With our last couple days in Airlie Beach being decidedly rainy, we fled back to Sydney just in time for the holidays. We landed on Christmas Eve and while most people had visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads, we dreamed of Bondi Beach’s sandy shores. It may not be snow, but it is still white so that has got to count for something, right?
Finally a beach day! Wrong…
We were well prepared not to wake up to softly falling snow, but what we did not expect to see out the window was grey skies and a steady downpour. Looking back, we think that maybe Sydney was trying its best to make us feel at home by supplying cold weather in plenty. If that was the case, better luck next time Sydney. Anyways, to make a long story short, we needed a new plan. We were already planning to meet up with some Finnish friends we met during our time in South Africa who were now living and working in Australia for the next couple months so we got in touch and decided to outsmart the dreary weather together and have ourselves a merry, little Christmas at their apartment. Together we fixed ourselves a regular Christmas feast complete with steak, cookies, some strange Finnish shots, and a nice rainy day movie. It may not have been your typical Christmas, but with our over-filled bellies and time spent celebrating with friends, it was a good one! Mission: Christmas was deemed a success although it did have us Ho! Ho! Hoping for some better weather for the rest of the week.
Thankfully, our Christmas wish for better weather was granted when we peeked outside the hostel window Boxing Day. (Boxing Day is the day after Christmas that Australians celebrate…for cricket I think?) It was a tad windy, but not raining so things were looking up. We spent the morning strolling around downtown Sydney, through the botanical gardens, and up and down the streets of various chic neighborhoods such as The Rocks where we tested our taste buds with an official meat pie. (Not our favorite Australian delicacy we must admit.) This fabulous city instantly gives off an incredible vibe. It is a terrific city that you really could spend days and days wandering around without fear of boredom. Finally, we made it to the world famous Sydney Opera House. After spending the better part of the afternoon people watching on the Opera House patio (which I might mention rivals any people watching stage worldwide) it was time for our Opera House tour.
Let me preface by saying that the Sydney Opera House deserves every ounce of praise it has ever received. The architecture alone is enough to render you completely speechless. Then layer the story of the development and life of this outstanding Australian landmark on top of its appearance and you have yourself more than just a building, but practically a living, breathing being. The interior was just as spectacular as the exterior. We toured a few of the backstage areas in addition to the various performance spaces. Our favorite was definitely the Main Concert Hall with its expansive seating (designed to react to sound as if there is always a human body occupying the seats so that the sound never fails to be consistent) and the immense organ serving as a stunning, yet slightly imposing background. It is no wonder that this venue has attracted performers and world leaders alike for decades. The Sydney Opera House has been, is, and will continue to be a masterpiece for all the right reasons. It is phenomenal!
Last on our busy Sydney agenda was the Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb. To break it down, essentially we set out to walk to the top of the towering Sydney Harbor Bridge scaffolding. Setting out just after an early dinner, we strapped on our harnesses and ridiculous jumpsuits and began the seemingly arduous task of climbing to the top of a bridge. Really, the walk out under the belly of the bridge was the only sketchy section. Once we passed that checkpoint, we climbed up several steep ladders until we reached the actual metal arch of the bridge. From there it was smooth sailing all the way to the tippy top. We reached the summit just in time for sunset. Perfect! This was a truly breathtaking way to see the city. Watching the ships docking and the hubbub of city life buzzing below us as the sun turned the sky all shades of purples, pinks, and reds was absolutely priceless! Not a bad way to end our day in the Wonderful World of Oz…errr…Sydney.