Monday, August 17, 2015

Hello, Sydney!

We knew Sydney would be great, but we were surprised at the size and pace of this beautiful city. Our commute from the airport to the hotel turned out to be a little more complicated than we expected. After three train transfers with luggage in hand we finally arrived at our hotel and were thrilled with the location! Not only was the location great, but we were greeted by a very friendly staff, which we are quickly learning is the Australian way. We are a three- minute walk from Darling Harbor so we had to check it out right away. You wouldn’t believe all the restaurants along the harbor walk!

The locals suggested that we check out Paddy’s Market so we just had to do it. The market was filled
with all kinds of souvenirs and food. It made Soulard Market look very small. We both agreed that this would be a must-see for the girls and they would probably want to spend hours there. It was a beautiful, sunny, winter day so we decided to walk around the Chinese Garden. This was a nice relaxing break from the busy city life. We ended the day at St. Mary’s Cathedral for the evening youth Mass. We thought the girls might enjoy this.

We saw these bright red double decker buses
going around the city so we decided to do a little research. They were sight seeing buses that took tourists all over Sydney. We bought tickets and throughout the day we had easy transportation and great photo opps. This was also a great way for us to take inventory of all the attractions and decide what the girls might enjoy. One of the routes included an excursion to Bondi Beach. At this point we were willing to do anything to get warm! There was no doubt in our minds that the girls would enjoy watching the many surfers in the water. When our tour ended it was clear to us that it was really a RUSH hour as we noticed hundreds of people waiting to get on buses.

We knew our time here in Sydney was limited so we decided to split up for a little bit. While Mrs.
Mullen went on the Harbor Bridge climb, Mr. Smith had to entertain himself for three and a half hours. The bridge climb was a great experience and Mrs. Mullen was so glad that she did it. It was exhilarating to see the entire city from such heights. Mr. Smith decided to tour the Sydney Opera House, but sadly they weren’t holding any auditions. Once we met up once again it was time to eat and the server convinced us to try the local delicacy. And so we thought about the saying “When in Rome…” and we looked at each other and said “When in Australia…” And so….we ate kangaroo pizza. We agreed that we won’t be requesting it in the UA cafeteria, but it was a good local experience. Our night ended with great shopping.

As it turned out our trip on the big red bus included a second day that was a tour on the water. We
made several stops throughout Sydney Harbor, but the highlight was Watson’s Bay. Doyle’s Restaurant came highly recommended. If you like seafood, this is the place for you. You should have seen Mr. Smith’s face while Mrs. Mullen was peeling off the shrimp heads and enjoying every bite of it. Just when we thought we couldn’t take any more great pictures, we walked up a path to some beautiful views of the cliffs on the Ocean.

This trip has been better than we could have ever
imagined. Time and again we commented to each other about how friendly, hospitable and genuinely happy everyone seems here. We have some great ideas for activities with the students and enjoyed our visit with our new friends at St. Ursula’s college. We can’t wait to bring our students here next time. The Australians have taught us well. Our flight home is a bit delayed and we know there is a great deal of work to be done to start the school year on Monday, but both of us looked at each other and said, “No worries.”
-Mike Smith and Joni Mullen

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