Almost every single one of my friends has fled Brisbane for greener pastures. Most have returned to their country of origin, but there is one, Jerusha, who's the odd one out and moved to Sydney instead of overseas. She fed dolphins with us on our first trip to Moreton island.
Meanwhile, Martin's classmate and my German tour guide from last summer Sabrina moved to Australia this year for a working holiday visa and quickly fell in love with Sydney, where she put down her roots.
I played match maker for these two big city gals and they are now the best of friends!
While I sit alone in Brisbane - ha!
Being German, Sabrina is stupidly outdoorsy and active. Like, ridiculously so. My goodness I don't know how Das Germans do it! We spent the majority of my 3 days there "nature walking" with minimal alcohol consumption. I must say this was a huge paradigm shift for me.
Bondi to Coogee coastal walk
I've wanted to do this walk since 2012, but never found the time when I was in Sydney before. As I suspected all along, it is a must do! It's a pretty cruisey walk and the scenery is nothing short of amazing.
Six easy kilometers (3.7 miles) of very scenic coastline is well worth a leisurely stroll. And the best part is, there's booze at the other end! The Coogee Pavilion is the perfect place for reversing any health benefits you may have just caused, and has primo skank watching.
Bondi is a huge pain in the butt to get to from Sydney city center, and the beach is so underwhelming for all the hype surrounding it.
But alas, it's what everybody does when visiting Sydney. Yawn. The coastal walk, however, speaks for itself:
Not yawn at all!
Manly to Spit Bridge Walk
Not nearly as cruisey - ten kilometers (6.2 miles) the Manly coastal walk is also scenic but in a very different way.
Manly is delightfully tree-filled, which gives a European feel to it. I have always preferred Manly to Bondi, and my knee jerk preference has now been solidified.
But holy crap that walk was not easy! Do not attempt unless you are pretty fit. Fitter than me, I would say. Ouch!
Unfortunately at the end of the rainbow there are no drinks or skanks, but a dirty bridge and busy highway to take you back into the city. Disappointing, actually!
Of the two walks we did, I recommend the Bondi walk for the fairweather (non-German) hiker like myself! I'm glad I did the Manly walk once but am in no rush to repeat it. These old knees simply can't take it!
To get to Manly you need to take a ferry, which takes you right by the Opera House and gives you the perfect tourist viewing opportunity at a commuter price. The luster of this view had worn off for me, except when the ferry captain pointed out an adorable seal sunning itself on the steps leading up from the water:
I stupidly forgot my proper camera at home, so you can't really see it here on my phone camera, but trust me it's there. Australian nature is the best!
Because we are the most basic of bitches, the misery of physical activity wasn't the only item on the agenda. Of course there was brunch!
And, the most basic activity of all, photographing our brunch!
The Vivid festival also happened to be on during my visit. Vivid is hard to describe, mainly because I don't really "get" what it is. It's a festival...of lights. But it's not Hanukkah. So many lights, that's the only way I know how to describe it.
We only went to one exhibit, this tunnel of lights:
It was nifty but...you walk under lights. Not really groundbreaking stuff. I'm barely exaggerating when I say that I've never seen this many people in my life! There are so so so many people in Sydney it's absolutely ridiculous. It's slightly overwhelming to my little old country bumpkin self!
The coolest thing I saw in the big city?
Melanie is the lucky gal, but I couldn't fit it all in one shot. By the time "Melanie" was started "Marry" was already starting to fade, and it evaporated so quick all 14 letters weren't legible at once. I didn't think this actually happened in real life, but apparently it does!
My tropical Queensland self was freezing "down south" in the tundra of New South Wales. So much so that I packed gloves.
And actually wore them.
Seriously, this 50-60 degree winter temperature is killing me. Sydney is way freaking colder than Brisbane!
Join me again in 2018 when I return to Sydney for my regularly scheduled, big city fun!