Sydney, Australia

Grabbing the bus down George Street with great anticipation, we tapped our Opal bus cards on the way out and headed for the wharf.  It’s not every day one gets to see the Opera House in person and as the sun was setting, we didn’t want to miss the glow of the sky surrounding this architectural masterpiece.

Sydney is wonderful.  Full of life, style and a metropolitan gusto you’d expect from the states.  Our hotel, The Cambridge, was nestled perfectly in Surry Hills, which is young, happening and a bit hipster.  Plus, The Cambridge came through with a free night and overall discount on our entire stay!  Gotta love those that love you.  We were within walking distance to all you’d need and close to the bustle of Oxford Street, a main artery that feeds into shops, stores, restaurants, a terrific bus line and the nearby Circular Quay and Rocks area.  Those last two provide the vantage point to the Opera House, Harbour Bridge, loads of touristy attractions and magnificent views.  All of this coolness and generosity more than made up for the ruthlessness of the Tiger Airways attendant at the check-in counter on the way to Sydney from Melbourne who literally wouldn’t let us enter the gate until we unpacked eight kilos of weight.  C’mon lady, we already paid your baggage fees.  No need for us to be holding three pairs of shoes, two dopp kits and nine shirts while going through security.

Of course, this fury of emotion made us hungry.  And after many weeks without some of SoCal's authentic Mexican, we needed our fix.  Leah found what turned out to be THE spot to be.  Two adjoining rooms, one dressed up with a Mexican theme and the other an English pub. The food was fantastic as were the locals who sat at our communal table and gave us a wealth of amazing recommendations, one would need three weeks to do it all.  To top it off, we got our fill of chips, guac, tacos.... and maybe even a churro or two.

Skyler has a sort-of-cousin who lives in Sydney with his wife and son that we had the good fortune of meeting up with for dinner one night.  It was nice to see a familiar face, even if it had been 20 years since the last time Skyler and Leo played rugby in Skyler’s front yard.  They treated us to an awesome meal in the Darling Harbour area where we were able to catch up and later see live music at the various waterfront restaurants.

We also had the chance to visit Manly Beach which was straight up marvelous.  We took a nice little ferry ride over and were dropped off at the foot of a five minute walk to a gorgeous beach.  Sure Skyler got distracted by every surf shop known to man in a square block, but eventually we made it to the sand and tried to recoup the bronze and in Skyler’s case, adobe-red, shades South America gave us. 

With all this furor we had heard about Bondi Beach we had to make the 35 minute bus ride to see it for ourselves.  Granted it was night time and you couldn’t make out more than the illuminated signs of restaurants, hotels and one Ben & Jerry’s that a had a line as if they were giving out free $100s, but we found ourselves a killer little beachfront restaurant.  Worth the effort, but probably a bit more spectacular in the daytime.

Sydney sure was a good time and there's plenty more to do than we were able to get done.  The locals truly are lovely and are happy to lend a suggestion, or seven, of what to do in their city.