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Altoghether we spent over two weeks in Sydney, which together with Sandakan is the longest we stayed in one place during our travels. However the days just flew by which is a good indication you had a good time. After Myanmar (and generally Asia) we were really looking forward to some (Western) comforts which were abundant in Sydney. We craved food like sandwiches, burgers and steaks. We were looking forward to big city delights like nice cafes, museums and parks. Maybe strange, but it felt great to anonymously blend into the street life without it being so obvious you’re a foreigner. And of course, we were going to stay with Marieke and Nick, our good Dutch/Ozzie friends.

DSC_0005They provided us with something that was even more valuable than all the above: a temporary home in which we could unpack our bags completely, sit on the sofa, keep stuff in the fridge and prepare your own food. Initially we would stay only for one week at the start of our Ausome Australia adventure, but we enjoyed it so much that we reserved the guestroom for another week after our roadtrip on the east coast. They say they enjoyed us staying with them, but we all know that having two people over for two weeks isn’t always easy. We had a great time and are very thankful for their hospitality at home and for showing us so much of the city.

At home we enjoyed simple pleasures like cooking, eating, watching series, unlimited access to wifi and of course having a drink/chat with friends . On top of that there was throwing stuff on the balcony barbie, Marieke’s birthday dinner and the traditional Dutch game of sjoelen! However, we didn’t just stay in. Sydney has lots to offer and although we didn’t tick every single attraction box, we saw enough to conclude this is a great city to live in.

photo 1At first Australian football seemed a bit strange. On a circular field you pass the ball by hitting it with one hand or by kicking it. If you catch the ball after a kick the opponent has to stay one meter away from you until you resume the game. Kick the ball between the two middle posts and you get 6 points, while between the outer posts will get you 1 point.  After a while you kind of got it and the game was quite interesting. We went to photo 2see Sydney Swans play at home against the Collingwood Magpies (the scoreboard said Swans vs Pies which makes an interesting fixture in Dutch) and although the home team lost, it was pretty cool! Marieke and Lucia had even more fun as they could enjoy the rather tight outfits of the players.

World famous Bondi beach is a must visit when in Sydney. Instead of just driving up there, we went on a 6km walk along the coast that started at Coogee beach (See the official route here). Fantastic views of the sea, bays and cliffs along the way. We passed by what must be the most prime location cemetery in the world as it was on a sloping hill overlooking beautiful cliffs and the sea.

Once we got to Bondi we were slightly surprised. It’s often described as great beach where all the cool kids go, lots of ‘see and be seen’ happening and ideal for surfing. If this would’ve been Holland (or I guess most European beaches) this would mean bars, restaurants, sunbeds and music right on the beach. Not on Bondi. It’s a really chilled place with people sitting on their towel on the beach enjoying the sun and water (and other people of course). Lots of people running or exercising (as everywhere in Sydney) and all the bars and restaurants and further up in the streets along the beach. We topped it of with burgers and beers.

DSC_0106DSC_0135Sydney harbour is in a nice part of town and there are plenty of ferries to take you to different parts and islands within Sydney municipality.  We took a ferry to Manly where we spent a few hours walking up and down the beach. The cool part really is the 30 min ferry ride itself as it gives you great views of Sydney Harbour, the skyline and surrounding hills. This was also when we got our first good look at two of Sydney’s main landmarks: the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge

We had a look at the Opera House from closeby on another day on our way to the Botanical gardens. Apart DSC_1499from all the wide-stretched beautiful greenery along the water we were really fascinated by something else: starting at noon the gardens became filled with running, stretching and exercising people. It was like we walked into a marathon. It basically stopped around 2pm which made us conclude that all these people do this during their lunch break. We had heard about Australian sport-addiction, but this was crazy!

We saw the Harbour Bridge from a different viewpoint as we walked over it to Milson’s Point. More good views of the city, but our main destination was an old entertainment park call Luna Park. It’s like stepping back in time with old-fashioned rollercoasters, ferriswheels and fun mirrors. The main sight is the entrance gate shaped as a big smiling face. After some fish and chips close to the train station we made a quick stop at Kimberly-Clark’s office doorstep (it was weekend so closed) and made our way back to town again.

April 25th is a national day of remembrance for Australia and New Zealand called ANZAC day (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps). On this date in 1915 these countries lost many men during a campaign in the first World War. Now this day is used to commemorate all the fallen men and women during the wars that these countries have been involved in. It’s a public holiday and many services are held throughout the country.

After attending a small ceremony in the pouring rain in Hyde Park we did what most Australians do after these services end; we went to the pub. Anzac day is the only day the it is legal to play the game of Two-up in a pub. DSC_1475The traditional game dates back to the 18th century and is very simple: two coins are thrown up in the air and you can bet on either two heads or two tails. If you win, you get double, if you loose, you loose. Although we didn’t play we did enjoy seeing others play as it made for a real good atmosphere. For lunch we went to a sushi place that Marieke had taken us to before: Sushi on Stanley. Delicious sushi at a low price. Plus you can bring your own drinks (as you apparently can with quite a few restaurants in Sydney).

IMG_2521When in a big city, you should always check out a museum or two and so we did. Nick took us to the Powerhouse museum which is mainly about science and technology. We didn’t have much time as we arrived quite late, but were impressed with the set up and contents of the museum. Pretty interactive as well. The space station simulator made us a bit dizzy and we found it interesting to already see IMG_2644an iPhone displayed as one of the biggest inventions of mankind.
The second museum we went to was the Museum of Contemporary Art which was obviously a bit more arty. There were a few interesting videos on display and we’ll leave it up to you if you can identify the objects that were actually shown. (As a warning (and hint), these pictures include nudity:-)). This is also where we saw our first aboriginal art.

On one of the last days we booked an evening tour at the Sydney Observatory and were amazed you can see Mars with the naked eye and how clearly we could see Saturn through the telescope. The combination of the museum, telescope, planitarium and the enthusiastic stories from our astronomy-student guide made for a great evening. Mark is even going through an online (Udemy) astronomy course for beginners as it got him interested.

Sydney was great and we hope to come back one day again! For more pics, have a look here

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Dohromady sme v Sydney stravili nieco cez dva tyzdne, co spolu so Sandakanom, bol najdlhsi cas pocas nasej cesty straveny na jednom mieste. Dva tyzdne nam ubehli strasne rychlo, takze o zabavu sme mali postarane. Po Mjanmarsku (a Azii vseobecne) sme sa uz vazne tesili na trochu zapadneho komfortu, ktory Sydney urcite ponukol. Tuzili sme uz po ‘normalnom’ jedle ako napriklad sendvice, hamburgery ci steaky. Nevedeli sme sa dockat uzit si posedenie v kaviarni, prechadzku po parku ci navstevu muzea. Mozno sa to zda zvlastne, ale konecne sme si po dlhom case mohli uzit akusi anonymitu a zapadnut do ulic mesta bez toho, aby bolo jasne, ze sme cudzinci. A samozrejme, boli sme radi, ze mozeme byvat a stravit cas s nasimi dobrymi holandsko-australskymi kamaratmi Marieke a Nickom.

Marieke a Nick mam poskytli nieco, so sme si vazili este viac nez vyssieuvedene: docasny domov, v ktorom sme si mohli vybalit batohy, posedavat na gauci, mat jedlo v chladnicke a sami si uvarit. Povodne sme planovali ostat len tyzden pred vyletom v karavane, no napokon sme si rezervovali izbu na dalsi tyzden po navrate. Hovorili, ze nas u nich dva tyzdne radi hostili, ale my vieme, ze mat v dome navstevu na dva tyzdne nie je tak jednoduche. My sme si navstevu uzili a sme im velmi vdacni za ich pohostinnost a obcasne sprievodcovske sluzby mestom.

Ako ste teda pochopili, stravili sme vela casu len doma, varenim domacich jedal, jedenim, pozeranim serialov, neobmedzenym internetovanim a vecernym popijanim v spolocnosti nasich hostitelov. Okrem toho sme par krat grilovali na balkone, oslavili Mariekine narodeniny a hrali tradicnu holandsku hru sjoelen. No neboli sme celu dobu len zavreti vo vnutri. Sydney ma vela atrakcii a i ked sme nestihli obehnut vsetko, videli sme dost na to, aby sa nam tu pacilo a vedeli si predstavit v tomto meste zit.

Spociatku sa nam australsky futbal zdal trochu cudny. Na ovalnom ihrisku sa prihrava sisata lopta bud kopanim alebo akymsi volejbalovym podanim zospodu. Ked sa podari chytit loptu priamo z kopu, nielenze sa vsetci raduju, ale obranca musi ostat meter od utocnika s loptou, az kym ten neprihra alebo nestriela. Sest bodov je odmena za kopnutie lopty pomedzi vnutorne posty vysokej branky a jeden bod, ked sa trafi medzi vonkajsie posty. Po chvile sme si na pravidla zvykli a ku koncu sa nam hra zdala aj zaujimava. Boli sme na zapase Sydney Swans (labute) proti Collingwood Magpies a bola to sranda aj napriek prehre domacich. Dievcata sa navyse mohli zabavat na mierne obtiahnutych a kratkych dresoch vysportovanych hracov.

Svetoznama Bondi beach / plaz je na zozname miest, ktore je v Sydney treba vidiet. My sme navstevu sklbili so 6km prechadzkou po pobrezi z Coogee beach, ktora ponuka fantasticke vyhlady na more, zalivy a sklamate utesy. Chodnik viedol aj popri pravdepodobne najlukrativnejsom cintorine, aky sme kedy videli, ktory sa rozprestieral nad utesom s prekrasnym vyhladom na lamajuce sa vlny. Ked sme dorazili k Bondi, boli sme mierne prekvapeni. Tato plaz je opisovana ako miesto, kde sa schadza nielen surfovacie cool osadenstvo v najnovsich trendoch. Keby to bolo v Holandsku, alebo nejakej europskej dovolenkovej destinacii, plaz by bola pokryta kaviarnami, barmi, restauraciami a lehatkami. No tu nie. Cela plaz posobi velmi pohodovo, kazdy si donesie svoj rucnik a uziva si slnka a vody na plazi alebo na travniku. Najdete tu stovky ludi behat a cvicit (ako napokon v celom Sydney) a restauracie a bary su dost daleko aby nenarusovali tento prirodny raj. Po prechadzke sme si dali hamburger a pivo.

Sydney pristav je pekna cast mesta a okrem prechadzky po nom tu mozete naskocit aj na niektory z trajektov, ktore ako mestska hromadna doprava spajaju hlavnu cast mesta s ostrovmi a polostrovmi, ktore k mestu patria. My sme si vybrali trajekt do Manly, kde sme stravili par hodin prechadzkou po plazi. Najzaujimavejsie cast bola plavba samotna, kedze 30 min na lodi ponuka pohladnicove vyhlady na pristav a siluetu mesta. Ako asi cakate, prvykrat sme si z lode obzreli aj budovu opery a znamy pristavny most.

Na operu sme sa pozreli zblizka neskor na ceste do botanickej zahrady. Okrem samotnej zahrady, ktora sa rozprestiera na pomerne velkom uzemi mesta sme boli fascinovani niecim inym: okolo obeda sa zahrada doslova zaplnila beziacimi, rozcvicujucimi ci posilujucimi ludmi. Chvilu sme si mysleli, ze sme sa zaplietli do maratonu. Sialenstvo prestalo okolo druhej poobede a tak sme sa dovtipili, ze takto travila sydnijcania svoje obedove prestavky. Vedeli sme, ze australcania su znami sportovi nadsenci, ale toto predcilo nase predstavy!

Pristavny most sme si pozreli zblizka pocas prechadzky po nom smerom k severnej casti mesta. Naskytli sa mam dalsie pohlady na mesto, ale nasim cielom bol starodavny zabavny park Luna Park na opacnej strane. Navstevnici parku aloby vstupuju do prvej polovice 20. storocia, kedze vsetky atrakcie su zrekonstruovane do svojej povodnej podoby. Najvyraznejsia je vstupna brana v tvare usmievavej tvare. Po ‘fish-and-chips’ obede sme sa cestou naspat zastavili pozriet na budovu Kimberley-Clark.

Piatok 25. aprila bol statny sviatok ANZAC day. V tento den roku 1915 australske a novozelandske armady stratili vela vojakov v prvej svetovej vojne. Dnes si v tento den Australia a Novy Zeland pripominaju padlych hrdinov vsetkych vojen, v ktorych sa ich vojska zucastnili. Po obidvoch krajinach sa konaju ceremonie a omse a tak sme vyrazili do ulic pozriet sa. Po chvilke stravenej pri uprsanej ceremonii v Hyde Parku sme sa rozhodli robit to, co ostatni australcania a novozelandcania v tento dem robia: isli sme do krcmy. Tento statny sviatok je jedinym dnom v roku, kedy je zakonom povolene hrat hru ‘two-up’ verejne o peniaze. Tato tradicna hra siaha az do 18. storocia a bola oblubenou hrou vojakov v zakopoch, kedze je velmi jednoducha. Do vzduchu sa vyhadzuju dve mince a hraci stavkuju, ci padnu obe hlavou hore alebo naopak. I ked sme sa nezucastnili priamo, pozorovali sme skupinky pri akcii a vyzeralo to na dobru zabavu. Na obed sme isli uz druhykrat na sushi do restauracie Sushi on Stanley, ktoru radi doporucime nielen kvoli dobrym cenam. Sem ako i do knohych inych restauracii si dokonca moze kazdy doniest svoju vlastnu flasku vina, co pivo.

Ked ste vo velkom meste, musite navstivit nejake to muzeum, ci dve, a tak sme tak urobili. Nick nas vzal do zaujimaveho Powerhouse muzea, ktore je hlavne o vede a technologiach. Prisli sme pred zaverecnou a tak sme nemali tolko casu, no to, co sme stihli vidiet sa nam pacilo nielen pre obsah ale aj prezentaciu. Druhe v poradi navstev bolo Muzeum Sucasneho Umenia. Na obdiv bolo niekolko galerii s roznymi typmi exponatov. Nas mimo ine zaujala tato video instalacia, interpretaciu nechame na vas (len, tak ako v muzeu, upozornujeme, ze ukazka obsahuje nahotu :)). V tomto muzeu sme videli aj kusky od domorodych umelcov. Na jeden z poslednych vecerov sme sa objednali spolu s nasimi hostitelmi na vecernu navstevu observatoria / hvezdarne. Mimo ine prekvapenia sme zistili, ze volnym okom mozno vidiet hned niekolko planet (nesmejte sa, ak ste to uz vedeli :)) a cez teleskop sme velmi jasne videli saturn aj s jeho prstencami, co bola tiez novinka. Kombinacia historie, technologie a rozpravania o hviezdach v podani nadsenej studentky astronomie tvorila velmi prijemny a naucny vecer. Marka tema tak zaujala, ze sa dal na online kurz astronomie pre zaciatocnikov (Udemy).

Sydney nam ucarovalo a dufame, ze raz budeme mat moznost vratit sa znova na navstevu! Fotky z velkomesta su tu.

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One thought on “Sydney’s Sights

  1. Pingback: 11 months in a single post | Take it and go

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