Monday through Thursday, 31-Dec-2018 through 03-Jan-2019
As is tradition, Sarah and I spent Christmas and New Years on an international adventure of epic proportions. This year, the Lydecker clan (including myself and Henry’s girlfriend Leah) met up in the land down under, the magical land of Australia.
After coming back to Sydney from Fitzroy, we all had a few days to spend together before Bill and Greta had to head back home to Scotland. Keeping it simple, we focused on exploring Sydney itself, and getting a chance to see Henry and Leah’s home turf. It was amazing – Sydney is a massive city, full of amazing buildings and great food. It’s a really cool urban center, and a great place to spend a few days exploring and experiencing…
Goal of the day: Australian Museum!
We did get to sleep in a bit, thanks to how late our flight got in, but afterward we headed into the city and explore the big natural history museum. It’s similar to the British Museum, in that it had lots of cool artifacts from Aussie history, though it was pretty focused on European history. They did have one exhibit on Aboriginal culture, but it was honestly fairly sparse… Still interesting, but I was a bit sad that there wasn’t more about the native culture and history.
From some research that I did in the evening though… that spareness was probably very intentional. As any Australian could tell you, there’s a very strained relationship between the Native Australians and the European cultures. Which has evolved into Aboriginal culture being kept… almost secret? It’s not particularly well known, and more is being learned literally every day.
Baseline? I’ve gained a new interest, and a new thing to read books about.
Afterward, we head back to the AirBnB to get ready for our fancy New Years Eve dinner!
We showered, got all kinds of dressed up, and headed out to an amazingly cool restaurant that Henry and Leah had booked us a table at: Ormaggio on the Spit. It was a sort of Italian / Spanish fusion, though if I recall it was primarily billed as a contemporary Italian place. Whatever the name, there was a wicked fancy tasting dinner, with matched wine. Delicious, and definitely much fancier than I think I’ve ever had before. And, of course, all the while we were watching the yachts outside roll in the wind, as lightening arced over the harbor.
After dinner, since it was still a ways before midnight, we all headed back to Henry and Leah’s house to watch the countdown, have champagne, and ring in the new year!
New Years day! Art Gallery of New South Wales! Festival goers!
We started the day with our usual yogurt and granola breakfast, though it was a fair bit later than usual thanks to the New Years eve revels of the evening before. I mean, we didn’t go as crazy as it seemed like the rest of Sydney had, but still. An excuse to sleep in a bit, right?
We took the bus down into the central business district, and… whoa. It’s New Years Day. And New Years Day in Sydney meant that there was a music festival going on, which meant that there’s a constant stream of revelers passing us, in revelry electronica music festival outfits.
They were… interesting. I don’t think the stream of people stopped, or even slowed, at all the whole time we were there. And more impressively, I don’t think that we saw a single outfit more than once… with the exception of the three guys all wearing matching spongebob-yellow shorts and shirts.
Our main goal of the day was the Sydney Art Museum – The Art gallery was definitely very cool, but it left me wanting to know more about aboriginal culture… Much of the art was European focused, and the pieces that were Native Australian were far too arcane for me to understand. They were interesting, but extremely abstract.
There were some european-style landscapes that were gloriously amazing though – ones that I’d absolutely say were some of the best landscapes that I’ve ever seen. Afterward, we had a lovely lunch of dumplings, explored the Central Business District, and then had a low-key dinner at Henry and Leah’s house – amazing roast chicken and rice!
Bill and Greta’s last day in Australia 🙁
Up early, have some yogurt, and take a bus to Balmoral Head, a really cool park overlooking the harbor, right near Leah’s office. We wandered around, took photos, and hung out as a group. It was a pretty impressively gorgeous area, and was a perfect relaxing outside walk after the last two days of museums.
We had brunch at a quite chic brunch place right on the water, before marching back up the hill to get a bus back to the house! I’m not joking – We’re talking a San Francisco-level hill here, in full Sydney summer heat. All those calories that we’d eaten at brunch? Yep. Burned.
Bill and Greta finish packing, and then we all relax and visit for a while until they have to get the Uber to the airport. Boo!
After they head out, Sarah and I rest and nap for a while at the house, and then meet up with Henry and Leah for coffee and brisket pie. Pie… Afterward, we head into the city for some quick exploring, specifically around “The Rocks”, sort of the tourist/docks area of the city.
We have dinner at an Indonesian place, which is freaking amazing, and then had dessert at “Choc Pot”, which is basically lava cakes of doom. Then some more people watching, and window shopping, including a creepy Otaku Japanese restaurant where you can pay the waitresses to take pictures with you. But we didn’t eat there. We ate at a place called Choc Pot. They had pots of chocolate. It was exactly what you’d expect… except with more chocolate. And I expected a lot of chocolate.
Then we took a bus home and sleeeeeeeped.
Wake up, clean up the AirBnB, head over to Henry and Leah’s house. After a quick cup of coffee, us and Henry head out to Toronga Zoo!!
We explore, see lots of awesome animals, and Henry tags tons of brush turkeys on his app. Have a quick snack of chicken fingers, aww yeah. Then we take the ferry across the harbor to Sydney, which is awesome, and then the train to the University District.
We explore, wander, meet Leah, and have lunch at “Spice Alley”, and then explore and wander around the University of Sydney. Lots of cool buildings, very old-school European. Then head into the city to wander and explore!
We finally check out Kinokuniya – It’s a huge bookstore, with tons of comic books, and no climbing books, but also a lot of art books and a TON of Japanese manga. It was really cool, and I found a ton of new comics that I want to read sometime soon.
Then we made a questionable decision, and let Sarah go explore a stationary store… Which very quickly lead to Sarah getting trapped in a stationary store, where I ended up people watching for a while until she escapes.
Then a bit of wandering and photography, followed up with food shopping for dinner (Pizza and takeaway Indian) along with shopping for climbing lunches! Then back to Henry and Leah’s house, cook, relax, and bed semi-early so we can rest up for the next step in our amazing adventures!