December 7th, 2016
I headed out with my backpack. The trip out of the city centre to Bondi Beach is easy, even if it takes an hour. A train and a bus, both frequent and easy to spot. I arrived about nine and ate a late breakfast of croissants on the sand.
My next stop was up a path on one side of the beach. Bondi Iceberg Pool rests among the rocks on the edge of the beach. It’s a fantastic saltwater pool. That morning a number of people were using it for laps and the smaller pool was booked by a school for swimming lessons. I floated about, made an attempt at something that could be called a breaststroke and admired the fist-sized crabs that made their way around the edge of the pool. Occasionally a wave broke over the side.
The path along the beach is decorated with all kinds of murals. After a stroll along it I hate a picnic at the top of a hill, under the shade of a tree, watching the surf and various kinds of people enjoying a Wednesday afternoon.
I headed back to Sydney after lunch to relax in the Royal Botanic Garden. Many people stroll the paths, relax in their lunch hour and nap under the trees. I explored the paths, read a book and lied back under a large tree. It’s wonderful to see how many people, tourists and locals, can use the green spaces in Sydney to take a break in. A Christmas office party broke out champagne on one lawn. A mother and father held their daughter’s hands and pointed at interesting plants. One man sat on a bench and watched people go by for hours.
The garden has a small tour bus, the kind hooked up like a train, that drives the paths. The driver manages an engaging tone every time she tells the passengers about the lawns, the wishing tree and the history in the exact same words she used the last five times the bus rolled by. Props to her.
There are some fun facts around the gardens. My favourite being…
‘The first Gingerbread men were created by imperial command! England’s Queen Elizabeth I had ginger biscuits made in the likeness of important guests and her favourite suitors. Decorated with gold-leaf, they were devoured at royal banquets’.
Statues can also be found in the garden. My favourite are four that stand on each corner of a staircase, representing the four seasons.
It was a very relaxing day and when I caught sight of myself in the airport bathroom mirror that evening I learned a very important lesson. The Australian sun is HOT. Reapply your sun block every two hours. Every. Two. Hours. (ouch).
Sydney was an amazing three-day adventure. The tense, busy feeling of so many well-dressed people crammed between towering buildings dissipates immediately in the many beautiful gardens. There’s a beach culture barely an hour away by public transport. Even if you don’t have a reason to cross the river I highly suggest you take the ferry for a spin. You’ll get some great shots of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Catch a show in the Opera House. They do everything from acrobatics to opera and much of it is child-friendly.
If anyone wants to share their own experience in Sydney, make suggestions or post about another place I’d love to hear it through the ‘contact’ section.