Melbourne ended on a high note. On my second last night, the house, friends, and I went out for a couple of drinks, and then to a club for half an hour or so. Well, that was the plan. After crawling my sorry ass to bed around 6 a.m. after a night of ridiculous dancing, drinking, and general merriment, we spent the better part of the next day watching movies and ordering take out. Yes, I was a horrible tourist and had absolutely no desire to squeeze any sightseeing into my last few hours in Melbourne. I had finally been able to track down a ride to Sydney that seemed like a good idea; a lovely gal with a Mitsubishi Lancer was making the trek north bright and early Saturday morning. Paying half of the gas seemed like more than enough of a good deal to me, so off we went.
Sydney quite quickly captivated me. There is something about this place that, even while getting lost on the drive in, intrigues you. My travel companion for the drive may not agree, as frustrated is the first word that came to mind for her reaction to our slight detour. Already, Sydney had Melbourne beat for beauty and weather, at least in my experience. The fact that the city is more of a labyrinth than a grid appeals to me massively as well, since I have spent far too long in square North American cities.
The night I arrived, my couchsurfing hosts were throwing a Halloween party. Though I was excited to finally get to celebrate (it’s not as big of a deal Down Under), exhaustion from a 5 a.m. start eventually caught up with me and I was looking forward to everyone clearing out so I could have my couch. I managed to make it to bed before the 24 hour mark, finally getting some shut-eye at about 4:30 a.m.
It was great fun to get to know my hosts and meet their friends, but after meeting and chatting with approximately 30 people in the last few days, I remembered what a friend of mine said after returning home from a year of travelling and living abroad. Though odd to be back, part of him was happy to just be around people who he didn’t have to tell his story to. I hadn’t fully appreciated that until that night. It was refreshing to have conversations with people that went outside the “where-are-you-from-what-are-you-doing-here” box. Perhaps my favorite moment was a girl from Ireland explaining the over-the-top exaggerations used for everything at home, such as describing a day that has weather that is very calm and boring, with really no outstanding features as “fierce mild.”
On my first full day in Sydney, I visited the Sculptures by the Sea. This annual exhibition is set up along the coastal walk in Bondi for a few weeks, and I was lucky to catch the last day. The downside of visiting on the last day, which also happened to be a beautiful and sunny Sunday, is that every person, their dog, and their stroller had come out as well. This effectively made walking along the narrow coastal pathway about as efficient as fighting gridlock traffic in New York on a Wednesday at 5 o’clock. Though I generally dislike being stuck amongst hordes of tourists, I had nothing at all to complain about while strolling (standing, at points) along the sea. After all, there was absolutely nowhere I needed to be.