Wednesday 3 February 2010

Australia Adventures: 5. The 'Big Smoke' of Sydney...

G'day! Howzit goin? (a phrase I am hearing all too often in the Land of Oz) well its February! and I'm usually used to it being the coldest time in my London though but still we are smack bang in the middle of the Aussie summer so here's a new blog from my early days in my adventures around Australia.


After Melbourne, I crashed at a friend of the family for a few days and then hit the road for an  trip to the 'big smoke' the mistaken capital of the continent.....Sydney! in the new state of New South Wales. Of course I was heading into the honeypot of Australian tourism, but well advertised pretty things and places in the world are inevitably going to attract masses of people so its something you can't always escape if you've flown to the other side of the world only to miss out on.

I had my firsthand experience of Australia's east coast main rail network, the very accommodating 'CountryLink' for the 12 hour trip, making me realise this country is BIG compared to itty bitty England and the distances between cities and towns are HUGE. Of course the Aussie's don't think anything of it and would gladly drive three, four hours to see a friend. I like their style and they must love driving. Anyway, I arrived finally to the famous Sydney, the oldest and most diverse city that Oz has to show off, built around a stunning natural harbour rightly known as 'Darling Harbour' home of the Sydnarians beloved 'Harbour Bridge' and iconic 'Opera House' which essentially defines 'Australia' to the rest of the world. Of course, its home to 'that' beach, yes one of the most famous in the world....BBBBBondi......maybe. They even have a TV show over here about it, bit like the Aussie Version of 'Baywatch' but its real life. Not that Sydney is all about the lazy beaches. its pretty cultural with a ton of stuff on offer that could rival London....except London doesn't have a beach a bus ride away.

Anyway when I arrived at night (well after 12 hours it eventually came to night time), I had to go and pick the first hostel I could find which also happened to be one of the most expensive in town. with an in house cinema and pool on the top floor of the five floor building. Who needs it really. Anyway it would be a good base to crash and reorganise myself and look about finding a job as the temptation of the cities sure do suck the funds out of you. I'm getting pretty used to letting myself in to rooms and introducing myself to random strangers. Travelling is good character building in a way.

gave me some time to fix up my bank account and to just wander the streets of Sydney soaking up its scent surrounded by Aussie voices for a couple of days marvelling at the majestic Sydney Opera House and its Harbour Bridge sidekick.


Now the Harbour Bridge is nicknamed 'The Coat Hanger' and connects the north of Sydney to the central business district taking a whopping 8 years to build and a further $20 million to fund! - no wonder they love it aswell as using it as the centre piece for the New Years Fireworks. You can pay ridiculous prices to scale up it for a panoramic view of the city, but I just settled for the shoestring budget of getting a slightly downsized version for free by taking a good ole stroll across it.

Now you see the Opera House there, on the jetty on the Parramatta River now thats an impressive piece of architecture - it was actually designed by a Danish guy Jorn Utzon who funny enough quit the project before it was completed and opened in 1973! But credit to the Mr Utzon for the original idea, many people liken it to shells and orange segments but I have the idea is looks like a Cockatoos' head feathers when they're playing attention - still it exudes Australia's quirkiness and earthy identity. The inside is grand and beautiful, home to you've guessed it Opera, aswell as theatre, concerts and dance events. At night is when it soars like the stars.



Talking about quirkiness in Australia, I'm beginning to feel the excitement that I will be witnessing some very weird and wacky things in this country, but thats why you travel right? I'm pounding the pavements of the city to try and get a lead for a job as my money is zapping up, drinking 'Snake Bite' (a mix of beer and cider and black current juice - a beverage I enjoyed in my student days) and watching 'crab racing' in the 'Scubar' next door, keep them comin' I'll see you next time.


Go Crabbies Go!

With Lonely Planet Travel Guide Australia

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