Saturday, January 7, 2012

The First 72--plus

I started writing this post with the title “The First 24” but then it turned into “The First 48” but somehow the time has gotten away from me and here we are in Sydney already over 72 hours into our time here.  The first 72 hours in Sydney have been a bit of a blur.  Instead of overloading you with info, I thought I would include a few different posts about our first few days here.  We arrived to an empty airport around 6:30 a.m. on Thursday and quickly cleared customs (after having to declare our "buffalo sauce"--something they don't have here in Australia).  It was such a relief to be able to come back to our apartment instead of heading to a hotel as we did the last time we arrived together.

We spent a little time unpacking just the essentials and headed out to grab a flat white (coffee) and run a couple of errands up the road.  We headed back towards the apartment and I suggested walking across the bridge as we didn't do that the first time I was here.  Todd wanted to change his shoes and grab our new fancy camera.  But, I knew if I went back to the apartment, I would be too tempted by the couches and bed and would absolutely crash.  While Todd ran up to the apartment, I waited outside taking in the beautiful day.  All of the sudden I look to my right and saw the only other person I know in all of Sydney walking up the hill.  As many of you know, just after Todd and I decided to make this move, I found out that someone who worked were I did in Atlanta was also moving to Sydney. She moved here about a month ago and has spent her time trying to decide which neighborhood she liked best.  Well, it turns out that one of her favorite areas is where we live.  We stopped to have a little chat and introduced her to Todd once he came back downstairs. 

After this random meeting, Todd and I made our way to the Sydney Harbor Bridge and walked across to the south side of the bridge.  Of course, we took numerous photos.

Then, we headed down to an area called The Rocks.  This is where the majority of the old bars (or hotels as they are called here) are located.  Side note--the reason these bars are called hotels goes back to the days when liquor licenses were only given to bars that provided alcohol to travelers.  These bars had to have hotel rooms in order to appear as though they were following that rule.  And, the name just stuck.  Some of these bars still have rooms you can rent but for the most part, they are all just pubs now.  So, we headed to one of the hotels in The Rocks to grab a quick bite--potato wedges--the same first meal we had here the last time I was in Sydney--and a drink.

After one drink each (more than enough for me after 24 straight hours of traveling), we headed back over the bridge to a neighborhood called Kirribilli.  We looked for an apartment in this neighborhood when I was here last time but couldn’t quite find anything we loved.  Todd has been spending a fair amount of time in Kirribilli over the past couple of months because one of his good friends from work lives there.  We walked under the bridge and sat for a bit by the water.  It was easily one of the most picturesque days I have seen in Sydney.

After that brief stop, we made our way back to the apartment through an area called Lavender Bay.  One thing I must point out is that Sydney has got to be one of the most hilly areas I have ever been.  And, I don’t know that I have ever climbed so many stairs in my life.  I’m hoping that I get a little more used to it so I don’t always reach the top of the hill huffing and puffing. 

Despite my best efforts, I completely passed out upon returning to the apartment around 4:00 p.m.  I really did want to stay awake all day our first day, but after sleeping very little on the plane, I just couldn’t fight it anymore.  Todd (who was able to stay awake all day) eventually woke me up around 6:30 and we grabbed a quick bite to eat at the restaurant about a half a block down the street.  Because this place is so convenient, apparently Todd got in the habit of grabbing dinner there by himself over the past few months when he didn’t feel like cooking.  At dinner, we kept joking that all of the staff members at the restaurant must have been shocked to see Todd with another person. 

We were both able to get a fair amount of sleep that first night, but I woke up around 5:30 a.m. knowing that I wouldn’t fall back to sleep.  Though unpacking would have been the most logical thing to do at that point, I didn’t want to wake up Todd with all of that commotion.  So, after doing what I could to tidy up around the rest of the apartment, I decided to go for a run.  It was a nice day but a bit overcast.  The most logical route was back over the bridge--I knew where I was going, knew it would be difficult to get lost and knew that I would have a great view the entire way.  It really was wonderful, but the wind on the bridge can get a bit brutal.  There were times when I felt like I was almost running in place because the winds were so strong.  Sydney is a pretty health-conscience city, so they running path across the bridge is a popular spot--not to mention all of the tourists walking across. 

More on the rest of our time here tomorrow...for now, here are a few more photos of our first day. 

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