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Thursday, 7 January 2016

Sydney, Australia Part 1...

It was Christmas morning and all through the land people were waking up to a spread of festive joy. Trees were glistening, turkey’s were roasting and children everywhere were unravelling the presents they’d waited oh so long for. As people near and far celebrated this day surrounded by their loved ones, I was about to board a flight that would take me through China to my final destination of Sydney, Australia. This was a trip I had been anticipating for a very long time, and one that would inevitably remind me of what Christmas, is actually, all about.

 The beautiful Sydney, Australia
 
The day started out much like any other in South Korea, with the smell of fish and the sight of old men honking up their lungs and spitting out the results on the unfortunate pavements below. The occasional car horn was heard, and the taste of pollution and left over Christmas kimchi was evident in the air. There was something quite comforting about it all though, it was a feeling that I had come so accustom to over the last year and maybe one that felt like home. However the lack of cheer and merriment on this particular day reminded me straight away that this was definitely, not home. And so I boarded my flight and took off to the western world in search of bread, cheese and those oh so familiar faces.

The flight itself was devastating! I don't mean this literally - there were no incidences and no one died or anything (apart from perhaps a bit of my soul) but I caught a cold somewhere around China and the rest is history really. As someone who use to love flying, hating it has come as a massive surprise to me over the last year. Maybe its something about getting older, but I feel there’s this real risk of death now - I mean what’s even holding the plane up? It’s extremely bizarre. I landed at around 9.30am, and after an awkward encounter with a black sniffer dog, I bought some vodka and I was on my way.

Christmas Dinner!
 
I couldn’t wait to start exploring Sydney and experiencing a different part of the world, but the main purpose of my trip was to visit my friends and that was what I was most looking forward to. It had been a long time since I’d seen anyone who I’d known for more than just a few months, so it was pretty amazing to see these people who I’ve been through so much with. After the long flight I must have looked like hell on earth on the outside (I sure felt like it) but on the inside I was absolutely ecstatic to see their faces and I couldn’t wait for this mini adventure to begin.

We arrived back at my friends house (where I would be staying) and I had my first western meal of the week. Turkey, roasted potatoes, vegetables, stuffing, Yorkshire puddings and pigs in blankets...literally the works, and to top it all off with we had a lovely little glass of bubbly as we watched the Queens speech. It was just the perfect way to celebrate Christmas. After a lazy first day and a pretty good nights sleep considering, we headed off the following morning to explore the city of Sydney in all of its glory.


YUM!

We started the day off by walking past Mrs Macquarie's Chair and through the Royal Botanic Gardens, which were beautiful and packed full with plant life as far as the eye could see. These gardens are almost 200 years old (this year in fact) and are one of Sydney's most visited places due to their close proximity to the harbour and in particular, The Sydney Opera House. This performance venue is one of Sydney's most recognisable places and tourists flock here in their millions each year to catch a show or two. The entire building is covered in individual self cleaning concrete white panels but up close they're actually more of a glossy cream colour. The building is fascinating and offers some great views of The Sydney Harbour Bridge as well, which was pretty epic.

Mrs Macquarie's Chair
 
 Royal Botanic Gardens
 
Royal Botanic Gardens

Sydney Opera House

Harbour Bridge

Next we took a stroll through Circular Quay although the amount of people meant that it was more of a jolted walk to be honest. On the other side we reached The Rocks - a historical area of Sydney's city centre and a fascinating place filled with beautiful architecture. This area was the site of Australia's first European settlers in 1788, so as you can imagine it was packed full with Australian history including Sydney's oldest building, 'Cadmans Cottage'.

 Cadmans Cottage
 
The Rocks

We stepped on to the famous Harbour Bridge to take in the views of the Opera House and beyond, and I couldn't help but feel a real sense of elation as I stood there looking out on to the harbour. It was a wonderful first couple of days in Sydney and I couldn't wait to see what the rest of the week would bring...

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