Sydney: Bugs, Friends and Bondi
Sydney, Wednesday the 1st April at 7pm, a muggy evening, and these two sweaty, tired travellers reach our next destination, lug our packs to the train station, then struggle to find our first accommodation, a couch-surf with a guy called Nurman, in a Sydney suburb called Hornsby.
We are so happy to finally arrive at Nurman's lovely apartment, to have some hot showers and then amazingly, a healthy home-cooked meal. Nurman was super welcoming and warm, making us feel instantly at home. It was crazy to think that this exchange of kindness and hospitality involved no money, just a mutual interest in each others lives and good conversation, as well as the gift of some yummy muffins from us.
Our first day of exploring Sydney began at a bank. Boring admin to open our Australia accounts, ticked off our to-do-list of 'Grown-up Responsible Stuff'.
Then after losing each other in Woolworth's, thanks to the mad crowds of lunch-seekers, we made it to the calm and peace of Hyde Park, where the local pest birds, the White Ibis, invited themselves to our picnic. We nicknamed them Pecky's. They were much more novel than your humble English pigeon, thanks to their bizarrely long beaks and skittish but brave manner. Like the tourists that we are, we fed them tid-bits, encouraging their pesty ways.
A walk around the Anzac Memorial and peaceful reflection pool, we then explored the rest of the park, as well as the Cathedral, dipping our feet in a fountain. It was around 23-degrees but very humid, so we were missing the beaches of Melbourne at this point.
Approaching the harbour via the Botanical Gardens we were able to see some huge spiders, hear some squawking tropical birds and feel like we were even more further afield than Australia.
Then we went into the New South Wales art gallery, mostly to escape the heat, but actually found it quite relaxing to look at some famous paintings from Australian and British artists of the 18-1900's.
Then strolling along the rough water's edge, we came up on the famous Opera-House. Taran looked at me, and smiled, having one of those 'We are actually here!' moments.
Sadly this was our last night at Nurman's in our lovely bed, the next day came our first Australian hostel, Tokyo Village, in central sydney. We met up with our friend from England, Ashleigh, who made the next two rainy days awesome, all of us holed up in the stuffy somewhat dirty hostel we had booked at the last minute.
Our first night Taran spotted some kind of small cock-roach bug crawling across his laptop, and then our friend slept-talked, saying "'I've just seen a ghost', so an interesting first night to say the least...
Despite the shower-room that was more like a swimming-pool, and the toenails we found sitting on our dorm floor, we had a fun time watching a random horror movie, drinking ciders and playing cards.
Then came our third Hostel in the backpacker location Kings Cross, Eva's Backpackers, a totally different experience to Tokyo Village. Clean, tidy and welcoming, with an awesome roof-top to look out over Sydney, this place was a breath of fresh (clean) air. And clean showers!
The next day started hot and sunny so we finally made the backpacker pilgrimage to Bondi Beach. The water was surprisingly warm, and it was pretty awesome having our first proper play in the Australia ocean. Then the storm clouds rolled in, and we went for a coastal walk, taking refuge under some cliff-rocks, whilst Taran braved a mini-waterfall.
Sydney was all about making new friends, seeing old ones, exploring all that was typically touristy, making us quite relieved to escape into the Blue Mountains next...
Thanks for reading!
Hannah and Taran here. We hail from Southern England, where we met online and are now realizing our mutual passion for travel here at Nomad'erHowFar. We discuss Nomadic Living, Simplifying your Life and Long-term Travel, to empower, motivate and inspire our readers. Get to know us here!