Amy Becomes a Bondi Girl

Trip Start Mar 08, 2011
Trip End Jun 11, 2011

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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Monday, May 23, 2011

It's Monday morning and one of my favorite parts of our trip is that I don’t hate Sunday nights and love Monday mornings because it’s always a new adventure! Today the weather was just as spectacular as the previous two, sunny and mild in the '60s F I’d say.  We didn’t have specific plans but did have an idea of what we wanted to see so we didn’t want to sleep in all that late.  We all met in the lobby and headed towards the Sydney Botanical Gardens but first stopped for breakfast along Hyde Park (not the same super cute café as the previous day but an equally cute deli).  One thing I’ve noticed here is how clean a city Sydney is – even in the heart of the Central Business District (or CBD to locals).  Even the little deli shops that I’m used to being dark and dirty in the cities in the States are bright, clean and serve fresh food (for an equally superior price I may add). 

Anyway, after breakfast we walk across the CBD to the Botanical Gardens and it’s quite a walk through the central shopping area where it’s killing me not to stop but with 3 guys in tow that’s unlikely!  At the entrance to the Gardens there is a visitor kiosk with the nicest ladies who give us a map and some suggestions for a good route to follow that ends up at Mrs Macquires point and chair for a spectacular view of the city.  We also read the rules on our way and Adam notices that you’re encouraged to hug the trees – this is an interactive Botanical Garden!  And that’s all the encouragement that we needed to have fun exploring the unique flora and fauna in this region of the world.  We were spooked by a few large looking spiders but otherwise no other encounters with any wildlife. 

We finally made it to the point and did enjoy the fantastic view of the Circular Quay, Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge.  We were also fascinated by all the locals out and about during the day enjoying the weather and exercising.  There were circuit training groups, runners, walkers, the works.  It turns out moving around outside is encouraged here and most folks were on their lunch breaks.  So cool!  I thought about how in the U.S. some days we don’t even eat lunch and what a different lifestyle it is out here.  The wonderful weather didn’t hurt either!  We headed from the viewpoint in the Gardens towards the Opera House along the pathway to enjoy the weather and give Adam the chance for some photos of the Opera House.  Contrary to what Dave thinks, I really enjoyed its architectural uniqueness and found it just as interesting up close as far away.  Everywhere you turn there’s a new corner or reflection that you can see in it.  Unfortunately the theater was dark the week we were in Sydney, otherwise the only thing better than seeing it so much up close and far away would have been enjoying a live performance in the theater. 

We had information about a bike ride tour that Lonely Planet recommended as a fun activity in Sydney, so we walked around Circular Quay to an area called the Rocks where the bike tour office is located.  The Rocks is the oldest section of Sydney with cute cobblestone streets and row houses turned into businesses, pubs and cafes.  We located the bike tour office but then see that they don’t run any tours on Mondays.  Fail!  The gentleman in the bike tour office was really nice and turns out he’s from Louisiana helping his brother with this new business.  He gives us some advice for an alternate afternoon, taking the bus to Bondi Beach a popular surfing beach for sunset.  We also decided against the bike tour as we got more details about the price and itinerary and for the amount they charge and the fact we’ve seen most of the highlights (or plan to), we decide to pass.  We will, however, take his advice and head out to Bondi Beach with a stop at the ice cream shop first, of course. 

We walk back over to Circular Quay and get tickets for the local bus through town to Bondi Beach.  Bondi is one of the best beaches in Sydney and is arguably the most popular surfing beach around.  The bus ride is about 45 minutes and takes us through the city to the Southeast side so we get a little tour of Paddington and some other neighborhoods we hadn’t seen yet.  We hop off at Bondi and feel like we’re in another town, a beach town.  The streets are lined with little cafes and surf shops while the perimeter is lined with glass houses up and down the rocky coast.  It all surrounds the beautiful Bondi with it’s perfect sand and blue waves.  Unfortunately, it’s a bit chilly today so all we were up for was a fully-dressed walk on the beach and a quick toe-dip into the water which was freezing.  There was a long walking path along the coast so we took it up and down the rocks along the coast to another few beaches further south.  They were all beautiful and we got to watch the surfers in action, although I’m not sure who is out practicing at 3pm on a Monday in wintertime here! 

After walking quite a ways we notice the sunset is quickly approaching at like 4pm since it sets behind the city the other direction and start to make our way back to the beach.  Along the way we pass an interesting looking place called Icebergs that boasts a bar and restaurant and also a private club and huge swimming pool right up next to the ocean.  We head inside for a happy hour and we have to register as guests in the club.  Once we give all our details and information we’re allowed in to order a drink at the bar.  We enjoy cocktails with a spectacular view of Bondi Beach at sunset.

Although it’s a bit early we head back to the town part of the beach to look for an early dinner.  As soon as the sun sets the wind picks up and it’s really chilly.  We walk up and down the main street looking for a restaurant we can all agree on for dinner which takes some time.  We eventually find an Italian place that’s recommended in Adam’s book and even though it’s BYO and we don’t have anything to bring, we decide to give it a go.  All three boys get pizza and I order a salad and pasta with prawns.  It was all delicious and one of our best meals here.  You can tell that all the ingredients are handmade and it’s a super local joint with local folks coming in and out all evening.  Stuffed from dinner we start to head to the bus stop to try to figure out how to get back to the hotel when the exact bus we need stops.  We make a run for it (although Adam preferred not to run and catch the next one) and make it just in time to enjoy a toasty ride back to the CBD and our hotel.  We decided to have a night in so we stopped at a bottle shop (what they call liquor/wine stores here) for some drinks to enjoy in the room together while updating the blog.  Not exactly an action-packed evening but after a day on the windy beach it was quite nice!
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