WARNING: another LONG post ahead.
Save the best for last is what they say. Well, I finally got around to writing the last post of this series, and let me tell you - these adventures were definitely the best! (If you missed parts 1 & 2, click here and here.)
Sydney was a BLAST! I had SO much fun. It was absolutely spectacular to be in a place you really only see on television and in movies. It was surreal. The Opera House was just stunning and the Sydney Harbor Bridge was breathtaking (more on those later).
I was fortunate enough to stay in a hotel that was RIGHT in the middle of downtown where all the action was. I arrived on a Saturday morning and immediately started touring the city. There was some type of art and music festival that was happening on all the side streets, so I walked around and looked at vendors of various crafts, got some good food (real shrimp on the barbie =P) and refrained from buying everything Australian that I laid my eyes on. I walked down to the harbor and saw the bridge which I was going to climb the next day. Saw the opera house, crashed a few weddings, and got sunburned because I'm ridiculously pale and forgot to pack my sunscreen for the walk. Okay, now onto the fun stuff...
The Sydney Harbor Bridgeclimb
This had to have been one of the most spectacular birthdays I've had in a long time. I got to spend it climbing the Sydney Harbor bridge. My parents are incredible and got me a ticket for the bridge climb as a birthday present (THANK YOU Mom & Dad - I know you're reading this!). Not only was it a birthday present, but the climb was on my actual birthday! The climb was at 10:05am and started with a whole host of preparedness lessons and legal documentation. We then changed into these comfy and oh-so-flattering jumpsuits (you'll see), and went through a ton of set up procedures: putting on the climbing harness, attaching the headphones and radio so we could hear the climb leader, getting caps and towels attached to the jumpsuit, etc. Once all that was on, we did a practice "climb" to learn how to use the belt attachment that hooks you onto the guide wire that we were attached to during the climb. And then, we were on our way!
We started at the base, underneath where the actual roadway was, and got a nice view of downtown Sydney while cars were buzzing above us. The ladders we had to climb were a little scary, especially because they came up right in the middle of the roadway, so the only barrier between you and a ton of metal on wheels was a small cage-like wall. Eeek! Once we got passed all that though, we were on top of the bridge base and ready to make our ascent. Below is a picture of the route we took, outlined in red.
The day was gorgeous, but also VERY hot since there was hardly any wind (unusual I guess). So we started walking up the pretty shallow steps which got steeper and steeper (that's a picture of me at the base of the bridge before we started the real climb). During the walk up, the climb leader was telling us all about the history of the bridge, how it was built, and little fun facts about the climbers. (Here's a little history of the bridge itself.)
Let me say it was absolutely BREATHTAKING to be on top of one of the world's most iconic bridges, and to be able to look down on yet another iconic sight, the Sydney Opera House, was out of this world. Those are really only places I saw in movies and TV shows - I never once thought I'd be seeing them in person!
We continued to climb until we reached the top, and then we just stood, in awe of the city, taking in the scenery. We got to make a small video to send to friends and family back home (I won't show it here, but it was fun). Once everyone did that, we climbed down the other side of the bridge. The descent was just as fun as the climb up, and somewhat more nerve-racking because we were climbing down through the traffic and trains. Unfortunately (or fortunately, however you choose to see it), the train passed by after I had already climbed down that particular ladder, so I wasn't able to wave to the passengers =P. Once we got to the bottom, we took off all our gear, filled out a survey and then got our pictures printed. It was absolutely the most adventurous thing I've done in a LONG time, and certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will NEVER forget!
The rest of the trip (in pictures):
I'll let the rest of the trip speak for itself in pictures (with captions), 'cause I know that's what you really want to see. :) (Excuse the blurry-ness of some of these pictures - my phone's camera isn't the best...)
MANLY BEACH & MY BIRTHDAY CONTINUED
THE OPERA HOUSE
This was SUCH a sight to see! You never really appreciate the scale of things until you're right up close and personal. Not to mention, I mean, c'mon - the only time I've ever seen the Opera House was in movies or on TV. It was surreal to be right up next to it IN PERSON. (The picture on the right in the second row is of me standing on the steps leading up to the main entrance. That little tiny (and blurry) blob in the center is me... plus some raindrops.)
FOOD! GLORIOUS, FRESH FOOD!
In Adelaide, there really wasn't much fresh food available besides at the grocery store, so needless to say, I ate a lot of burgers (and fries), tacos, pastries, you name it. So once we got to Sydney, it was SUCH a welcome change to have fresh, made-to-order salads, cured meats, seafood, veggies, etc. I don't think I've ever had a dinner that tasted THAT fresh and delicious before!
And that pretty much wraps up my trip to Australia! It was a whirlwind of a trip filled with SO many new experiences that I will never forget. I'm thankful I was able to go "down under" and it's something I would absolutely do again in a heartbeat. I'll leave you with a pretty cool video snippet I took of a didgeridoo performance in Circular Quay that resembled electronica (I LOVE techno, so of course I had to capture it). Note: The video isn't great - more for the sound than anything. Enjoy!
Have you ever been to Australia?? If so, what part(s)? If not, is it somewhere you'd like to visit? Comment below - I'd love to hear your stories!!