Wonder Down Under – Sydney, Australia

Visiting Sydney for me was love on first sight: The views of the city like the Opera House, the Harbor Bridge and the harbor itself have few rivals around the world. And a chat to some locals in a coffee shop, restaurant, or anywhere, really, introduced me to some very relaxed and genuinely friendly people. Add to that sunny beaches, museums and cultural sights, evening entertainment and shopping, and I found everything I ever asked for in a city.

Its location on the harbor, makes Sydney one of the most beautiful cities I have seen: I couldn’t get enough of taking in the views from the Sydney Tower, the botanic garden, one of the many ferries or even during the Harbor Bridgeclimb. And the best is, as stunning as these views are on the first visit, they keep growing on me every time I return.
Like in many cities though, the people are what inspired my return visits. People are happy to share their table in a coffee shop, share their experiences from places around Australia and give tips and advice along the way. There doesn’t seem to be much that could get a Sydneysider bent out of shape.
Armed with plenty of advice, I explored the city. And there are plenty of ways to explore the city. One of the most unusual ones is to do the Harbor Bridge Climb. We got up in the middle of the night and made our way to the harbor. After some “training”, we were chained (well, ok, tethered) to the span and up we went. We went all the way up, watched the sun rise over the city, went across the summit and back down, leaving us with plenty of adrenalin surging and memorable views to take home.
And than there are the museums, like the museum of contemporary art or the Sydney Museum. I got plenty of insights into Australian art and culture. They certainly offer something different from the regular museum fair. And the evenings have opera, theater or concerts on offer to make that cultural experience complete.
There is also plenty of shopping to be had, right in the heart of the city. With Australia being a good distance from the rest of the world, in more than one way, I found many things that are different from home.
After I was worn out from all the walking around sights and museums and shopping…I needed some relaxation.There are several beaches in easy reach of the city, by bus if need to. They bring all the sand and surf I needed, “backed” by street cafes and restaurants along the ocean front streets. Add the lifeguards to that, and you can relax…minus the constant need for sunscreen, never been so sunburned!
Relaxed from the beach, the night is calling: There are good restaurants, representing any ethnicity under the sun, at any budget, all over the city. With the local style of BYO (Bring Your Own, wine that is) there is not much reason NOT to eat out. And after dinner, there are plenty of bars and clubs of any color to keep you up all night. That is meant literally as they will operate till the last customers leave, which will typically not be until sunrise, not that I lasted that long….
When I try to describe Sydney in one sentence, I always say “It’s like San Francisco with LA weather and beaches” – plenty of reason to come back!

Check out the photos below for more impressions from Sydney:

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