Summer in December: My Sydney Holiday Getaway

Before 2018 ended, I ticked off yet another goal in my bucket list: solo trip outside the country. This trip was a bit unplanned. I only decided on it barely 4 months before my travel dates. I flew to Sydney to visit my brother and spend Christmas and the New Year there. Also, I turned 30. *dun dun dun duuuuun*

The trip to Sydney was everything I hoped for. It was bright, sunny, and warm. The kind of comforting warmth you feel when your hands are freezing and you hold a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Speaking of coffee, it’s one of their best assets in the food and beverage department. All the caffeine I consumed while I was there were nothing short of great.

The Sydney City Experience

Sydney is comfortable and convenient. The towns and suburbs are geographically far from each other but you never really notice that commute-wise because of the efficient transportation system. It may be one of the busiest central business districts in the world but the overall vibe was unexpectedly laid back. People don’t seem to be always in a hurry (which I assume for most CBDs) and they are mostly dressed down but still remained fashionable.

I arrived a day before Christmas and damn, it was HOT. I got sunburned on my shoulder on my second day. That served as a lesson to always put on sunscreen before going out as the sun was particularly stingy on the skin in this side of the world.

I spent the first week roaming the city, visiting museums and parks, which are EVERYWHERE. Also, I didn’t miss laying my eyes on the face of Australia – the Sydney Opera House. It’s an impressive structure and even intriguing with all the drama it went through to get it built (the designer quit midway construction and was neither invited nor recognized for his work during the inauguration). Crazy, right?

 

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Australian Beaches

One my favorites was when I moved to a new Airbnb that’s much closer to the beach in anticipation for my 30th birthday. I stayed in a private room at an apartment in South Coogee. For six days, I lived a few steps away from a cliff overlooking the sea with a magnificent pathway leading to different beaches.

 

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I would wake up early in the morning to run the pathway and back, then chill on a park bench just watching the waves crash onto the stone cliffs.

After I’ve seen most of the free parks and museums by myself, I got to a point when I got tired of being on my own. So, I booked a local tour guide on Airbnb and boy was she a joy to be with! Her name is Lisa and she took me to the different Aboriginal art installations near Bondi beach. Plus points because she took really nice photos of me like the one below at Clovelly Beach.

 

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Sydney Art and Graffiti

Much like the parks, art is everywhere. From free art museums to wall graffitis, Sydney doesn’t seem to run out of inspiration. A friend of mine suggested that I check out Newtown, a suburb in the inner west of Sydney that boasts of it’s amazing graffitis. Here are some of my favorites:

Then there’s Bondi’s trippy-colored boardwalk…

The Great Outdoors

We spent Christmas the Aussie way – BBQ on a sweltering afternoon at my brother’s co-worker’s backyard. It was a welcome change to how I used to spend the usual noche buena and Christmas back home. For one, I didn’t have to sit through titas commenting on how fat I got. Ha!

On the 28th, my brother took me hiking to the Blue Mountains — a vast mountainous region northwest of Sydney. According to the guides, the place got its name because of the abundant eucalyptus plants that emit a blue haze causing the mountains to appear with a tinge of blue, which gets more visible on a sunny day.

 

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What is an adventure if not for misadventures? The hiked proved a little challenging because we got lost in the woods… on a 34-degree hot afternoon. Haha!

Overall, the trip was one for the books. I always think about my life as one big storytelling series for my future grandkids; the kind of story they will brag about to their friends. This trip deserves a chapter of that series. This barely planned trip may have put a big dent on my savings account — something that can set me back for a couple of months — but, over the years I’ve learned that experiences like these are ones that leave a lasting impact and make everything worth it.

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