Friday, January 04, 2008

Sydney Side

We've just come back from our trip in Sydney. One of the main motivators for coming to Australia this holiday season was a wedding of two friends who had moved from Holland to Sydney down under just over a year ago. So we had booked extra flights to Sydney to go to the wedding and hang out with them for a while, watch the fireworks and head back to Melbourne. Also this would give is an opportunity to meet up with others who we haven't seen in a while.

Getting to our hotel was pretty easy. There is a train station at the airport that travels into the city (Circular Quay station) from where we could catch the ferry to Kirribilli, where our hotel was located. A stones throw from the official Sydney residence of the Prime Minister. Our first meet up would be in the Sangri-La Hotel. The Blu Lounge on the top floor has the most fantastic view of Sydney's harbour Port Jackson. This is actually a very nice start to any visit to the capital.

The area's around the harbour are very nice. The Rocks, Botanic Gardens and Darling Harbour further inland. Manly is a must in the summer. It's a complete zoo, full of sun worshipers. The city center itself is a bit disappointing. It's all business and little play. Hyde park and the museum are nice but that's about it. The Bridge and the Opera house seem to be main draw and I must say it never gets tired. We also managed to meet up with Marie, an American living in Amsterdam. She's been in Australia for a few months now and just back from a stint in New Zealand. We were meeting up with the newly weds at Macquarie's chair to have a picnic in the shade with a view of the Opera House and the Bridge behind it. What a day of doing nothing except eating, drinking and having a laugh, it's what expats do best.

The museums are really good and I'll wholeheartedly recommend the Sydney Now exhibition at the Sydney Museum. Of course the main attraction would be later in the week, New Years celebrations with fireworks, food and plenty of wine. If you've every seen some of the fireworks on TV then you might be able to conceive the magnitude of the display. First of all there are hundreds of thousands of onlookers along the shoreline. Sitting in tents, apartments (the lucky ones) and like us with some quilts on the parks along the banks having a midnight picnic. We were not disappointed and apparently the spectators never are.
In between all that we looked around the suburbs or towns around Sydney, Newtown being one of the nicest, shopping and having latte's on the corner café's. Now that what I call having a holiday.


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