Friday, 27 January 2012


Day 1

Wake up! Hostel has done a bit of redecorating since I was here last in July, and of course it’s all decorated with Australian flags at the moment for Australia Day tomorrow. There is a bar downstairs in the hostel, very handy, and if you go down tomorrow night before 10pm dressed in an Australian flag you get the first drink free. Sounds fun, but I’m not buying an Australian flag just for one drink, or just for one day for that matter.

Today is boring, the weather isn’t very nice, and I saw all the touristy things last time I was here so I’m just being lazy with a book in the dorm. I could go in the kind of common room that they have here, but because the hostel is so big, I think it’s 7 floors with dorms, it’s never really quiet enough to relax with a book unless you’re in your dorm.

The Wi-Fi here is $4 per hour, but I have a voucher for 3 hours pay for 2, so unless I spend it all today because I’m so bored I should be able to make that last my whole stay. At last I’ve got some books since I bought 4 new ones in Newcastle.

I went to Bread Top for lunch. If you live in a country where they have it you should definitely get some food there! It’s yummy! Just looking at all the baked goods makes my mouth water! It’s the first time I’ve actually bought something from there as I’ve always thought it’s really expensive, but it’s actually a cheaper than most bakeries, the one I went to was anyway.

There are two Swedish girls staying in my dorm, so I got to speak Norwegian again. It’s really strange, I’ve hardly spoken any Norwegian in over 6 months except for a couple of phone calls with my parents and sister. I prefer speaking English to be honest, which I guess is part of the reason for why I’m drawn to English-speaking countries.

Something I didn’t notice last time I was here: speakers in the room. They don’t play music, but random announcements. Which isn’t too bad in itself as it’s not often, only heard it twice today (it’s nearly 8pm), and they’re talking about their offers in the bar and free tours (around the city and beach walk). But it’s so LOUD!! I nearly jump out of my skin when I hear it! I’m sure if one comes on as I’m getting out of bed (top bunk again, but at least this one has bars) I’ll fall down and break something.

Day 2 – Australia Day!!

This morning I walked to the Harbour because I’d heard there was going to be a boat race at 11am. I just have to say, the Opera House looks a lot better in the sunshine!
 I could see loads of boats moving, I thought they were moving out of the way for the race, but apparently that was the race..! So I got bored and walked to Darling Harbour. I saw a cool sculpture on the way, but there wasn't much to see in Darling Harbour that early so I decided to walk back to the hostel to make sure I had my ID before I met up with my friend (who I first met in Port Macquarie).
 Turned out I had my ID in my bag the whole time, so I just walked to Hyde Park to meet M and her friend C. While the rain had been coming down hard when I went for a walk on my own in the morning, it now suddenly got sunny, which was really nice. Now, you’re going to have to excuse me but I didn’t pay attention to street names I just wandered about with M and C. We started with looking at the vintage cars near Hyde Park. There were so many nice ones. I might not have a licence, but I do love looking at nice cars, old and new.

 After looking at the cars we walked to The Rocks. We wandered around a bit but then we started getting a bit tired of being on our feet and we wanted to sit down for a bit and have a drink. Most places were busy, I think everybody had the same idea as us. We finally found some seats at the Lowenbrau, where I ordered my first beer!! I've had some sips before but never liked it, but I thought since we were in a beer place I might as well try one. I prefer wine, or cocktails, or Alco pops…. Not a beer person. I spent about an hour getting it down my throat. M and C had a big glug each from it as well. At least I know that if I'm short on cash when I'm going out I can just buy a beer and it will last me all night, and I won’t even get drunk! I can’t remember what the beer I tried was called, but it had limonata or something in it. Not normal lemonade because it wasn't a shandy. Just tasted like beer to me though. It’s a bit sad isn't it? I worked in an English pub for about 20 months, but my first beer is in Australia…
 After our beer it started raining again for a bit. We found a fairly dry park bench and M and C shared their sandwiches and brownies with me. Then we went back to Hyde Park. We thought about looking inside the cathedral there but it was closed. So we made our way to Darling Harbour. Because it was still a while before the fireworks and stuff started we found a café to sit down in for a while.
 We then walked onto the bridge at Darling Harbour. There were so many people there, I could hardly believe it!
 We had to stand through a lot of what I would consider boring stuff. But then there is always some boring stuff on National Days though, depending on what you consider boring. The governor talked, there was like a boat parade or what I should call it, loads of nice boats, there was also some tall ships, meaning we got to see the bridge twist, which was cool. I wish I had been standing closer to the middle so I could have seen it closer, and gotten a better picture of it. 
Then there was a police chase and rescue demonstration by boat. I think we had to stand there for a little over 2 hours before the lights and fireworks show finally started. It was worth it thought, it was really good! Much better than when I was here in July.
 When we were getting off the bridge after the fireworks it took a while because of all the people. We also took the longer route, to King Street I think it was, so that we wouldn’t have to wait for half an hour to get up the stairs and get squoshed to death while doing it. M and C walked me part of the way back to my hostel and said bye when they got to one of the train stations they could use. After that I just went back to the hostel and to bed. After being on my for about 12 hours I was rather tired.

Any Australians reading this; how did you celebrate Australia Day this year?

Day 3 – Blue Mountains

Myself and a group of 15, 13 Brits and 2 Canadians, went on a Blue Mountains tour today. As we were driving there I was hoping the weather would clear up for us. It didn’t.

It rained the whole time we were there. Luckily we made a small breakfast stop before we even started the tour and we got to buy some rain-ponchos. I’m also glad I remembered to put my trainers on as I would not have been able to walk in my flip-flops, the guide did make sure everybody had suitable shoes before we left though, so that was good.

The first mountain stop we made was at Wentworth Falls. That was a really long walk. Loads of nice scenery, but because of the weather there was a grey wall instead of a view. We walked for a long time and the last bit before we turned around and headed back to the bus was down some really steep stone steps, carver out of the mountain. We got some pictures of the waterfall there, which was very pretty, and then we had to go back up the really steep stairs. I was fine, I was right behind the guide, which I liked because I meant I wasn’t stuck behind someone really slow.

Pizza oven?
 A girl started REALLY complaining on the way back to the bus. Honestly, it was like listening to someone between the ages of 5 and 16, it was so bad. I just wanted to slap her! Why would you go on a walking tour if you don’t want to walk?! She complained for the rest of the tour. We stopped at a YHA in Katoomba for lunch, which was a nice vegetarian pasta and bread-rolls which we put ham and cheese on ourselves, so I left the ham off of course.

After lunch we went to our next stop at Scenic World by Katoomba Falls. Miss Whinge opted out of that walk along with two others, and they stayed in the restaurant and souvenir shop, while the rest of us walked. This walk was only a short one, maybe an hour, and it was all downhill. We could have seen the Three Sisters on this walk, but because of the weather we didn’t. To get back up again we took this really cool train which went backwards and at a 52degree angle. It was really cool, but because I was sitting in the middle I wasn’t able to get any good pictures.
Just some small puddles...

Since I didn't get one of the "real" Three Sisters...
I would love to take this tour again when the weather is nicer, unfortunately it’s impossible to predict the weather, and even the forecast can be wrong, weather changes very quickly. It was a nice walk even though it was very wet; I just wish I had seen more of the scenery. My pink and white trainers were black by the time we finished. People tried to avoid the puddles, whereas I just walked straight through them because I knew my shoes would get soaked anyway and I couldn't be bothered spending half an hour trying to figure out how to get around every single puddle without getting my shoes wet.

When I got back to the hostel I had a nice hot shower (aaaahhhh…), I washed my shoes, they probably won’t be dry for a week, and I wrote some post cards, and this post.

I will probably feel the walk tomorrow. My feet were very tired and cold by the time we finished; they were on the verge of shaking because they were so tired! But if you’re ever in the Blue Mountains area you should definitely check it out, it’s really pretty, even when the weather is bad, just remember proper walking shoes and a raincoat.

Oh, and I did manage to make my Wi-Fi time last all 3 days.

Next stop: Canberra. Any suggestions as to what I should check out while I’m there?

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