Picking up where I left off in the previous post, I was given a lift to my accommodation in Glebe, a western suburb of Sydney (thanks, Bob!). Driving through the city was a great way to see my new home, especially the suburbs popular with students, mainly for the cheap food! The weather was fantastic; the sky was completely clear and was a light shade of blue with the sun shining, providing a pleasant contrast to the grey skies I had left at home. I found it interesting seeing the various buildings, which all seemed to have a colonial architectural style, something not seen within the UK.
Even with the morning traffic, I arrived at my accommodation in the morning, which meant that I could sign in straight away and move my luggage into my room. Once everyone had left, I had a sudden realisation that I was all by myself. However, thanks to Facebook I’m always a message away from my family, so even though I was alone, I was not lonely.
The student accommodation that I am living in is a very nice place to stay in, including a gym and laundrette, but one downside of it was that no bedding or kitchen equipment were provided. As it was early morning, the shops had just opened, so I made my way down to the local shopping centre, Broadway, which was only a 5-minute walk down the road. The first major challenge for me was actually finding the place! I found it on Google Maps, but the actual entrance was hidden away, so I must have walked around the building at least two times before finally finding the entrance. I was also wearing jeans at the time, which was a bad choice considering the weather (with temperatures rising towards the late 20s), so when I got back to Glebe I instantly changed into shorts!
The rest of the day was spent making trips between home and Broadway. The short distance was very fortunate for me as it was physically impossible to get everything I needed in one trip. My bargain for the day was getting a 36 piece kitchen set for $35 from K-Mart! There was also an induction in the evening for new residents, and it was good to speak to other international students during this.
It had been a long day, but I aimed to stay up until 9:00 to beat the jet lag. I managed to do this by speaking to family and watching the Australian version of “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Outta Here!”. It’s strange because instead of being set in the Australian jungle, it’s somewhere in South Africa. Plus, the hosts don’t have the same comedic style as Ant and Dec, but I’ve grown to like them anyway!
I thought I’d beaten the jet lag, feeling slightly smug about it. However, when I woke up at 3:00 in the morning and couldn’t get back to sleep, I realised I hadn’t been successful as I had hoped. After trying to sleep and failing, I decided to wake up and start to organise things.
I had a free day so I made the choice to go full-on tourist and explore the city (although I did have to sort out a bank account in the morning). According to Google, it was only an hour walk to get to the Opera House, which didn’t sound too far so I decided to walk, as I thought I would see more of the city than if I took a bus. I also ditched the map and made my own way there so that I could feel more like I was exploring rather than following a preplanned route.
I knew which direction to travel in, so I walked past Sydney Central Station before turning off and soon finding myself in Chinatown! Not long after this, I was in Darling Harbour, one of the more touristy places in the city, filled with many restaurants overlooking the water.
Logically, I decided to follow the water, as I knew that this would eventually take me to Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. This took me through to the newest park in the city, Barangaroo Reserve, which provided a great view of the bridge. This route also took me through the Rocks, which is the oldest part of Sydney. There was a real contrast between the large, modern skyscrapers and the original buildings that colonists loved and worked in.
Finally, I ended up in the most tourist part of the city, Circulular Quay, as it is here where you can see both the bridge and the Opera House. This is also the main stop for all ferries and a docking point for cruise ships. I decided to leave the main path and found myself in the Royal Botanical Gardens, which were significantly less busy. From here, I walked around the back of the Opera House, another surprisingly quiet spot, where I saw a seal relaxing on the steps!
My feet were tired by this point, so instead of walking, I took the ferry back to Darling Harbour, which provided some pretty cool views of Sydney. After getting back into the Harbour, I found an Ibis, which I thought was exotic so I started taking photos of it. However, what I didn’t realise is that it’s actually a really common type of bird and I’d made a fool of myself! I also found the Chinese Garden of Friendship, which I’m going to explore at some point.
After walking back, I was so tired I pretty much just relaxed for the rest of the evening, watching more Australian TV and messaging family. I was still feeling the jet lag, but the effects were not as bad as the previous night.
The strange thing is, even after over three hours of walking, there is still so much of the city still left to explore!