Ok, bear with me folks - this is a LONG POST. So if nothing else, please at least look at the pictures!
I LOVE THIS CITY. It's the most beautiful, green, clean, friendly, wonderful city in the WORLD. EVER. The last four days have been absolutely perfect and I'm really looking forward to spending even more time in this amazing place!
We arrived at the Big Hostel on Friday afternoon and settled into our rooms. Mine is super comfortable - it has AC, a tiny TV, and 2 of the 5 beds are full sized mattresses instead of twins! I'm rooming with Lisa, Jocelyn, Coop, and Helen, and it's so fun! We went out the first night to a couple clubs, and apparently traveling as a group of 13 attractive girls means that you get free drinks from the club promoters. Crazy!! We saw a really great live band at the second bar and they were really nice. It felt like Warped Tour but underground!
Photo with the band:
Saturday was basically just an exploring and shopping day. We walked along the main street and I bought four dresses! YAY! We also went to some outdoor markets in The Rocks, which is the neighboorhood across from the Opera House.
The Opera House! IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL! And it's not bright white - more like a light tan color
Super delicious feta, spinach, and chicken turkish meal:
Under "The Rocks" sign:
The Rocks market:
Christmas stuff! I'M ALREADY SO EXCITED!
Just because I love this picture, and because I want to show off one my new dresses (P.S. Don't worry dad, that's a lemonade - aka Sprite - in my hand):
On Sunday we to the ferry to Manly Beach (haha funny name!) and walked along the coast, just looking at the harbor and all the beautiful houses. We also went to the beach briefly and just took in the sights. I met a really sweet couple on the ferry ride over - the woman was Taiwanese and her husband was Australia. Mom and Dad, they kind of reminded me of you two! They were really feisty and told me all about the sights from the ferry so I could orient myself and learn a little of the history.
Delicious sweet corn we had for brunch:
Photos from the ferry ride:
Snuffling little pig-dog! He was adorable and SO UGLYYYYY!
Photos from our walk around Manly Beach:
On Monday, we went to the Australia Museum in the morning and learned about Aboriginal history. I thought it was a pretty tame exhibit - there wasn't much condemnation of all the terrible atrocities committed against Aboriginals, and I think we were supposed to see how Australians choose to view this issue so we can better understand the challenges that Aboriginals still face.
There was also a wonderful dinosaur exhibit! YAY! And lots of crazy Australian animals were featured. Here's an Aboriginal interpretation of the three wise men (left) and the last supper (right):
Lisa posing with some tiny flying mice!
Piggy-back rides by the Goana:
Posing like dinosaurs:
And then of course, Monday night we had BING DINNER! It was super delicious and beautiful! We ate a restaurant right next to the Opera house and had 3 courses, with wine included and lots of fabulous conversation. Everyone looked amazing! We took lots of photos, ate dinner, then moseyed over to see the ballet Concord at the Sydney Opera House. That's right, Bing Dinner included a show at the Sydney Opera House!!!!! Unfortunately, we were about 5 minutes LATE so we had to wait outside for about 45 minutes. There was a huge thunderstorm going on at the same time, so we all went outside and admired the beautiful sunset west over the city, and the thunderstorm east over the harbor. It was truly magical and I still can't believe so many beautiful things were happening at once. I AM SO BLESSED!
Lisa and me (here's another of my new dresses!):
New Zealand crowd (we're signing "Love NZ"):
All the ladies in front of the Harbor Bridge:
The 12 men, being manly men:
The proposal I've been planning my whole life:
Eric in the sunset:
Evan and me:
Concord! This is the ballet we saw, and I really liked it!
Night photos of the city - we ended up walking out over the Harbor Bridge after the show and Sydney is just as beautiful at night as it is during the day!