Tiina from Finland: Sightseeing in Sydney
Sydney. I really do not know where to start – perhaps just from the beginning? When I first came to Australia three months ago, I flew to Sydney. I was fortunate to have a friend to travel with as the flights from Finland (which is far away up in the north) down to Australia did take a while. We also stopped at India, New Delhi, on the way for a short one-week visit. I can only recommend!
Anyway, back to Sydney. That city is amazing, none of the words I can think of describe it well enough. I will have you know, I spent a year in Cologne (population just over one million), Germany, a couple of years ago, and I totally fell in love with the city during that time. I was sure I would never find a city I would prefer over Cologne; London, Berlin, Amsterdam… All those major European cities renown for their culture, cuisine, attractions and several other aspects just were nothing like Cologne. No matter where I went, I would always compare everything with Cologne – a subconscious reflex. However, all this changed at once when I landed in Sydney. My good Australian friend I had got to know back then in Cologne was welcoming us; we stayed with his family for the week. Their home was gorgeous, a cosy 3-storey house with all modern facilities –they even had palm trees on their backyard! What a great start into the Australian journey. I wish you could see me now, it really does put a smile on my face every time I think about it!
It was really windy and cold (especially after spending a week in hot, humid India) yet bright and sunny in Sydney. It took me a while to fully comprehend that the stereotype I had had about Australia always being sunny and hot was just what it was – a stereotype. After this I was ready to start really enjoying the city and the beginning of my Australian journey. As I mentioned in my previous post, I am a little shop-a-holic (and in all fairness, I guess most of us are!), so Sydney was like paradise, especially with my personal, local shopping guide who knew where to go for the best deals and bargains! Being a good tourist, I bought my (fake) Uggs during the first days in Sydney which I by the way still love to wear if I just get the chance.
Renting a car in Sydney could be a good idea, even though the public transport is really good and you can get anywhere in the main city easily and quickly by metro. However, if you wish to see other parts of Sydney, having a car really comes in handy. My friend took us around the area, we A.O. visited the Bondi Beach, the Palm Beach (both beautiful, beautiful beaches), and of course the major Sydney attractions: Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. I have heaps of pictures from there, some taken from rather interesting angles too – Sydney really does bring out the artist in you. We even went to see the Bahá’i Temple in Sydney, the only one in Australia. This was naturally inspired by the preceding visit to India. A funny detail from the temple: they had their little brochures in most languages, even in Finnish!
One more thing that I loved about Sydney, and later found to be a general Australian feature, is the hospitality and friendliness of people. It is great to be able to have a little – often pretty long – chat whilst buying a coffee or paying for your groceries. Not quite the case over in Europe (or in Finland). I may have to dedicate one blog post just to things I love about Australia, and just as a heads up, it is going to be a lengthy one!
Most of you are probably going to visit Sydney during your stay in Australia if you already haven’t, and I can only strongly recommend it! I will definitely go there again before I leave, maybe I will return one day to work there too.