We seem to be turning a corner on jet lag. I won't say we have passed that corner yet, but we are getting there. Last night I was so tired I could barely finish my blog post and I slept for 10.5 hours straight. Both kids went to bed "early" and woke up at a normal time. As I type this though at 9:20 Australian time Jonas had already fallen asleep around 8 PM while Rachel was still up.
Today we woke up and took a ferry from Circular Quay to Manly beach. We did not have a lot of time to spend there as we had tickets for a performance at the Opera House. The kids declared that we would have to come back to Manly beach to spend more time there. I told them we could possibly do it on Friday, but I want to maybe visit Bondi beach and then take a walk along the water to Coogee beach. We'll see though what happens on that day.
We spent about an hour and a half at Manly beach and then we caught a ferry back to Circular Quay. There David met up with us and then we split up with the kids for some food. He took Jonas to get Fish and Chips, while Rachel and I enjoyed a large McDonald's french fry. That is a real treat for us as we cannot eat McDonald's fries in the states due to allergens.
After our "lunch" we proceeded to the Opera House for a performance by the Bangarra dance group. Rachel was the one who originally found this performance. The performance was called Bennelong, and it was about a well known aboriginal who was one of the first Australian people's to have contact with the British. We actually saw the show with school groups as originally the show was set to end July 22, but it looks like since we initially looked into it they extended their performances by a week. The show was interesting and about an hour and fifteen minutes. I think I would have enjoyed it more had I still not been recovering from jet lag, as the dark lights and the sitting just made me want to nap.
Following the performance, we could have taken a tour of the Opera House with the school groups, but instead we decided to go visit Parsley Bay Reserve to see a suspension bridge. To get there we took the Watson Bay ferry, then walked about half a mile to Parsley Bay Reserve. I have to say, this was well worth the visit. It is a nice little reserve. The walks made me truly feel like I was in Australia. The bridge was very scenic, and the water around it was lovely. It is the type of place you could have easily spent all day there and just enjoyed relaxing there.
When we decided to go there, our only problem was that the ferry was not running past 4:45. I determined that we could either take a taxi back to our lodging, or we could figure out public transportation. We opted for the later. There was a bus stop a half a mile from the park and the bus that went there took a route that stopped a few blocks away from our lodging. I am extremely pleased with our decision to take the bus. I love riding public transportation whenever possible in a new city. I love the people watching and I love the scenery.
Thus – we took the bus back to near our lodging. Once we got off the bus Rachel was ready to go back to the rental whereas Jonas was getting hungry. I suggested he come with me to the grocery store which was actually underground in the metro station. So he came with me while Rachel returned to the rental.
Once again – we did not eat out 🙂 We had dinner back at our rental. We do not plan on eating in every night, but for now that is what works for us. The kids are tired, the parents are tired, and we don't want to deal with meltdowns at restaurants (from either the kids or the parents). We've been out exploring all day, we are still fighting jet lag, we just want to come back and relax. And even though I'm on vacation as well, preparing meals and washing dishes is never so bad on vacation as it is during daily life. This is also one of the ways of which we save money when on trips – eating meals in the rental is much cheaper than going out to eat each night….
Now that I've been in Sydney for a few days, here are my observations.
- People: The people of Sydney remind me of the people where I am from – very diverse. There are ALL nationalities represented here and it is very diverse. I am sure other parts of Australia are not like this, but ANYONE would fit into Sydney.
- Harbor: Wow – it is awesome. I see why people settled here. Every way you go there seems to be another awesome harbor or water view.
- Geography: I have actually been surprised with the geography of Sydney. I was expecting the harbor, but then I was guessing relatively flat land. It is the complete opposite. It is similar to San Francisco but the hills are not so steep. Buildings and streets seem to be cut into rocks. As you go through out the city you see various types of rocks.
- Transportation: That is GREAT around here. You can take a ferry to all the major places, and then transfer on a bus or subway. There is a daily cap of $15.40 for adults and $7.70 for kids. So once you exceed that amount in a day your transportation is free for the rest of the day. By the time we took the bus back to our lodging, Jonas, Rachel, and I all had free transportation…so the ride back only cost us around $3.50 for my husband. I've found the ferries, metro, and bus to all be clean and pleasant experiences.
- Walk on the Left: One of the hardest things to remember because I just want to walk on the right!
- Weather: So far we have been blessed. The weather each day has been wonderful. I would say highs in the 70-75 degree range, and plenty of sunshine. Tomorrow will be colder, but seeing as it is winter here I am thankful for the weather we have had so far.
- City Traffic: Sydney is the largest city in Australia with a population of over 5 million, but the traffic situation in the downtown area seems nothing like it does in big cities like Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. Perhaps it is due to the many transportation options available? Perhaps it is due to the many high rise buildings so people can live where they work?
Overall, I LOVE Sydney. I love looking at the architecture, the flora, and the fauna. It does remind me of San Francisco except smaller hills. I am so glad that we made the decision to come visit here and I can see why many people visit. Sydney is a place I feel we could stay for a month and still not come close to seeing everything we wanted to see.