Our flight from Cairns to Sydney was the longest out of all of them but Qantas definitely made it an easy flight with a full meal and personal screens for all the seats. I am going to be miserable on my flight back with United without those screens. When we got to Sydney we once again took a shuttle to our hotel which was in a great location right behind The Rocks part of the city and within walking distance of just about everywhere. Our room was once again very very nice and it had an absolutely stunning view of the Bay Harbor Bridge and Sydney Opera House. This view was one of those where you just have to smile and think to yourself what an amazing opportunity traveling is. We got into Sydney a bit late and none of us were all that hungry but we did a little bit of night exploring around The Rocks area, which is where all the convicts who helped settle Sydney lived way back in the day. The buildings were all very old and housed restaurants, pubs, and hotels galore. Quite on accident we came across the harbor which we walked down for a bit across from the Sydney Opera House and (fairly close) to the base of the Bay Harbor Bridge. It was a great night to be out and for those two landmarks lit up at night to be the first things that we saw was a great way to start our stay in Sydney.
We woke up the next morning to… you guessed it!… another tour shuttle waiting for us outside the hotel. This would prove to be unlike any of the tours we had gone on previously though as we were the only ones who would be going. Our guide was extremely friendly and knowledgable about the city as she drove us around pointing out historical landmarks, her favorite bars, and other interesting places in and around Sydney. She took us all over the place and talked so quickly that it was sometimes easier to just look out the window aimlessly than to try and keep up with the conversation. Lunch was at a famous pie place along the harbor and she took us to great photo opportunities along the bay, beach, and coast. The only slight downside was that we were getting to see all these awesome places but had no time to stay and explore ourselves but I did what I could to take note of where we went so I could go back. After our guide dropped us off we did a quick dinner and beer stop before heading back to the hotel. Knowing that we would have an early morning the next day for our tour of the Blue Mountains we all just kind of lazied around the hotel room and relaxed before going to bed.
The start of my second to last day in Sydney and with my parents got off to bumpy start. The weather was shit, our shuttle arrived half an hour before it was supposed to, we ended up sitting in the shuttle for that half hour while we waited for other people to show up, and then got caught in Sydney traffic and construction while trying to make it to the Blue Mountains. Once we did get to our destination it was only long enough for people to grab their prepaid lunches from a restaurant and speed walk up the main street of the town. We moved on shortly after that and when we got to Echo Point where the Three Sisters view point was it was still so bleak and cloudy that you couldn’t see anything so we continued on to a Scenic World, where we would spend most of the day. Since the weather was still too bad to get any good pictures and we didn’t want to spend the extra money to go down into the valley on the train or skyrail we were the first ones to hit up the lunch buffet. It was great and we waited out the weather accompanied by steak, fish, rice, couscous, and all the KoolAid you could drink. Yes, KoolAid. Our scheme to finally get a good view of the valley mostly paid off and only a few short minutes after we left lunch the sky cleared up. The Three Sisters were a bit further away now but it was still a beautiful sight. After an attempt to go down to the valley was cut short by an extremely muddy trail it was getting close to the time we needed to get back onto the bus. The ride back to Sydney was just as awful as the ride up and what was supposed to be a leisurely tour of the Olympic grounds turned into a speedy trip past the main stadium so the tour could get to the ferry on time. Since it is a necessity to take a ferry across the harbor while you are in Sydney we bought a ticket and took our seats along the railing on the top deck. It would had been a lovely experience if not for everyone who DIDN’T get a seat along the railing on the top deck standing in front of us to try and get a picture. I’m sorry hun, but you are an overweight ginger and whether there is a lot of wind or not there is no amount of pictures in this would that could make you look attractive. Now get out of my way so I can find which harbor-side mansion I will have as my summer home. Thanks. The ferry dropped us off in Darling Harbor where we continued a time tested family tradition of going to any Hard Rock that is convenient for us to go to. The meal was great and we sat outside overlooking the harbor as it went from the bustle of late afternoon to the more relaxed night life. It was our last meal together so that definitely gave it a certain atmosphere and afterwards we all walked back across the city to our hotel. The packing extravaganza began when we got back and even I was a bit startled at how easier it had been to pack at the beginning of the trip than it was at the end. I took one last look out to the Sydney Opera House and Bay Harbor Bridge and called it a night.
Our check out being pushed very far back, our morning was extremely lazy. We bought internet, had breakfast, and finished packing before dropping our bags at the front desk and going to walk around the city. We actually did a pretty nice walk through the business district, into the botanical gardens, around the harbor, past the Sydney Opera House, and back up through The Rocks district. We stopped to have one final lunch together next to the harbor before going back to the hotel so I could catch my shuttle. My flight was a few hours before my parents’ so we had to say goodbye in the hotel lobby. It was a lot harder than saying goodbye in Cincinnati was. The shuttle to the airport, checking in, getting some food, and finding my terminal all went incredibly smoothly and everything was going perfectly (they had even announced the plane to prepare for boarding!) until we were informed inclement weather in Melbourne was preventing the flight from leaving. Cue the mad scramble to get your seat back. It was this mad scramble that had me sitting next to a very unfortunate soul who thought it was socially acceptable to sit there for twenty minutes filing her nails. Bitch, please. I can understand doing each nail once but when you start on your thumb for the third time I have had enough. The look on her face was priceless when I asked her to stop and when she got offended and asked me why she should stop I had to fight the urge to tell her that accidents happen and people get thrown into jet engines sometimes. When we did finallllllly get on the plane we were informed that it would be another twenty minute wait because they had lost necessary paperwork for takeoff and had to get it sent over. You’ve got to be kidding me. The Asian man in front of me was farting out whatever awful concoction of rice and raw fish he had had for lunch, the guy sitting next to me was a bit creepy and had no sense of personal space, and my patience was just about at its end when the plane at last started moving. But wait, there’s more! About twenty minutes into what is supposed to be an hour and a half flight the pilot bings on tells us that we are flying in a huge circle waiting for Melbourne air control to give us the okay to proceed. Cue Asian man farting. Twenty minutes later and one huge circle done, the captain bings on again to tell us we are going into another huge circle. aiubegpqr3yugn2asdanfientbu;enjrg;ieqjrng’eo;jnb;eoajnrget’o;bjn’g. After two hours and fifteen minutes I step off the plane into the Melbourne airport. Fresh air and room to raise my elbow never felt so good. I caught the bus and train back to my place and got the pleasure of meeting Natalia, who is another exchange student I had been in contact with for a few days, for a few hours over in my apartment building before going to bed.
To Mom and Dad, thank you so incredibly much for letting me join you on your travels across Australia. I know we got a bit annoyed with each other at some points, but it was a great experience that I would do again in a heartbeat. I am so happy to have gotten the opportunity to see you and travel with you. I hope you enjoyed the trip as much as I did! 🙂