It’s a little embarrassing when the last blog post I published promised to write more and that was from June 12, over 5 months ago! There’s been demand for me to start writing again (just enough encouragement to get my rear-end focused again!). I can’t thank you enough for your support of this little corner of my world. To kick off the Helen’s Travel Corner renaissance, a dear friend of mine, Courtney Lix, has a guest blog post from her recent trip to Australia. Enjoy!
The wheels of our Airbus a380 grazed the tarmac in Sydney, Australia a few minutes shy of 7:30 a.m. Chris, my airplane-loathing boyfriend, and I had flown from Friday in Washington DC straight through Saturday and into Sunday morning on the other side of the world. After that long on a plane, we were ready for a shower, and a nap. But glorious, sun-drenched Sydney beckoned with sparkling blue harbor, eye-catching Opera House, and plazas filled with strange and beautiful plants and birds—natives to a land completely foreign to us. Well, to be more correct: we couldn’t get into our hotel room until noon. And thus we stored our bags, and Sydney beckoned.
But we quickly learned that while our hotel was in a good location for being close to “The Sights”, it was in a bad location for getting brunch. It was chilly at 8am, so we certainly didn’t want to sit on the waterfront in the howling wind—and none of the places on the harbor, where the concierge had sent us with a vague ‘oh, it will be so pretty’ looked appealing. We finally lowered our standards and bought a breakfast that cost $35 and tasted like they should have paid us to eat it, as a reward for not wasting food. And since food is very important to me, Australia was off to a mixed start: beautiful to look at, but possibly a lean 18 days to come. (It’s also very disappointing when someone gives you a bad recommendation.)
The loveliness of Sydney buoyed our spirits though—at the very least, we weren’t hungry anymore and there were old convict barracks and aboriginal sculptures to distract us. And the sun—the sun in Australia is a thing of beauty—it will warm the worries right out of you (and give you skin cancer if you’re not careful). Inspired, we decided to take a chance on another recommendation (but not from the concierge) that afternoon: ride the ferry out to Watson’s Bay and eat at Doyle’s.
I love ferries. Like a dog sticking his head out of the window of a speeding car, I love to sit on the open top deck, even if the wind is blowing so hard it sucks all warmth from the air. Which it was. My teeth were chattering and I loved every moment, especially when we ducked into the side nooks of the harbor—Double Bay, Rose Bay—navigating through dozens of smaller, anchored boats to get to the wharf. The people of Sydney love their water, and they should indeed be quite proud of it.
Watson’s Bay is the farthest out, a quiet little community with a beach on one side and spectacularly high and rugged cliffs on the other. We were encouraged by the crowd swarming around the counter at Doyle’s wharf-side restaurant, and—praise be—we weren’t disappointed with our first taste of Australian seafood (flounder and john dory) as we sat looking at the sunset over the far end of the harbor.
Travel is full of uncertainty and excitement—and the start of any trip sets the mood for the days to come. We spent the next couple of weeks at the whim of unfamiliar places, and we survived being both lost and hungry, and also reveled in glorious, unexpected discoveries of beautiful places and delicious foods, chocolate in particular. And, really, what better reason is there to endure an airplane flight across the Pacific Ocean?
To see more photos from Courtney’s trip down under, click here.