Good morning Sydney

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Here I am. Not in New Zealand anymore. But at least not at home already. I arrived at my first 3 weeks stopover in Sydney and will sooner or later travel up to Brisbane. But for now I am still here in Sydney and enjoying the good sunny “winter” weather and the nice atmosphere of this town. It is so far the most enjoyable town I ever have been to. So enjoy reading and also have a look at those nice pictures. It is even better then it looks.

 

leaving a lot behind - 2.8.2012

I got up early. I had to, cause my backpack was still empty, all my cloth lying everywhere around in the room, my apartment not really tidy my package with stuff to Germany not on its way and my Kiwi Bank account not closed. Enough to do to not have breakfast. Additional to that the work related typical daily calls from some of the branch offices and taking care of Teddy. All that kept me busy for a while and distracted quite good from the sad mood I was in. But I didn’t had to to stress myself out too much cause my flight leaves at 4pm.

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After a while I worked through all may tasks and Dianne came back from work so I left in her nice new red golf and raced it this time at least a bit through all curves on my way down to the Albany Mall. Its such a fun driving, it has nice seats with sides that fit you very well and keeps you in the seat even with too much velocity in the curves. And the 200hp engine delivers the necessary power to accelerate in a jiff. Last time I drove with Dianne and John down to Albany for dinner and they said the whole time now push the pedal really hard but I was too responsible that night and kept it within the speed limits. This time I may didn’t and it was good fun.

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I arrived in the mall and out of the sudden, way too late, Damned, I didn’t buy any New Zealand gifts for my family. Unfortunately I didn’t buy any in the end at all. Everything they had in the shop seemed to be to crappy or to expensive. So, I’m very sorry for that and promise next time I will bring something with me. Now I had to hurry up, it was already 11:30am and we had to leave home around 1pm to be early enough at the airport for an international flight. At the bank counter they told me I have to fill out a form to transfer the residuary money or do it online. So I went to their pcs, called the bank to find out my access number and filled out the online form to transfer the money. There is always a 20 NZD fee on it but I thought they deduct it from my money I plan to transfer. But they didn’t, I pressed yes and continue so far and so on and in the end got an error. The money gone but not onto my German account. So I had to call and talk pretty long to a bank employee to cancel the transaction to do it via internet a hour later again. So I didn’t close my account but wasted heaps of time. At least I sent my package for 110 NZD (5.5kg) on the slowest/cheapest possible way. Mom and Dad pleas let me know when it arrived. I hurried up and raced home. Now John was there already and surprised me with a cool NZ sweater. With the tip to not wear it in Aussie.

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Both where leaving also that day to Lake Tarawera. Happy coincidence so they where able to drop me of at the airport. They where always may or may not joking around that they just drop me in Albany Town. Haha, good on me I didn’t had to get from there to the Airport by myself. So they had to pack their stuff to, Dianne was busy cooking some meals for Jordan while they are gone and I cleaned up the apartment and finally finished packing my backpack and daypack. And then we already had to leave. We threw Teddy into the trunk and squished all the baggage of all of us into the car. Good that we took the Q7. I said goodbye to this awesome place and house here where I had such a great time. Close to getting some wee wee in my eyes we passed by Albany onto the motorway heading to my last stop in NZ. Dianne tried like always to change the topic or tried to distract me or also praised the future Smiley. Its so funny often at dinners she feels the need to do it to get away from some dodgy or improper topics. She is well trained doing that but this time it didn’t work out too well for me this time.

Then just n time the ride for me was over and I also had to say goodbye to them too. I was sooo sad. And after a hug they had to continue to Tarawera and I had a flight to catch. So I did all the airport stuff and shortened the waiting time by snatching all the NZ coins out of my wallet to spend them for this nasty KFC food. When I finished my coins I found out that a 5 $ note tried to hide from being spend. But I used it in the end on Subway cookies and ice cream. And then the time came and went and I had to enter already my plane and leave my most favorite country. *howl*.

The flight

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I flew with Jetstar so I had no video on demand, free food or drinks so the only thing to get my thoughts away was to close with this year writing my last blog article about NZ and kept me indulged in memory's. So the 3 hours flight time flew by and I arrived in Sydney. Of course I sit on the wrong side of the plane to have a good view over the Town but the other side of it wasn’t too bad either. All those nice bays the water surrounding and piercing the town everywhere made it already from far up an appealing and promising city.

First Impressions of Sydney

I left 4pm flew for 3 hours but arrived 5pm. Thanks to time zones for that. Still upset about leaving I had to accept the fact that it is how it has to be. And when I arrived at this new airport the excitement about a new country to visit, I haven’t been in before made everything a bit more bearable. But I'm still sad, though. After calling the hostel to organize my pickup and a short period of waiting I was picked up for free by a shuttle service. I used the waiting time meaningful by already buying a new sim card. This time even with 500meg data and more free minutes I possible need even to phone home. But also more expensive then my good old supa prepay in NZ. The shuttle driver was quite talkative and I caught the first Info's where to go to and that Kings Cross is a bit crazy but not too crazy. Everybody in Sydney was making me a bit nervous about that. And everything about the hookers, weird people and adult shops, strip clubs and transvestites is true, but actually not too bad.

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So I checked in at the Jolly Swagman Hostel in Kings Cross in one of the back alleys. There are heaps of hostels around here and my first impression of it wasn’t the best one. The hostel itself not as good as any I’ve been to in NZ. Not as nice, not as cheap, not as clean. I should have shot some pictures of the mattress. I was happy when I flipped it around and at least had a almost stainless side to put some sheets on.  I wasn’t quite sure if I checked into the right hostel. But too late to change anything about it. And in the end it is altogether good enough to stay here for a while. The other folks here are nice and my room neighbors very nice. They also offer every day some activities daytime/nighttime and usually cheap food from somewhere nearby. And Sydney at night looked already stunning. So all good right now.

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I went a bit around in Kings Cross and had dinner at a thai food takeaway shop advised by my hostel where they should have cheap food for 5AUD. Cheap? That’s fuckin expensive compared to NZ. Damned Australia will rip me of. And in the end it wasn’t even 5AUD it was 7.5AUD (compared to NZ and bare in mind that the € sucks at the moment it is expensive) but at least I’ve got the lunch deal. And the food wasn’t too bad either. After that I went back to the hostel to have a chat with my roommates and fall asleep. The night was pretty bad. I was warned to get two additional blankets cause it gets very cold at night but I didn’t want to listen and just got one additional one. And it was definitely not enough. I froze badly that first night and thought the whole night directly in the morning I will get another one.

First day in Sydney – Manly - 3.8.2012

IMG_0095I spent the first day mainly in Manly, haha. Month ago some guys on a camping ground in NZ recommended this trip and the coastal walk there. Moritz one of my roommates wanted to join so we did the whole thing together. But to start it we first had to get there. We took some trains through the City to Circle Quai and did a short sightseeing stop there. Moritz had to apply for some jobs and I had to directly go to the Opera House to take pictures to keep it at place number one of the most photographed buildings on the southern hemisphere.

 

 

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IMG_0116It is weird when you always see places like this in the TV every new years eve or Olympia and finally arrive there on your own. Its cool. Really cool. Then we met again to catch the ferry right away to Manly. The views of the the harbor where lovely. So I took heaps of more pictures of the Harbor Bridge, CBD and the Opera. After we arrived in Manly we first went into a surf shop cause Moritz panned to by a board. He chatted a while with the sales person about fish and the pros and cons of e-polyx and fiber glass … Then it was over Smiley and he bought the board but left it in the shop to pick it up the day after. So we where ready to approach the walk.

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But first we went to Manly beach for a walk, had the recommend fish and chips form the main street and passed the Aldi again to finally start the 3h walk. Yes Aldi, they have Aldi here. The vegetation and the tracks here are similar but not the same. Everything looks a bit dryer less green and just a bit more tropical with trees with leafs looking like the ones from banana plants. We passed some cool small cliffs always close to the coast and some nice beaches with stunning houses with a mean view. The walk took us pretty long and I went almost dark when we finished it. But it was worth it and made a very good impression on me. Sydney 1 Auckland 0.9 Smiley. We walked up to the end of the track and got the bus back to the center and the train back to the hostel.

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IMG_0138We where right on time to grab each two free sizzling sausages from the hostel grill. Later that evening I went out with some guys from the Hostel to do barhopping. Including some drinks for free. I didn’t spend any money that night. Awesome. Especially liquor is ridiculous expensive. And I thought NZ is bad. But here you pay per bottle beer 3.5AUD round about 3.2€. And not in a club. In a normal shop. So I try pretty much to not waste my money on that. Also the hostels itself here are for 30$ a night. so round about 27€. In New Zealand it was always just around 14€. Especially looking forward to the Malaysian/Thailand prices. Anyway, the first club was nice, good music and a lot of fit girls. The second one sucked. But just because of the music.

That night after I went home pretty late I damaged my sd card. or to be more precise one corner of the card was almost ripped of, and before I got glue on it to fix it it fall off. And it is funny it was exactly the edge which tells the card reader a card is in there. A lot of tries with and without the help of some magical paper to emulate the missing bit was successful and I got all my pictures off it. Yippee. But it also meant I have to buy a new sd card directly in the morning.

Bondi Beach - 4.8.2012

IMG_0161The really good thing about this Hostel is that you get a simple breakfast for free. But only when you are there early enough. Between 7am and 9:30am, But that specific morning I went there too late. Too late for breakfast. It is just some toast with jam or cereals with milk but better than nothing. So I started without it. Seemingly I adopted pretty fast to the changed time.

In the morning I went into the first appearing electronic supplier to get a replacement sd card to straight continue on taking more pictures of this beautiful town. I took the bus to Bondi Beach but hopped of in between in Paddington. I passed this market I read about in the Lonely Planet and thought I should have a look. They sell there a lot of local produced art, food and cloth. Most of it quite nice, but not affordable and not really practical in a backpack.

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I hopped back into the bus again and continued to drive up to Bondi Beach, walked a bit around the shopping alley and turned down to the Beach itself. Actually that day I planned to do another walk almost as long as the one from the day before. But I was too lazy and just did the one from Bondi Beach to Bronte Beach. The track itself is good and the views nice but Bondi Beach not too nice. The ones on the way where way nicer and less within city like. At Bronte beach that day where a lot of guys in skirts and dresses playing a game with a football. It looked hilarious. I guess it had to do with a bachelors party. At least that’s what I hope. The path follows the shoreline on the cliffs and passes some cool swimming pools reaching almost into the water. Public ones even. Cool aye.

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The weather was very sunny, the bays beautiful, and seemingly good surfer waves .… Good fun watching them. And watching the hot chicks all around. This town is stuffed with them. Don’t know if it is in their genes or if it the weather and all the sports they seem to do. It is amazing, I haven’t ever been into a town with that many beautiful people people, especially the girls. It’s crazy such hot fit girls everywhere. I guess I’ll get very soon problems with my neck because of too much turning.

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From Bronte I took the next best Bus to Central Station. From there I did my normal procedure walking randomly in the direction of the harbor and passed by doing that little china town, the event area for concerts, shopping malls, wonderful Darling Harbor with the monorail, the Skytower, and in the end to the harbor with the Opera. Altogether a beautiful walk and a nice day. From there I try to take the bus home. At least you see something driving. But It took me a while to figure out the bus to Kings Cross is not using the bus stop I was waiting at for half an hour.

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While waiting Moritz called if we wanna cook something. He bought some food already. Sweat, so back in the hostel we cooked Bouletten and defrost and baked some weird frozen bread. Altogether in the end not too bad. He was pretty proud of our dinner, haha. We ate, he discussed with a friend if or not we meet them some where, in the end we did, drove to Central back again and met them there. The bar there was crap and we decided to go back to Kings Cross and meet with the other guys of our hostel to go to a Irish pub. Instead of taking the direct way there we did heaps of detours, wrong trains ... and in the end it took us more than an hour to get back where we came from to Kings Cross which should have taken us 15 minutes. But in the end we met the other guys in the pub and drank and danced with live music. It was good fun that night.
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Discovering the other side of the town - 5.8.2012

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I desperately wanted to do the walk over the Harbor Bridge so that was the right day today. Weather like always, even in winter absolutely sunny and warm. So I drove over the other side of the town to a station after North Sydney. I got out one too late. But no worries even more to see on my way back to the bridge and over the bridge. By accident I’ve found a neat park or reserve called Balls Point.

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IMG_0308Again a nice walk and a very good view on the town. Then suddenly the track ends and I had to take the ferry over to the other side of the bay. Its easy and works like the normal public transport system. I bought a full week ticket for all public transport vehicles for 42AUD. No matter if train, bus or boat. Its all included for the whole week. So by using the ship I arrived at Luna Park/Coney Island which is a small amusement park almost underneath the Harbor Bridge. I had a look around what rides they have there and of course didn’t ride one.

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Even if I would have been keen to ride one I wouldn’t have just because its just so expensive. I continued to walk around the northern part of the town around the Harbor bridge and then turned onto it. It is so huge. I’m not quite sure but in my impression even bigger than the Brooklyn Bridge. Anyway I’ve got some more pictures from another perspective of the Opera. Way too many. I ended up again in The Rocks, but this time at daytime. So a market was going on there this time selling similar stuff they sold in Paddington and I afforded a cooked corncob there for 5AUD. But it was good with butter, salt, pepper and chili sauce. Yummy.

 

 

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IMG_0332I also bought now my Greyhound bus ticket to get to Brisbane. Or in fact to the Gold Coast. Another 146AUD spent. The bucks go faster than they should go. But at least I am flexible and can hop on and off anywhere and go as fast as I want to up there. Even though Sydney is so nice and I actually could imagine to live here I am Interested how it is out of this town.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0348Then I strolled back into town and through the city center again. They have so nice shops here, Burberry in a flash building and Apple in e really good location as well of course. Here you can really see how good the economy is right now. But all this just because of the chinese buying all assests here which will stricke back in the end and will bite Australia in their ass. But anyway, from there I went back by bus to Kings Cross to see more weirdoes on the street, went grocery shopping and back to the hostel to cook some cheap Indian food. wasn’t too god to be honest. Maybe because it was vegetarian with paneer cheese. Haha. Unfortunately I have leftovers to finish the next day.

IMG_0336A great day full of art – Cockatoo Island - 6.6.2012

IMG_0376IMG_0419After breakfast I walked down to the Circle Quay and took the ferry over to this nice little island. Soon is the biennale here in Sydney. And some boats are for free for example and also the exhibition which is already on the island is for free now. Sweet. Actually this island was used for different purposes. For loading and unloading goods, producing weapons, even as a prison. They have their own power plant on there and heaps of other interesting stuff containing some tunnels … And now everything is plastered with arty stuff. Some of it really awesome.

 

 

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IMG_0414I arrived on Cockatoo Island with many, many other tourists. But it is quite big to at least loose everybody within minutes. I first went through the tunnels with nice illuminated little guy dolls and then through heaps of fabric buildings all original looking industrial, almost steam punk like and stuffed with art. Some of it really cool. Just to mention e.g. the jellyfish like creatures hanging that start to get illuminated when you touch specific spots or pull slightly a string. Some of them even move their fern like arms and make nice sounds. It was pretty cool. Also the wind chime areal with hundreds of them hanging outside in a building without a roof. The video is pretty neat but for now the picture have to be enough for now. And there was pretty more cool stuff on this island. Definitely a must visit whenever you will be next time here in Sydney.

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Very nice was also the small lunch I had on the grass patch looking towards the CBD just before leaving the Island. I took the ferry which didn’t drive the direct way. So I at least see more nice spots of this town I haven’t been too.

But in the end I ended up at Circular Quay anyway and because I didn’t had enough of art this day I went to the Contemporary Art Gallery. Not as good as the Island but alright for free.

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So that’s so far from here out of the possibly most enjoyable city of the world. But actually not even close as laid back than Auckland and NZ in general was. Maybe it will be a bit different out of town. If not at least it may helps adapting back to the German high pressure time is valuable mentality (but only in money manners and not personal quality time).

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