Sydney and the Blue Mountains

Trip Start Jan 27, 2010
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Thursday, February 18, 2010

Oh, what can I say about Sydney? What nice things can I say
about Sydney? Hmm, I suppose I really only have one word.

Manly.

As we didn’t secure a place to stay more than a day in
advance, we found ourselves on the northern beach of Manly instead of the Bondi
or Coogee beaches where we originally considered staying. After a frustrating
hour online finding nothing available at the southern beaches, we took a look
at Manly instead of giving up and staying in the city center where the majority
of Sydney’s backpacker joints are located.

What we found was overpriced, as all things Sydney tend to
be, but aside from that, the ass-stench of years of unwashed travelers that
permeated the building and the lack of fly screens on the windows (which
resulted in a huge painful spider bite and a bunch of annoying mosquito bites
for me) it was alright. Well situated right by the beach, ‘The Corso’ and the
wharf with their broad array of pubs, cafes and restaurants, we wandered around
and admired this old up-market suburb rising up from the sandy beach in the
late afternoon sun.

We also spent an obligatory day looking about Sydney, taking
in the Opera House, the bridge, the CBD, Darling Harbour and the Rocks, but the
best part was the ferry into (and especially) out of the city back to Manly.
After knocking back a jug in the beer garden of The Steyne, Manly’s largest
pub, we went to the Bavarian Bier Café for a day early birthday dinner for
Matt.

The restaurant and bar was perfectly situated at the end of
the wharf overlooking Manly Cove, which at six o’clock was lit up as the slowly
descending sun reflected off it’s calm waters, making sunglasses essential as
we sat at the bar. Matt drank German beer while I sipped at some Chardonnay and
between us we put away a small salad and a huge pork schnitzel and chips. Oh
Bavarian food!

Apparently, German fare and beer still has the same effect
on Matt, because not ten minutes after we headed back to the room for a wine or
two before considering activities for the rest of the evening, he passed out!

So that was basically Sydney. We did spend some more time in
Manly the following day having a late leisurely breakfast with the newspaper
and doing boring stuff like apply for jobs and grocery shopping, but then it
was off to the Blue Mountains to visit good friends Daniel and Michelle.

Two hours later we arrived slightly cranky but glad as all
hell to be out of Sydney. How the locals put up with the traffic and travel
times without turning into Michael Douglas’s character in the movie Falling
Down
, I will never know, but I do know this: I will never, ever, EVER, live
in Sydney, Australia. Ever!

Saturday night was spent eating good Thai food, drinking
good wine and enjoying even better company. We hadn’t seen Danny and Michelle
since about May last year, so there was a lot to catch up on. The following day
they took us to the local markets and then on a tour of the area down through
the valley and back up the mountain to Lithgow, home to a booming coalmine and
the Zigzag Railway. The Blue Mountains is a beautiful area and I can understand
how a person could come to live there very happily- especially if one has the
option of there instead of Sydney!

Thanks to Daniel and Michelle again for their generous
hospitality and great company! 
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