Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Amy and Alex's Adventures, con't

Thursday, June 4
I'm completely blanking on what we did this day, but I think it involved breakfast across the street, eggs for both of us this time (though the waitress was very confused when we asked for them "scrambled with cheese," insisting that this was an omelet. I think Alex wasn't feeling very well this day, so we took it easy. For lack of details on this day, I'll add some general thoughts on things that happened throughout the trip.
1) We both agreed that we hate the Storm, which happens to be one of the most prevalent cars in Sydney - a mix between a car and a truck, with a super long bed. Hate it.
2) We watched Juno (liked it even better the second time), the first 2/3 of Lord of the Rings (the movie we used to help us fall asleep - me pointing out places I was convinced I saw in New Zealand every other scene), 28 Days Later (awful), Darjeeling Unlimited (great), The Talented Mr. Ripley (good, but not what I had expected), and the first season of Scrubs (never thought I would like it, but it's grown on me. Alex also convinced me to start watching Lost, and I hate to admit it, but I'm hooked.
3) We read Alex's new book, Becoming A Doctor, about the first 3 years of medical school, together aloud. Really interesting and made me tired just thinking about how hard they work.
4) We ate/drank a ridiculous amount of Starburst gummies, Powerade (my new favorite flavor is the light orange one), lime and pepper chips (which I don't even really like), apple and kiwi juice (love it), eggs, pizza and Tim Tams (which, by the way, apparently are in US Targets now!).

Friday, June 5
I think Friday was one of my favorite days in Sydney so far. We started off at breakfast at Le Petit Tarte (I know there's an intentional typo in that, some play on gender, but after not taking French since 7th grade, I can't remember where it is), which was one of our favorites so far. We grabbed a super-sweet lemon tart for the road and wandered through Victoria Park on the University of Sydney campus for a while (the weather was beautiful). Then, we headed down to Circular Quay to take a ferry to Watson's Bay, about a 40 minute (maybe?) ferry ride away.

There was a walking tour in my book to follow, which we did for the most part, but we explored on our own too. There were beautiful views of the city and Manly from multiple places along the way, along with impressive views of the ocean.

We explored on the rocks for a while

and then continued the walk along the beach where we met a very friendly dog who we played with for a while.

There were beautiful houses all along the coast -- can't image how much they must cost. We made our way along the coast to Lady Bay Beach - one of the nude beaches in Sydney where we found one nude older man who stared us down.

We continued on to "The Gap" - a popular suicide and proposal spot and then headed back to catch the ferry.

Saturday, June 6
Another beautiful day on Saturday, we decided to head to the infamous Bondi Beach. We stopped at the Bondi Trattoria for an early lunch - pizza with prawn shrimp for Alex and a steak sandwich for me (not like the ones at home with like thin meat... this was like a steak, on a sandwich). After walking along the beach and watching the surfers for a bit, we started on the Bondi to Coogee Cliffwalk (Alex, for some reason, decided to do it barefooted). We watched some beach volleyball games for a while, resisting the urge to join in, and then continued along the coast to the Waverly Cemetery, probably the best views from a cemetery in the world.

We only made it to Clovelly Beach before we decided to take a bus back into the city.
The bus dropped us off in Circular Quay and we decided to take the ferry to Darling Harbour again, as there was a pizza and pasta place my guidebook had recommended that I wanted to try. After searching for a while, we finally found Blackbird Cafe and had one of our most disappointing meals yet. It was expensive, the food was not that great, and the atmosphere was nothing to brag about. The first time my Lonely Planet guidebook has lead me wrong.

Sunday, June 7
After a bit of a late start, we decided to head to Newtown (an area that kind of reminds me of New Paltz), by foot, to explore. We stopped into a huge used bookstore that reminded me of the Strand in NYC (which incidentally had a very odd bathroom with no lock and a 1-way mirror - who knows why) and perused for a while, and then found a cafe to grab a late breakfast, again, eggs for Alex and a strawberry banana smoothie and pancakes with strawberries and bananas and icecream for me. As we headed back to the apartment, we stumbled upon a footy tournament at University of Sydney and stopped to watch for a while, having the locals re-explain the rules to us. The boys were only 16, but were brutes.

Monday, June 8
Monday was the Queen's Birthday which is a public holiday here. We decided to go to Le Petit Tarte again (this time with worse service) and ran into my flatmates there. After breakfast, we hopped on a ferry to Manly (which ended up costing $25 because I forgot that it wasn't included in our bus pass). We walked along the Corso, resisting the urge to grab fish and chips or icecream, and stopped briefly at Manly Beach. Luckily, it wasn't our intended destination because it was covered in gross seaweed.
We headed back and found our way to the Manly Scenic Walk. Much like the other coastal walks, this one brought us past amazing houses and provided excellent views of the harbour.

We attempted to do the entire walk which would have brought us to the "Spit Bridge," but we wouldn't have made it there and back before dark. We grabbed some Copenhagen's icecream (Alex's - honeycomb and butterscotch - is my new favorite) and headed back to the ferry at the perfect timing in order to see the Opera House lit up for the Luminous festival - it's completely dark on one side and then lit with cool designs and colors on the other.

Before catching the bus, we stopped into the Customs House so I could show Alex the huge 3-D map of Sydney that is under the glass floor. On our way home we got off the bus on Glebe Point Road and grabbed a pizza to take home from Lavara Pizza and Pasta - yum.

Tuesday, June 9
After many days of walking, we decided to take it a little easier on Tuesday. We had breakfast (my first french toast in 4 1/2 months!) at the Badde Manors Cafe (supposedly the "most vegetarian cafe" in Sydney) and brought our books to read in Hyde Park. Upon entering the park, we noticed a very strange animal that looked like a mix between a squirrel and a wombat. It started getting a little bit chilly, so we headed down to Martin Place to grab a hot chocolate from Lindt Cafe (by far the best hot chocolate in the city).
We decided to see Star Trek (which I never would have suggested, but it has gotten rave reviews, even from non-Trekkies) and killed some time shooting hoops and playing air hockey in the arcade (for the record, he won basketball every time, and I won air hockey every time). I thought Star Trek was really good and Alex loved it. After the movie, we happened to catch a bus that would take us to Leichardt (the Italian district with my favorite restaurant) and so even though we weren't that hungry, we decided to stay on and have dinner at Cafe Jolly - yum. I think I might have to go back and get the gnocchi gorgonzola and honey, cheese and chili bread one more time.

Wednesday, June 10
Wednesday was zoo day. We managed to sneak in on student discount, despite it not being exactly allowed (after getting caught with student travel passes by the train guys -- oops) and had a fantastic day, despite the cold and wind. Although we were disappointed that the seal show was cancelled due to renovations, it ended up setting our day up perfectly. We literally saw every part of the zoo and got to see the amazing bird show.

In the walkabout section, where you walk on a path where kangaroos, wallabies and an emu are roaming "free," we happened to see a joey in its mother's pouch! Our attention was drawn to him because there was a woman clearly going where she was not supposed to be and getting up really close to the kangaroo to get a picture (while the emu attacked her bag). Turned out, she worked at the zoo on their design staff and had been coming to the walkabout every day on her lunch break for weeks to try to get a picture of the joey and this was the first time she had been successful. Talk about good timing for us!

After grabbing some pictures of the joey, Alex decided he must pet a kangaroo and succeeded in luring the softest one I have ever felt in my life toward him - so adorable.

Thursday, June 11
On Alex's last day, we put on our fancy clothes and headed to the Opera House after grabbing lunch at Moore's Cafe on Glebe Point Road. We had front row tickets for the "Romantic Perfection" symphony. The performance was really fantastic and I was glad to get to see one more performance in the Opera House (this one was in the Symphony Hall of course, which is actually the prettier of the two).

After the symphony, we headed back to the apartment to pack up all of Alex's things, and then walked to Annandale for dinner, again on the recommendation of my guidebook. After walking up and down Booth St. without finding "Zenith," we decided (duh...) to look at the street number as opposed to just looking for the name of the restaurant. When we got to the right address, which we had passed about 10 minutes earlier, it turned out that the name of the restaurant had changed, and was now called Vicini. And it wasn't open for another half an hour. We decided to stick it out and headed back down the street to wander around in a cute bookstore for a while. We headed back to the restaurant and had a very nice dinner (each of eating our entire pizzas which were huge) and then headed home for an attempt at an early night, as Alex had to wake up at 4:20 the next morning. Unfortunately, it was my flatmates last day of uni and so they were having their first and only party. After about 2 hours of sleep for Alex, he woke up, grabbed a taxi and headed off to the airport for his 6 am flight to Melbourne to visit with his sister, her boyfriend and our friend Maxine.

Cue: loneliness onset from Amy. After having a constant buddy for 2 weeks, I suddenly felt incapable of doing anything on my own. Miss Not-So-Independent-Anymore spent most of the next 2 days doing pretty much nothing (some homework, lots of Internet nothingness and some internship applications). I managed to drag myself out of the house on Saturday to hit up the Glebe Markets and grab a hot chocolate and some pear and raspberry bread at Sapphos Cafe, but other than that Friday and Saturday were pretty much a bust.
On Sunday, I decided I had to snap out of it and decided to go to the Government House which I had yet to see, despite going past it every time I had wandered around the Botanical Gardens.

I showed up a few minutes before the 12:30 tour and moseyed around the grounds taking (shocker) pictures of flowers and the house. The tour was fairly interesting, but we really only got to see 3 or 4 rooms of the house, which was kind of disappointing.
After the Government House, my next stop was the State Library of NSW. Fairly typical, but there was one impressive room filled to the brim with books.

By this point, I was starving and decided to go to Lindt Cafe for lunch and (of course) hot chocolate. Super yummy, yet again. Then, I headed to the Art Gallery of NSW and saw everything in it in 2 hours flat. Some pretty cool exhibits, but nothing too memorable.
Then, I had 2 hours to kill before the Fire Water event I wanted to go to that started at 6:15. I thought about going to the Hyde Park Barracks Museum but didn't want to pay for admission and it didn't look too impressive (plus, I was kind of museum-ed out). I considered having yet another hot chocolate at Lindt, but couldn't justify going twice in one day (even though the take-away hot chocolate is $2.50 AUD cheaper than when you have it there... yeah, I'm definitely going there again before I leave). I decided to walk down to the Rocks where the event would be and do some souvenir shopping.
After that, I still had an hour to kill, so I decided to go to the cafe that Julia had recommended, which turned out to be just like Lindt, except for it was Guylian chocolate. After sitting down and realizing I a) was not hungry b) had just had hot chocolate 3 hours beforehand and c) could not stomach paying $15 AUD for a dessert, despite how yummy they looked, I decided that I would get a $9 AUD chocolate and banana milkshake, which ended up being only mediocre, but it allowed me somewhere warm, safe and dry where I could read Great Expectations and kill some time. When it finally was time, I followed the crowd down to Cadman's Cove, stopped to take a few pictures of the lit-up Opera House, and then made my way down to where the fire water performance was to be held.

Turns out, I should have used the hour I had just spent at the cafe getting a spot where I could actually see what was going on. Unfortunately, I hadn't, so I was stuck behind four rows of people, attempting to stand on my tippy-toes to see what was going on. Luckily, I don't think I missed too much. The highlight was the raising from the water, burning, and sinking of this ship. I think it was supposed to be something about refugees, but I completely missed the symbolism.

On Monday, I lazed around all morning and then headed to Circular Quay to meet up with John and Tyler who were doing some souvenir shopping. Since the last thing I had eaten was a panini at Lindt at 1:30 the day before, I was starving and so we stopped at the Australian Hotel in the Rocks and grabbed some wedges and pizza (just missing the happy hour discount on emu wings... fortunately?).
Tuesday was much of the same, but ended with me going to see The Hangover with John and Steve at night -- hysterical.
And now, finally, today! I am caught up! :-)... Today I met Petra and Hiroko in Chinatown for a farewell lunch. Petra leaves tomorrow for a 13-day trip to Alice Springs, Darwin and Cairnes, so it is the last time I will see her. We got dim sum, spring rolls, corn soup (or something), rice, an entree (honey chicken for me) and a drink for $12.80 each. I love Chinatown...
Only 4 days left! Eek!

1 comment:

Julia said...

Amazing study abroad wrap up week - well done!