Quite a lot has happened since my last update – I really should write here every day to share all the small things that I've seen and done… But since that's impossible, here's another overview – the last one from this trip, because I'm flying home tonight. 🙁
The trip to Sydney went well – I spent another night in Brisbane, where I picked up my small suitcase (filled with books and other stuff I picked up during the last two months – mostly heavy… *g*), then I caught a train to Sydney, which was nice. I just like trains better than buses, it's so much more relaxed.
I wasn't so thrilled about the hostel I'd booked in Sydney's city center (a huge complex called 'Wake Up!', with a name as a party hostel, which is not exactly my thing when traveling by myself), but despite my misgivings I enjoyed my stay there. Luckily my room mates (both guys and girls) managed to stumble into the room in the wee hours of the morning more or less quietly – or maybe I've just developed the ability to sleep through anything… *g*
My days in Sydney were pretty long, because my body just never bothered switching from New Zealand time, which is two hours later, causing me to wake up around 6am. Accordingly I was normally the first one asleep, except for last night, when I went to the movies with one of my room mates (Naomi, from England) and then to the hostel bar for a cheap (and yucky) cocktail and a bit of dancing.
I spent Saturday walking around the city center, admiring the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, in lovely sunshine. This gave rise to some false hopes, so that I was not quite prepared for the grayness and rain that accompanied my Sunday daytrip to the Blue Mountains as part of a tour. But it was nice nonetheless, and I specially enjoyed walking down about 880 steps through the rainforest with awesome views. (Good thing, too, that there was the world steepest railway going back up! LOL)
Monday the weather was similarly dreary, which kind of spoiled my plan to go to Manly Beach and do part of the 10km hike along the coast. Instead I spend a couple of hours walking around the Botanical Gardens, waiting for the Australia Museum to open. That proved to be very interesting, with a good exhibition about the Aborigines, so I was occupied for several hours. After that I took the ferry over to Manly, where an international Jazz festival consoled me for missing out on the hiking. I ended up walking only a bit along the beach, but I enjoyed myself nonetheless.
Today I waited around the hostel for a bit before checking out, because I had discovered that my luggage weighed too much for the regulations of Emirates Air. I had to send off 5kg of books, which of course cost me quite a bit – but not as much as paying for overweight would have. I'm seriously considering flying over the US next time even if it costs more, because then I'd be allowed to take up to 70kg check-in and 10kg handluggage (instead of measly 20 + 7kg on flights over Asia). Oh well, that's how we learn – by paying… *g*
Same goes for traveller's cheques – that form of travel money has obviously outlived its usefulness, what with ATMs all over the place. I've lost quite a bit exchanging Australian Dollar cheques into New Zealand Dollars, plus the exchange rate has changed in favor of the Swiss Franc in the last two months – so next time I think I'll just take my bank card and withdraw money directly (plus of course using my trusted MasterCard).
But enough of boring “Advice for Travellers”… I've been going just a bit mad here in Sydney buying souvenirs for family and friends (I promised several people bday pressies from down under, after all) – and at the moment I'm wearing a brand new t-shirt saying “Downunder – Australia”. Well, a girl has to indulge herself from time to time, after all! LOL
Another thing that has amused me is that I've been taken for a Sydneysider several times, with tourists asking me for directions. A couple of times I was even able to point them in the right direction… or not. *g*
Okay, time to get back to the hostel and pick up my luggage. I'll be home tomorrow afternoon (Swiss time) – we'll see how I'll cope with the massive time difference and all the things I'll have to do in the next two weeks before uni starts… Right now I'm kind of looking forward to sleeping in my own bed, but I'm also a bit sad because Marrie had to cancel her planned visit with me. And I had so many plans already of traveling Switzerland with her… Oh well, next time!
Sending all of you big hugs from Australia for the last time – hope you haven't forgotten me while I was gone! 🙂