originally posted on 2006-10-17
many people say sydney is the most beautiful city on earth. i haven’t nearly seen enough cities to make that statement (yet), but it’s definitely among the top 3 of my favorites.
when i arrived there , i had already booked a youth hostel (for a change).
i was staying at the blue parrot backpackers for the first few days, and was welcomed by a friendly middle-aged woman (first photo here) with a smoky voice, calling me (and supposedly everybody else) either honey or sweety. her voice and way of talking strongly reminded me of the oracle…
one of the first things she explained to me on the city map, was the house of “famous australian actor russel crowe”*. she seemed to be proud of him :-)
* he’s actually from new zealand, but talking to new zealanders later on, they didn’t really want to claim him being their nationality…
on the first evening, a man (in his 40s or 50s?) stopped me in the hallway and said “you must be the austrian”. i was stunned.
only after a few minutes of talking (he spoke english perfectly), i learned that he – peter – lives in pradl [M], about 15 minutes from my home.
i also got a chance to meet up with peter c (i stopped counting all the peters that i got to know on this trip), a computer engineer who i had known from a photography forum.
peter and his wife diane showed me around to see some beautiful spots for night photography.
when i first told him i was staying near kings cross, he just wrote “kings cross is an – errr – interesting area! if you’re not sure, think of amsterdam ;)”.
when i walked through the area on my way from the railway station to the hostel, i knew what he meant…
for the second half of my stay in sydney, i could stay at sean’s place. he’s a teacher with a lot of international experience, and it was especially great listening to his incredible travel-stories.
and i still can’t get enough of his special version of pasta with tomatoes, shallots and peanuts.
another reminder (besides somebody from home) of “home” was the tv-schedule that sean showed to me: inspector rex (original: kommissar rex), an austrian tv-series, is broadcast in australia. too bad i didn’t get to see if/how they dubbed it…
climbing the sydney harbour bridge was one of the things that had been recommended to me back home. it’s kinda expensive (169 AUD for 3.5 hours), but it was definitely worth the money.
of the few things we were allowed to bring up to the top of the bridge (no camera, unfortunately), everything had to be neck-strapped – even tissues and hair-bands. lonely planet also states “…and be prepared to don a cute mauve jumpsuit.” – they apparently changed the color to grey&blue now :-)
for communication, we were given really cool bone conductive headphones: sitting on your cheek bone, which conducts the mechanical vibrations directly to the inner ear. that way, you can hear everything around you (ears are free), AND an “additional voice in your head” when somebody else is talking on the walky-talky.
our group started just after sunset – so we got to see the city at twilight (going up; with lots of fruit bats flying beneath us) and at night (going down). the view from up there was just breathtaking.
little side note:
- while in sydney, i’ve come across some cases of very creative naming – including sejuced for a juice-bar, and the beastro in taronga zoo.