Saturday (11/19/16) – 15 hour train ride from Brisbane to Sydney. Arrive into Sydney late in the evening, grab dinner and head to the hotel.
Sunday – Walk the Central Business District and cross the Sydney harbor bridge in the morning. After walking around for a while we catch a ferry ride from downtown (CBD) to Manley Beach. We walk from Manly beach to Shelley beach which is a bit more sheltered from the wind. After a few hours on the beach, we catch the ferry back to Sydney CBD and walk around the Sydney Opera House.
Monday – After breakfast, we head over to famous Bondi beach. We enjoy some time on the beach watching the surfers. After an hour of relaxing we begin the walk from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach. Along the way, we find a ocean side pool (ocean water surf fills and refreshes man made pools). After a long day of hiking, we end up at Coogee beach, enjoy a nice beer watching the surf and then head back to the hotel before dinner.
Tuesday – Train ride from Sydney to Melbourne.
Well after nearly 15 hours on a train, and not seeing Giovanna for about an hour of that (i’m sure she will expand on that a little further), we arrived into Sydney late on a Saturday night. Our first mission was food and burgers were on our mind. So we seek out a burger joint and come to find out that they ran out of beef. Who-woulda-thunken!? But they had a chicken alternative and it was still delicious. Afterwords, we check into our hotel and got ready for a busy day ahead of us. Our first full day in the city is comprised of exploring Sydney CBD (downtown), walking the Sydney Harbor Bridge, catching the ferry from CBD to Manly Beach and then back to explore around the Sydney Opera House. All this went off flawlessly and we got plenty of time to soak in the sights, sounds and sun (my head and face got a viscous sunburn). My first glance of the Sydney Opera House was one of those “oh shit” moments for me when I see something magnificent for the first time. I’ve had a lot of those moments on this trip, so here is a quick recap:
My “Oh Shit” moments to date:
Strolling around Sydney CBD and seeing the Opera House for the first time through some of the skyscrapers.
Back in Vietnam when we were in the bus taking us to Halong Bay and I see the port for the first time.
Seeing my first elephant roaming free in Thailand.
Taking our Tuk Tuk to Byron Temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Relaxing on the beach in the Gold Coast and realizing we are of a few dozen people on the entire beach.
Walking around the Brisbane river when a public ferry speeds by us.
Now back to Sydney. Our last full day in Sydney was comprised of walking the famous Bondi Beach to Coogee trail path. This is such an amazing hike on a coast trail and just barely removed from the suburbs of Sydney. It was a hot of hiking, but we saw amazing coast lines, sea side pools and white sand beaches. Even though we only spent two full days in Sydney, it was time very well spent. Maybe someday well come back to explore Sydney some more, but now its time for another train trip to Melbourne.
Ok, ok, I know everyone is very curious about the train bathroom fiasco so I will go ahead and start with that… After staying up all night watching the Harry Potter marathon we woke up at 3am for our 5am train departure. While en route to the train station we realize we don’t have our passports (which we may or may not need for our flight from Melbourne to Sydney since our visas are in them?). Either way, running back to the house we go to then turn around and run to the train station. We arrive at the train station and immediately run on the train. *Side note, train travel is so laid back. They didn’t even check our tickets, we just found our seats, put our eye masks on and away we went.* After snoozing for a few hours I woke up and needed to use the restroom. The restroom is located in between the train carriages, in the loudest, roughest part of the train. The bathrooms are very basic, made of steal (similar to an airplane bathroom) and gross! There is no air con and they are very smelly. So using them is already difficult enough due to the location and smells. Therefore, when I enter I try not to touch anything and get in & out as quickly as possible. I do what I need to in less than 20 seconds, unlock the door and try to turn the handle to exit BUT when I turn the handle it doesn’t move. The handle was stuck, therefore, I pull and aggressively get the handle to turn (hit my hand really hard on the door’s lock to get a nasty bruise) BUT the latch doesn’t move with the handle. So for about 2 minutes I am turning the handle with no movement of the latch. There is about a quarter inch gap between the door and wall where I can see the latch perfectly so I get a little creative (using a clean not used vomit bag and the sink’s drain stopper) to try and use force to get the latch to go down while I turn the handle, in efforts of opening the door. Well this didn’t work and the only thing that is available to me is the fire alarm. Obviously I didn’t want to cause a scene and pull the fire alarm (not even sure if would have worked) so banging and screaming for help was the first choice. So banging and screaming away I went. After about 20 minutes, FINALLY, an older gentleman tries to use the bathroom and hears me. He said “hello?” I said “Hi! I am stuck in the bathroom” He tried to open the door, no luck and said “I am going to go get one of the crew members”. *In all honesty at this moment I was not very confident he was going for help* So a female crew member comes to asses the situation. I am trying to explain to her what has happened and what the problem is but the train is so loud we can barely hear each other & to make it even more difficult we speak completely different lingo so we have no idea what the other is saying. This crew member is not able to open the door so she gets another crew member involved who also has no luck and gets another crew member involved. At this point I have been in the bathroom for 45 minutes there are 3 crew members involved and Eric finally shows up to the scene. I hear him say “I think my wife is in there” *Ah yes! FINALLY! Eric is smart and we speak the same language so this is going to work! YES! YES! YES!* The crew members laugh, we all communicate for a bit, I explain to Eric what is going on, he explains to the Aussies and the end result is kicking the door down. Even Eric got a few kicks in. However, there is no luck here so FINALLY one of the crew member goes to get the key to the emergency exit door that is within the bathroom door. This door is about 3 feet tall, held on by some bolts and is designed to use when someone gets locked in the bathroom. *Why it took them so long to realize this was an option I still don’t know* The crew member tries the key & OF COURSE it doesn’t work. So the backup plan to the backup plan is the metal grate that is about 1 foot tall and held on with screws within the emergency door. So they get the grate off of the door to only reveal their is another grate whose screws are inside the bathroom with me. So the next logical thing to do is kick the metal grate out because it is the weakest part of the door. SO the kicking begins and nothing happens other than a big dent in the grate. After all of this, one of the crew members calls the “rescue team” to officially get me out of the bathroom. The rescue team cant just jump on the train and we can just stop the train in the middle of no where. Therefore, we have to wait until there is a town we can stop the train at and allow the rescue team on board to “rescue” me. So twenty minutes of just sitting in the bathroom begins. We arrive at the our stop and the rescue team uses the jaws of life and a few massive crow bars to cut the door open #freedom After I got out of the restroom I immediately walked back to my seat where the drunk Australian redneck who was sitting in front of me yelled “how embarrassing” *Um, no sir. I am not embarrassed at all but thanks for your two cents* I took a few minutes to relax and breath some “fresh” air when the crew member was kind enough to offer me a cold drink on the house for my troubles *Really? A cold drink? I mean, that’s the least you could do* So after 15 hours on the train we arrived in Sydney and for the first time since we left America, I finally felt like I was in another country. I don’t know what it was about Sydney that triggered the feeling but I was so glad it finally happened. The feeling I experienced is one of my favorite parts about traveling. *I don’t know how to explain the feeling but I would compare it to a nervous, excited, I am out of my comfort zone feeling.* Like, I said, I don’t know why it didn’t hit me before then but when it did the tears started flowing, the smile on my face had never been bigger and all of the complications that had happened prior didn’t matter any more.