It’s been more than 3 months since my husband and I started the long journey down under and for some reason, I thought I could keep all the fun activities and all the unforgettable memories we made from you. Not fair, right?
Yes, I thought so too, which is why there was a tiny little voice nagging inside my head to get my act together and write about this journey of a lifetime.
I don’t know what it is with me and reviews, but I just don’t excel writing them, so bare with me, will you?
Our trip to Australia brought us to Sydney, Melbourne and a very short, but super boring layover in Darvin.
Neither my husband nor I had ever been to Australia, needless to say that we were more than excited.
Thanks to my sleeping meds/ antidepressants that I still have to take, the 3 flights adding up to almost 24 hours of being in the air went by quicker than I thought (sometimes having an eating disorder pays off) and I landed at SYD full of energy and wide awake.
It was a welcome change to be able to walk around in a T-Shirt instead of wearing a winter coat and I was immediately in a super good mood looking forward to exploring a new continent (even if I’d only get to see a few cities) and experience the notorious Australian easy living style.
The first impression of Sydney was more than I’d hoped for. I fell in love with the British charm that you could still spot everywhere and the Australian twist to it. I loved the climate and the friendly manner of the people surrounding us. Of course, I was charmed by the accent and the uncomplicated behavior the Australians portrayed.
When I saw the Harbor Bridge and the Sydney Opera for the first time, I had goosebumps because, to be quite frank, I never thought I’d travel to the other end of the world.
Despite the stigma, I always like to take tourist buses when I visit new cities. For me, it’s a way of getting to know the city and seeing the most important sights. After that, I know what I want to explore deeper and I know my way around.
So, that’s what we did and my husband, the skeptical person he is, turned around after a few minutes and was delighted to experience Sydney in a nutshell.
The weather wasn’t our best friend during the entire 10 days of being down under. It was colder than we thought, especially in Melbourne, and it rained quite a bit.
So, we got a bit wet riding on the bus, but we still had a blast. I thought I could go swimming, or at least spend some time at Bondi Beach, but that really was wishful thinking. Still, seeing this legendary beach was amazing and I hope I’ll be able to visit once again in the future and make up for the missed chance.
However, what I liked the most about Sydney was The Rocks, where you can experience the mixture of English and Australian tradition. For some reason, this really charmed me and we went back to this quarter quite a bit.
One thing you definitely want to do while walking through those beautiful streets is to drink a pint at the Fortune of War, The Rock’s oldest pub.
Every day, I fell in love a bit more with Sydney and the Australians and I think I like it more than my beloved US. Yes, I said it. I did. Why? I think that the Australians, and we had quite a number of encounters with them, are not as shallow as some Americans.
They incorporate the British demeanor and their own, very unique characteristics. In a way, I perceived the Australians as being more educated, worldly and less superficial as Americans. I liked the mix of European and foreign architecture, personalities and traditions and I could see myself integrate in this culture quite well.
Melbourne, however, was a different scenario. As much as we tried to like this city, we simply couldn’t get it. Everything felt grey, dark, weird and 30 years behind. My husband, who grew up in East Berlin, couldn’t stop comparing the seemingly irrational mixture of architecture with the ones featured in East Germany.
We also could not grasp the fact that Melbourne was considered the fashion metropole of Australia, when everything we saw felt like a circus. There was no style, no charm, no compelling reason to return and, I am sorry that I am saying this, we couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there.
It’s true. I mean, I met a lot of amazing people (meeting Farnoosh for the first time and spending time with her and other bloggers was more fun that I’d thought) and I enjoyed seeing a different city, but I simply couldn’t warm up to it. It all felt out of place and we simply couldn’t put the puzzle together.
Back to Sydney
So, after a short interim in Melbourne, we flew back to Sydney and dug even deeper into this incredible city. While Andreas was working, I went on a tour through the Sydney Opera and I fell instantly in love. Wow, what a masterpiece. I was in awe of the architectural design and the vision behind it.
While I was going through that building I still couldn’t believe I was actually there. I was in the freakin’ famous Sydney Opera. How often had I watched the fireworks on New Year’s Eve wishing I would visit Australia once in my life? How often had I imagined how the Sydney Opera House would really look like? How often had I wondered if I’d ever be lucky enough to travel to this far away continent?
And here I was, little Anne-Sophie, standing inside the Opera House, experiencing a rehearsal of the Sydney Symphony and being completely enchanted by it.
The performance was right after one of Farnoosh’s awesome meet-ups (my highlights of the trip) and we had a hard time getting a cab because of a sudden thunderstorm. After about 20 minutes of anxious waiting, we were able to share a cab with a cellist. Turns out, she was the star of the performance, Alisa Weilerstein. Fun coincidence, plus we got a free cab ride.
One of the more touristy things I forced Andreas to do with me was going to the Sydney Zoo to see Koalas and Kangaroos. Hubby wasn’t pleased but I simply had to see those typical Australian creatures and if I couldn’t see them in the wild, this arrangement had to do. My grandma still talks about the sophisticated look of the Kangaroos and I still dream of the cushiness of the Koalas.
But overall, I don’t recommend the zoo or the aquarium. It’s overpriced and and run down, especially the aquarium needs a complete overhaul. So, spare yourself the money and have a nice dinner in a fancy restaurant like Rockpool, which we totally recommend.
I have to say that I was impressed with the Australian cuisine and I can’t remember eating so many high-class dinners on any vacation before. Well, it may be because I never ate during vacations for most of my life, but still, I indulged in seafood, lamb and delicious deserts quite a bit.
Andreas couldn’t stop raving about the great coffee he was served. We found a tiny coffee shop in the financial district, not far from Darling Harbor, where they had the best Long Black Andreas had ever tasted. Coming from a coffee addict like my husband, that has to say something.
So, was the long journey and all the money worth it? Yes, yes, yes. I cannot think of a single downside to this trip. As always, we went back home with enriched with experiences, memories and a slightly adjusted world view. Every single penny we spent was made up for by personal growth and a broadened horizon.
I only regret not having made more plans and having had a concrete to-do list. But I think that goes against my nature. I have to feel the vibe of a city and go with the flow in order to really get to know it.
I will definitely return to Sydney, maybe even Melbourne (it’s always worth a second attempt to fall in love with a city) and I hope we’ll be able to make it a longer trip in order to see more of the continent and its incredible nature. But I will take a bit of time to talk my hubby into that kind of travel again…
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