Monday, February 20, 2012

NSW: North Ryde and Sydney Harbour

Well after all this time we finally get to the Sydney post, ill be breaking this part of our trip into sections as Sydney was to huge to do it all in one post. We will be here for a while so you'll be seeing sydney for a little bit :) After a quiet night in Albury, we woke up and had a nice quick breakfast and were back on the road for another full day of driving. Sydney was our destination and we were excited to under way, Sydney is just one of those iconic places that you automatically think of when you hear Australia. Its much like NYC in that way, you see it in movies, tv shows, name it. Theres a sort of magic that surrounds it and serves to capture the imagination. There is so much to do there, we were there for about a week and barely scratched the surface but in all honesty if you only go to Sydney you're missing out on what Australia has to offer. So on the road we were, the drive was long but pleasant, there was lots of open country and oddly enough as we approached ever closer to the city the landscape changed to big areas of forests and rivers. Definitely not what i had expected as we approached a major city. As we got closer one thing that is prevalent to cities did show up......traffic! Now I'm not a huge fan of traffic but can manage, but traffic through a city is a big source of stress. Cities are all packed into tiny areas and theres tons of people everywhere and not just normal people but stupid people. It seems that the more people you pack into small spaces the propensity for stupidity increases exponentially. Alas it could not be avoided and we had to charge forward stupid people or not. So forward we went, and let me just say that in times like this i am incredibly grateful to have Jen because she plays navigator and does it incredibly well. If it wasn't for her i would probably still be in Australia driving around in circles or driving into a river and eaten by crocs. To my great surprise the drive through the city to our campground was not as bad as i thought it was going to be. It was stressful but i was envisioning thousands of cars everywhere, bumper to bumper traffic, pissed off and screaming know the works. After 5 hrs of driving though i was exhausted and wanted to stretch and relax. Eventually we arrived to our campsite, it was oddly beautiful to for an RV campsite i mean. Big trees and lots of them and a pattern began to emerge that would continue at pretty much every campground we stayed at. We would see more wildlife at these campgrounds than in most other places we visited, anything from birds, lizards, bugs, possums. It was at this campground that i would meet what is by far my favorite bird of all time, but more on that on a later post. Sadly another pattern also emerged: No campground we stayed at from here on out would come close to the "magic" and simplicity of that open field in Victoria. We made the best of it but always longed to go back.......someday. So we arrived, parked, got situated and had a good stretch and the exhaustion that we were experiencing was completely gone. We were energized by being in a new place to explore and were eager to get our adventures underway. Our campground was in North Ryde which is about 30 minutes outside of Downtown Sydney by train. One of the things that we have fun doing is figuring out different public transportation systems, every city is different and while it can be confusing and frustrating at first it gives you a great sense of accomplishment when you get it down. The train station was about a 10 minute walk from our campground, which doesn't seem like its that bad. But when you're carrying a camera bag that weighs 30-40 lbs it can be brutal especially when you're coming back at midnight and you've been walking all day. To the train station we went, and we arrived it was really creepy. There was no one there! I mean not a single person in sight! Were used to subway stations in NYC were you can't turned 10 inches without someones face being right in your, and all you want to do is to get above ground for a breath of fresh air. Not here, it was deserted, there was an employee in a little booth and he helped us get our passes for the week but other than that it was empty. It was like a scene out of one of those zombie apocalypse movies where everything is deserted and you just see a random newspaper blow across the screen. We sat there creeped out and waited for our train, eventually another person showed up but that was it. The train arrived and we were on our way into the city, the ride was really nice and gave us a chance to sit and relax. Here and there we would look out the window and as we got closer to our destination we could see little glimpses of the harbor. Our excitement grew but it was a frustrating tease to see small areas of the harbor and all you want to see is that iconic view of the Sydney Opera House, that one landmark that has served to identify Australia for many years. We wouldn't have to wait long, as the view eventually opened up to where you could see the harbor and off in the distance was not just the opera house but the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Two huge landmarks right there and yet again we experienced that feeling that drove the fact home WE WERE IN AUSTRALIA!!! I won't lie, i got goosebumps. Seeing the vastness of this place really energized us and we were excited to go explore, we arrived at our stop and made our way down to the waterfront. We realized that we were in the wrong place if we wanted to see the Opera House and bridge especially if we wanted to see it at sunset. Lucky for us Sydney has an incredible public transport system in place at the harbor and you can just catch a ferry to where you need to go. The cost of the ferry was covered by our train! We got on the ferry and I'm glad we did because it gave yet another view of the harbor and the bridge which was a lot of fun. I spent most of my time out on the deck shooting tons of photos, the view of the city was just incredible. We made our way around and got to the opera house, it was cool to finally be there seeing this place. To be there and knowing that you can cross something off the list, we had seen it in books in movies and planning for over a year and now here we were at the steps of the opera house. It was very surreal. We stayed here pretty much the entire time as sunset was really close and i wanted to shoot some photos, it was a great way to start our time in Sydney. Sunset came and went and the harbor became even more interesting and beautiful as the light faded and the city lights began to come on. We walked around for a bit still in awe and shock that we were here finally, when before all we could do is wait and it seemed so far away. We took it all in and walked into the opera house, i wish that we could have caught a show there but we were there right in the middle of the holidays and nothing was going on until after we would be gone. Still, it was incredibly beautiful and i discovered that the opera house is meant to look like its sailing across the harbor and when you see it in person from a distance it really does look like its some kind of vessel sailing across the water. It was late now and the rush of energy was quickly fading, we made our way back and got on the train "home". Exhausted beyond belief we dragged ourselves off of our seats and got off at our stop......still deserted and still creepy. The walk back to our van was grueling, being so tired and carrying all that weight was just painful. But we made our way past the cemetery/crematorium, yes you read that right, down the long dark road and got to our van. Tired and happy we passed out as soon as we hit the bed.....soon we would be ready fro a new day and a new adventure.

Sydney Harbour pano1

Sydney Harbour Pano 2

Sydney Harbour Pano 3 flat

1 comment:

Katelyn said...

Amazing, Zo! So jealous of your trip!