February 13th, 2018
At 6.15 a.m. I set foot for the first time in my life, in the city and the country, which my daughter calls home. Nearly seven years, she is living here and until now I wasn’t able to visit. I knew it would be a 25 hour trip, though I thought I should be able to get some kind of sleep on the plane. Instead of sleeping, I watched around 4 movies, as my front seat neighbour decided to snore away all the 14 hours from Abu Dhabi to Sydney. Not to mention the screaming baby, who obviously did miss the comfort of his or her bed at home. According to my daughter, an early arrival is the best way to get accustomed to the time change. So I went with the flow, had a shower and a good breakfast at her home and off we went, for a walk. I forgot immediately the cold and rainy Dutch winter and adjusted in no time to the comfortable heat of Sydney. Our small roundabout ended up into an eight kilometer walk, where I got a first glimpse of Chippendale; an ordinary neighborhood, but with plenty of tropical greens and all kinds of small stores, cafes and terraces. I didn’t bring my camera, but during my second week, I will stay in an apartment in the same neighborhood and will be able to explore some more of the surroundings.
After this first walk on Australian grounds, it was time for a glass of wine, some food and a nap, so we walked with my luggage another 20 minutes to Hotel Harry, where I was booked for the first three days. Conveniently close to the city center and on walking distance of various museums and the waterfront. In the evening we decided to have dinner in a small Thai eatery, with the name ‘Spice I Am’, just down from the hotel. They serve authentic and extremely tasty food!
14th of February
Today, both my daughter and “son-in-law” have to work, so I started exploring Sydney on my own. From my hotel, it is an easy walk towards Hyde Park, where you will find the Anzac Memorial, the Pool of Reflection, the Archibald Fountain and a statue of Captain James Cook. Bordering Hyde Park is the famous St. Mary’s Cathedral, overlooking the Pool of Reflection.
From here you walk along Parliament House towards the impressive Royal Botanic Garden. An oasis of lush green and peacefulness in the center of the city. Here you can spend easily a couple of hours. As I left early this morning, the park was still quiet. People come here to picnic, workout or just have a rest. Many events take place on various occasions. It has an abundance of very old trees and at the end of the park you can see the Opera House.
There is a walking trail from the Opera House along Farm Cove and Mrs Macquaries Point. From here you have a fabulous view over Sydney Harbor Bridge with the glittering roofs of the Opera House in the front. There is even an open air cinema!
I continued my walk along Wolloomooloo Bay and discovered the Swimming Centre, which is outstanding situated on top of the Bay. Further down, bordering the Botanic Gardens, you find the well-known Art Gallery of NSW, which I will visit later during my stay.
Sydney is a perfect town for athletes and bikers, with so many inviting hiking and biking trails through the parks, along the water and over the towering bridges. After 6 hours of walking, my feet are sore and my head is full of impressions. Time to go back to the hotel.