It seems both achingly slow and extremely quickly that my time here as led to my final weekend in Sydney, Australia. Missing family, friends, and a significant other has let the time feel as if I’ve been here forever. In contrast, my internship and constant weekend plans and trips have let the slip away to where I’m not sure how I ended up suddenly being able to think, how did I do all of it already? Either way, my last weekend in Sydney has come and gone, and I must say it was a pretty well spent one.
It started with Friday when Lindsey, Ashley, and I woke up relatively early for a Friday (we don’t work Fridays here) and caught the first ferry out of Sydney Harbor to the Manly Wharf. I actually really enjoy taking ferries here even though they move much much slower on water than I am used to on our boat at home. However, I think that is why I like them, if I am paying for the ride across the harbor, I would kind of like to enjoy the view and water as long as I can. Anyway, the ferry ride took about 30 minutes to get out to Manly Wharf, which is the closest water drop-off to the Manly Beach, which is now my favorite beach that I have seen during my time here. Getting off on the wharf, which is located on a peninsula jutting out into the water, you walk across the peninsula through a pretty touristy main street FULL of shops, seafood cafe’s, and beach rentals. It was very prettily decorated and had decorative fountains by your feet as you walked as well as green palm trees running along the center. Given all of this, it is pretty incredible that I managed to NOT shop along my way to the beach (which I think was the point of their location). When I got to the beach I was in complete wonder as to why this was my first trip to Manly since being here. It was absolutely stunning (pictures below). The beach was 3x the size of any other beach I have yet seen here, which immediately made me happy because I could finally go on legitimate beach walks. We posted up a little to the right of the main beach entrance plopped down in the softest sand I had yet had the pleasure to walk on, and poured on the sunscreen. It was not a blazing hot day by any means, it really doesn’t get that hot here like it does in Illinois because the humidity is never high enough for it to feel that stifling. However it was the perfectly cloudless day with a nice light breeze. The perfect day to burn your skin off and have no idea it is happening until you get home that evening an attempt to shower (especially since the hole in the ozone layer is near here). So on went round one of sunscreen and we laid out for a solid 2 hours before I decided to move again. I was a little warm and so I dipped into the water for the first time and was pleasantly surprised to find how clear the water was. It was not as clear as Destin, FL where I traveled last year with Austyn’s family, but it was definitely second. I could see my feet 500 feet out and it was really great for swimming because it made it feel cleaner. Anyway, after my swim was walk number one along the beach and it took a full 30 minutes to go end to end which was really nice because I think walking on the beach is a different form of relaxation than laying out on the beach and I really enjoy it. After round 2 of sunscreen there was another hour of laying out during which time I very nearly stole a 6 month old little girl who thought I made funny faces and crawled over to my towel. Her name was Eden and I was extremely tempted to pick her up and play with her, but I figured that was probably frowned upon, especially since her father didn’t speak English. Going on 3:30 PM everyone started heading home because the sun really was strong and all of us knew were going to be fried (or fried even worse) if we didn’t leave soon. I did end up shopping along the way back, but since my shopping was gift oriented, I’ll leave those details out. The return ferry was again a really nice 30 minute chance for me to catch those last minute rays. I loved the smell of water and the wind the kept the heat at bay. Upon arrival back at the Sydney Harbor, Lindsey and I checked the availability of Opera House Tickets for the opera Carmen, and we were disappointed when they were sold out for the night. But we went home anyway to a great meal of steak, potatoes, and corn on the cob that Hailee had made for us. Given the sun had exhausted us all and we were to get up early the next morning for Wine Tasting, that was where the night ended and we all went to bed pretty early.