of…wait for it…FOG), the arch of Bondi beach (almost overlooked when viewed in sync with some of the weirdest apocalyptic –style thunder clouds ever seen in non-CGI format), the lovely, post-storm coastal walk to Coogee , and of course the curving arcs of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House viewed in glinting sunshine.
Yes, we’ve spent under a week here, but we’ve been through the four seasons already, and from sea to mountainous beauty to architectural wonder in just one city, within one state. I’m only just starting to realise the vast size of this country, and it’s a head spinner to think about!
And this has hardly been helped by impact situation number one. For a jetlagged traveller, what’s going to strike you more than sleep deprivation, caused by the veritable menagerie of sleeping beasts – not beauties – in an eight-bed dorm? Part of the reason I finally got around to writing this was because I couldn’t take the thunderous roar that had been coming from the bunk beside me the WHOLE night any longer. I mean, seriously? This guy has a whole pharmacy in his locker – no joke – where are his anti-snore solutions?! I’d forgotten what dorm life was like. Each night was a different treat – Swedish sleep talkers, being shocked into wakefulness by clattering drunken falls, and every variation of snoring going, from deep breathing to all-out walrus-like snorts that even iPod headphones plus music can’t shut out. I miss having my own bedroom already, and it’s not even been a week! The floor at Tracy’s friends where we’re staying tonight is looking incredibly appealing right now. If I ever make it out of this comfy sofa in the Customs House in Sydney Harbour, that is. But still, I can deal with this as it means we get to experience this brilliant and beautiful city.
And what better way to do that (as a budget traveller) than with a free city tour. Seriously, if anyone’s reading this and planning to come out here, make sure you do the I’m Free tour as soon as you can concentrate again after your jetlag diminishes. In four hours we walked all over Sydney and saw so much, and learnt all manner of facts that we’d never have come across if left to our own devices. Who knew the Matrix and Superman 4 were filmed in Sydney, or that an illiterate man called Arthur Stace spent nearly 40 years writing the word ‘Eternity’ all over the city streets, walls and landmarks in a one-word sermon to the locals? I won’t go into all the other things we saw or found out, as I don’t want to ruin the fun for anyone, but it’s enough to say it made an impact and made me realise even more how HUGE and fascinating this country is.
So there you have it, Beauty and the Beasts. I’m off to explore some more. Just as soon as I’ve removed my intravenous drip of coffee which is the only thing keeping me going right now… Catch ya later!