Sydney 22.12-03.01.2010

Sydney is a wonderful city. I was so glad to have visited this beautiful place over Christmas and New Year.

I spent my Christmas time with 5 other Gappies (volunteers) in a YHA Hostel.

From the first day, I was impressed by the atmosphere: Sydney is very big, busy, and full of people (mostly tourists), nevertheless the city has charm. You can find peaceful and quite areas where you can forget your daily routine, One of my favourite places is the Botanic Garden that surrounds the city. If you visti this garden you don’t have the feeling that you are still in a big city. You can find all sorts of different animals and plants there. It is really lovely.

Besides this wonderful place, I like Sydney’s Harbour. In contrast to the very quite Botanic Garden, the Harbour is very busy. Anyway the view of the Harbour Bridge and Opera is amazing!

I went on a cruse around the Harbour. This was a great way to see Sydney from another angle. It was lovely to see the skyline, the Harbour Bridge and the Opera from further away. From the water, there is very much to see. Besides Sydneys huge variety of buildings, I was impressed by all the sailing boats, kayaks and motorboats.

Us gappies decided one day to do a sightsseing tour on a red double- decker bus. We had a 24 hour ticket, so we were really able to get to know Sydney central and all the surrounding areas. You could hop on or off at many different spots. We visited Bondi Beach for a couple of hours. I didn’t like this beach very much. The white sand and the big waves were lovely, but it was far too busy to have any fun. It seemed like people come here to present themselves. Good looking and attracting attention seemed to be the underlying ideas.

On the 24th of December we spent the whole day at Manly Beach. I really enjoyed this beach. Before we went to there we bought typicall german christmas food in a supermarket (named Aldi). J  We ate Lebkuchen, Zimtsterne and Speculatius while basking in the sun and sitting on the sand, listening to the waves crashing against the shore. It was a little bit strange to eat Lebkuchen in the heat, but this food made us feel a little more at home. In the evening we picniced in the park. It was a lovely atmosphere. The next two Christmas Days weren’t very special. It rained the whole day and we played “Who am I?“ in the Hostel (even so, we still had a lot of fun), went out for dinner, to the cinema, and ate dessert in the best chocolate shop ever!

Two days before New Year I went on a road trip to the Blue Mountains with four other friends who I met in Adelaide. These two days were oodles of good times. We drove in one car all the way to the Blue Mountains National Park (one hour away from Sydney) and vistited many different lookouts. The Blue Mountains are lovely and I love all the differnt waterfalls. We were so lucky that the weather was better than the couple days before. We spent the night in a car park, camping with many other backpackers. The park ground was packed.

The day before the New Year I moved from my hostel to the apartment from Inga’s parents where I could spend a couple of nights. New Years Eve was very chaotic. Inga and I stayed out far too late shopping for food fort he next day, and we still needed to buy drinks. Good fun. At midnight we were still shopping in the supermarket and haden’t realised that the shop was closing. Consequently we were the last people in the supermarket, going on with our shopping business, unaware that no one else was in the store. Affter a while a seller from the store came and walked us to the cash desk. J

It was one night before New Year and Inga and me didn’t know where we want to go for our New Year’s party. Most of the other Gaps  wanted to go to the Botanic Gardens, but this place is always very busy on this special day and you can only see a small part of the fireworks.

As luck would have it, we met a friendly Australian guy who invite us to his New Years party at a very good spot, where he goes every year with his friends.

The next morning, Inga and me took the ferry to Milsens Point where we met the Australian guy. He walked with us to his favourite place. I was really suprised and impressed when I saw that our spot for the New Years party was a large dock right on the water, just across from the Opera House. We could see the right side the Harbour Bridge, infront the whole skyline and of course the Opera House. It was the better than we could have ever hoped for! We arrived there at 11 am. A little early, but this time was not boring. We had a barbeque (I ate kangaroo fort he first timeJ) and we went for a swim in the ocean. It was a wonderful feeling: sitting together with very nice people, talking, drinking and eating. We also got to watch all the decorated ships cruising through the harbour. At nine o’clock the first firework was blown up and it was breath taking. A wonderful start to an awesome night. The firework at 12 pm was the biggest and greatest firework I have ever seen. It was an amazing moment, which I will never forget. A great start to 2010! After the fireworks, we went back to the city centre where there was a very big party. All the people danced in the main streets, and we joined them. It was a lot of fun and a perfect end of a perfect night.

Two days later my parents arrived in Sydney. I was so glad to see them. We only had one day together before I had to keep traveling. We went out for Dinner with Ingas parents and afterwards ate something in the chocolate shop. It was a really joyous day. It felt good to know that my parents would be here for the next 5 weeks, and that I would be seeing them again. The next morning Inga and I got up at some ungodly hour to continue with our eastcoast adventures - but this is another story J