Since my last post, I have only gone out and explored even more of Sydney. Initially, I had no idea of how long I was planning on staying here. Currently, Im debating on whether or not I should stay for a month with the reason being that Lauryn Hill performs at the Opera House at the end of May. First of all, I would love to catch a performance at the Opera House and second of all…it’s LAURYN FREAKING HILL. Now let’s try and comprehend that. Lauryn Hill. In Sydney. Opera House. Whhaaattttt….mind blown.
I can’t miss that….we’ll see what happens, after all..Im just going with the flow 😉
I accidentally stumbled upon a free walking tour of Sydney. Arranged by the same people who did The Rocks tour. It was about a 3 hour city walk and it was great. I was able to get a really good grip on the downtown core and the areas surrounding it. I was also able to get a glimpse of many sights that I had marked down so that I could wander to the next day and explore in depth. It was here that I randomly started talking to another traveller. It turns out that she was a pilot from Hawaii who had a 24 hour layover. Speaking to her was pretty awesome as it provided me with a slight insight towards the direction I may want to take with my future career. She provided me with a lot of advice as to how I could possibly get involved with the travel industry and earn a decent living. It was definitely some food for thought.
After the tour, I went climbing…like any diehard, passionate climber. The gyms in Sydney are all located in the ‘burbs and so I had to make my way out via train to St. Peters from Central. Attempting to find the gym in a new unexplored area was a challenge in itself. With the help of my trusty map and a few Sydneysiders, I found my way. The gym was massive. The bouldering area was rather large and filled with many testosterone filled men. It was both intimidating and exciting. intimidating because it was all crazy dudes with eight packs…exciting because the last time I climbed must have been at least 4 or 5 days ago. Anyone who knows me knows that that’s too long a time to go without climbing!
Enroute to the climbing gym. Getting schooled in art. Street art edition.
It felt fantastic climbing again. The climbing culture in Sydney doesn’t appear too different to that of Vancouver. However, I did find that even while bouldering, people did not appear to be very friendly. I’ve heard that Sydneysiders aren’t as friendly as their other Australian counterparts…that remains to be seen. I’ll be making my way along to another gym this Tuesday and will see how the climbing is like there. For now, Im staying healthy via runs. Forgot to mention, the fitness culture here is insane. You think it’s crazy in Kits….Kits has nothing on Sydney. Everyone at the gym had at least a two pack. If you didn’t have abs of some sort…it was like you were out of shape.
The day after (May 3rd) I was wandering and exploring in depth certain locations that the tour had taken me on a day before. Hyde Park, St. Mary’s Cathedral and the Art Gallery of NSW were all highlights of the day.
Hyde Park was pretty awesome. It’s this…park located in the middle of the city and housed the Anzac Memorial. I accidentally found my way there as well while I was wandering around, taking in the park and trying to find my way to St. Mary’s. Anzac stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and the memorial was built with funding by fellow Sydneysiders, to commemorate all those who gave their lives for the Great War. It was later changed to include all service men and women who served both Australia and New Zealand in their time of need.
Anzac Memorial. Exterior.
Interior of the Anzac Memorial. The individual on the sword represents a soldier who died for his country. The statue represents that of sacrifice. Both of the serviceman and his family…it’s not quite clear here but there are three women who hold him up as he lies on his shield. It represents that of his mother, sister and wife. He lies atop his shield because families told their loved ones that they were either to come back with the shield or on top of the shield. All shields were made of bronze and is extremely heavy. Had the soldier come home without their shield, their families would have known that they abandoned their post. His wife is holding a baby on one arm and her husband’s head in the other. The baby symbolized the future while her hand on his head symbolized the transference of his spirit to hers and to the baby..the future.
Being here was both humbling and haunting. To hear the story of how the memorial came to be was amazing. There was absolutely no government funding..it was built through the donations of Sydneysiders. Incredible to see so many people come together to do what they thought was right and just.
After the memorial, I made my way to St. Mary’s Cathedral. St. Mary’s is the oldest cathedral in Australia and was visited by Pope John Paul II. As many of my stories go…I accidentally found my way inside. You see, mass had just commenced and they normally do not allow visitors to check out the cathedral while mass is on. I somehow found my way through the backside. As I exited, there was a security guard standing at the entrance questioning everyone if they were there for mass or not. If you were there to explore, you were told to come back at 12:30. I got lucky.
St. Mary’s Cathedral in all it’s glory. The architecture is amazing.
Following the viewing of St. Mary’s, I made my way to the Art Gallery of NSW. Attempting to culture myself and what better way to do this than to visit an art gallery. This gallery was massive and was home to a part of the 19th Biennale of Sydney–an exhibition that occurs every two years. It showcases all Australian artists and is quite the sight. I’ve been following this exhibition around town, first at the Museum of Contemporary Art at Circular Quay, now at the Art Gallery of NSW and soon I’ll be headed to Cockatoo Island for the next instalment.
Touristy enough for ya? 😛
The day was finished off with a run and homemade dinner. My first homemade dinner of Australia!
Last but not least…I checked out of the YHA on the 4th and have moved to another hostel closer by. The YHA was good in some ways but lacking in many other ways. I found it to have more of a hotel feel and it was lacking in the social aspect. Everyone tended to stay to themselves and this made connecting and getting to know others difficult. It also appeared to be a more transient hostel- one in which people were there for many a day or two. I’ve since checked myself into a much social and friendlier hostel…or so hostel world and an ex roommate has told me. On first impressions, Im really liking it already. It tends to attract a much younger clientele and has a nice social vibe going on. Im looking forward to my stay here and will see what happens.
The vibe of the neighbourhood is more my scene as well. Think..main street. Walking down one street and I’ve already run into a handful of cafés. At the YHA, I couldn’t even find one. I found myself at the Devon Café and indulged in a long black and an amazing dish. I can only describe it as a foodgasm…it was amazing. The place was bumping and apparently was given an award for the best breakfast. It also provides free wifi..FINALLY. I leave you with pictures of both my awesome new hostel and amazing lunch.
Until next time…