So this weekend away was a whole lotta weekends ago (we’re talking May…) but better late than never, or at least I hope you feel that way!
I went to Sydney wearing jeans and without swimmers, an appropriately ignorant start to the trip that would change my ignorant (and fairly prejudiced) view of Australia’s most famous city.
Having lived in Melbourne for a good part of my life, I have always harboured an inexplicable but very common contempt for Sydney. Despite having only visited the city a handful of times, and despite having never had a particularly negative experience there, I was certain of its being an inferior and overrated place. It was in this mind set that I arrived at Central station on a sunny (too sunny for denim!) Thursday morning.
My first couple of hours in Sydney seemed only to confirm my learned dislike. I spent most of the day getting lost- the streets weren’t as grid like as in Melbourne, and the bus routes were more winding and unpredictable than those of my usual trams. There was a painfully Australiana feel to the CBD (I swear it was practically painted yellow and gold), and my initial encounters with Sydney-siders were negative- upon asking for directions I was ignored or dismissed multiple times, with everyone apparently too pressed for time to help a tourist like myself.
All these doubts and dislike were washed away with a trip to Bondi. I don’t know if I was just feeling very beach deprived, but that famous stretch of sand seemed to work wonders on my mind, with everything suddenly, magically becoming okay.
The beach was quieter than I had seen on past visits. It was as though it had grown lazy with the cool weather. Yes, there were still tourists, but they added to the experience- British backpackers with blistering sunburn braving the winter water, a Chinese family clad in matching and unmissable lime green t-shirts, and then, of course, me, clueless, curious, and camera ready. There were also plenty of locals, going about their daily lives. I spent hours sitting on the beach, writing the stories of passers by- there was a girl on the edge of puberty, her hair long and her legs longer, skateboarding down the same stretch of street, like something out a 1970s Roxy commercial, all brown in a pair of denim cut offs. Then there were the men in speedos, taut, tanned, but silver-haired, taking their daily swim at the Bondi Icebergs.
Bondi beach and the people watching it provided was enough to reverse much of the negativity I had initially directed at Sydney. After that day trip and that view of the sea, public transport was easily navigated, people weren’t mean just busy, and my holiday was a whole lot more enjoyable.
Of course, I wasn’t really in there to see the city. I was there to visit my ex-housemate and good friend, Angie. She lived in a cute little terrace house in Glebe, with three boys and the steepest staircase I have ever seen. Together we ventured up into the Blue Mountains for a weekend getaway. More on that soon…
All the love,