Sydney Adventures

Last week I took another trip up to Sydney for work.  It was a continuation of the training I had received the month before. Essentially, it was 2 long days trying not to fall asleep and hoping to get some free alcohol during the evenings activities.

I wasn’t looking forward to the trip and had considered not going, however, as I had been picked as one of our company’s leaders I figured my bosses probably wouldn’t appreciate me turning down the opportunity and so I was Sydney bound. On the plus side, this time we were able to fly up instead of a back breaking 4hr limo drive. We also wrangled a mid afternoon flight so we could enjoy the night before having to do some really long days (8hrs of ‘learning’ and then 3hrs of networking disguised as dinner). As requested by Holly, I took a billion photos to show everyone! This is even my cut down version, there are probably only so many angles of buildings and the opera house that you can see.

I haven’t flown very much and each time I do the airport looks different (I might have gotten lost looking for the cab rank when coming home) but fortunately there is basically nothing in the Canberra airport except a few gates and an overpriced cafe so it is pretty easy to navigate.

Water feature at the airport - obviously I had to check how it worked.

Water feature at the airport – obviously I had to check how it worked.

We were on a little Dash 8 plane and the sky looked pretty grim so it appeared as though we were in for a bumpy right. Luckily, the flight is only about 30mins in the air so we didn’t have to tolerate it for long. It was very strange being above the clouds and having the sun warming my face when it had been cloudy and a bit rainy as we walked across the tarmac to board. I also got to see a rainbow from the plane! It was especially awesome.

Up in the clouds!

Up in the clouds!

A rainbow from above

A rainbow from above

Once off the plane, we headed for the hotel and checked in. As I’d travelled with a colleague we decided to meet back later to make a snack run (instead of impulse buying $6 bottles of water!) and make dinner plans. We went for a wander around but ultimately ended up back at the restaurant attached to the hotel, Vapiano. I don’t have any photos of it but it was fast, tasty and they had $4 happy hour! It has a really neat system I’ve never seen before, when you enter you’re given a card that has up to $75 worth of value, you swipe the card whenever you purchase anything. When you decide to leave you go to the front counter and pay up. Very efficient and easy (especially when you’re expense claiming it). They mostly do pizza and pasta, the pasta is made while you wait, it’s very cool!

Once happy hour was over and we’d finished eating I decided to part ways with my colleague and went back up to my room. While looking for somewhere to eat my colleague had mentioned that Haigh’s Chocolates was around, I’d been wanting to try their chocolate for ages but their website kind of sucks (you can see all their offerings but you can’t buy any of them online) so I decided to look them up, it turned out they were open for another 30 mins and they were only a 5min walk away from the hotel!

I turned up to find that, no they weren’t open until 8PM and they close at 6PM.. at least I didn’t walk too far to find that out. Instead of walking back to the hotel I decided to use the time to wander around the city and check out all the beautiful buildings Sydney has to offer. While I would never want to live in Sydney, it does have a lot more history and beauty than much of Canberra, I also like how many of the buildings have been preserved and re-fitted rather than being knocked down.

Look up!

Look up!

I started my journey by walking down Pitt Street and heading towards The Rocks (part of me was going to Pancakes on the Rocks, mostly I just wanted to walk around and check out the city). I saw some lovely intricate designs on buildings, stairways, footpaths, everything really! It seems like, at one point in time, we spent a  lot more time on the details when creating buildings rather than the speed of which we could build them.

Look up again!

Look up again! I could only look at this from the outside as the room was being renovated. It reminded me a little of Galifreyan writing

A merging of old with new

A merging of old with new

One thing I found strange was that, although I was walking around the city by myself at night, I didn’t feel afraid that something might happen to me. I walked through areas that, had they been in Canberra, I might not have. Maybe that’s just because I know the areas in Canberra you shouldn’t walk through at night and I was blissfully naive when walking the streets of Sydney.

Once I got to the end of Pitt St, I decided to cross the road and walk into First Fleet Park (I didn’t consider it had a name, google saved me) and noticed an increase in souvenir stores and wondered why that might be. That is, until I turned the corner and saw the Harbour Bridge, and a few steps later the Opera House. It’s funny that I have such a poor sense of direction in Sydney that I didn’t see them coming.. even though I was heading towards The Rocks, I never considered I’d be near the water..

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Eventually I hit a bit of a dead end so I decided to walk back to the hotel, this time following George St instead. Basically, if you can find George St you can find anything in the city, or so I’m told. Worked for me anyway. As I walked up the street I noticed a beacon up ahead and it was a Guylian cafe! I didn’t know such a thing existed and now, having Googled it, it turns out they’re only in Sydney (at 3 separate locations). They were also open which I was super excited about. I took a quick look around, bought some chocolate I’d never seen before and went up to the cakes and slices window. Oh my, they all looked delish! 

Guylian Cafe display

Guylian Cafe display

They’re a bit pricey and I wasn’t overly hungry, so I settled for buying the chocolate blocks and a Chocolate Praline Hot Chocolate, it was pretty amazing.. even if it did burn my tongue on the first sip – I was too eager to see how it tasted! I wish they had a store here, I’d definitely go back!

After that minor distraction I decided to continue my trek back to the hotel, with Hot Chocolate in hand, and try to take photos at the same time. I kept having to find places to put my drink down. I took a detour down a little laneway (something I’d never have done at that time of night in Canberra) because I was drawn by a beacon of light. This mysterious laneway held a beautiful second floor courtyard and a store dedicated to buttons! I wish I’d been able to get access to the courtyard but alas, all I have is the photos.

Secret courtyard

Secret courtyard

A world of Buttons!

A world of Buttons! Apparently its real name is Buttons Buttons Buttons!

Down the rabbits hole

Down the rabbits hole

Lastly, as I walked back I noticed a sign for Sydney’s oldest pub! Claiming to have been around since 1828. I wanted to take a look but had my Hot Chocolate and I as took a look in, everyone looked back at me and I got a bit nervous. After looking up The Fortune of War it turns out that while it’d been in business since 1828, the building itself was re-built in 1921.. which probably makes it more to my style but oh well.. maybe another time.

Here ended my adventure for the night, I got back to my room and relaxed for the rest of the night as preparation for the days ahead. They were incredibly long and dull and I feel like I accomplished very little. We also had to go out the second night together to do some trivia (yawn) which took 3 hours! It ran from about 6:30 – 9:30 and I really wished I were elsewhere. That being said, we were at the Stacks Taverna and the food was very good.

Dessert at Stacks

Dessert at Stacks

There was a lot of it as well, which was good when the Churros came out because I probably couldn’t have just eaten one.. fortunately for me, my colleagues were pretty full and I ate most of them (you should always have room for Churros!).

Also fortunate for me was that a few of the guys decided to head back to the hotel at the same time as I’m fairly certain I would have gotten lost.. it looked pretty straight forward on the way down.. who knows where I would have ended up though if I’d walked by myself.

Finally, after getting through the next dull day (we weren’t given any breaks either) I was on my way home! I was pretty pleased as, other than the first night, it had been a pretty uninspiring time. At lease the first night was worth it.

All of the Things

It’s been nearly a month since I last posted. I was able to write 9 posts in July, even though I anticipated 15 this is still much more than I’ve posted in a long time. Having the SITS girls prompts were really helpful and in some cases I ended up not needing them.

I wanted to use them again for August but for most of August I still had a cold. Up until last week I was still sick from back then, it held onto me for about 5 weeks which drove me pretty crazy.

During that time I mostly just watched tv, did things on YouTube and ate a bunch of junk because that’s what I needed to feel better. I also started posting more regularly on Previously. TV which is an awesome site for all things current TV and some things older TV. They have a pretty decent forum which I’m now a moderator of! I haven’t been a mod of a forum for about 10 years so it’s a bit strange and fun at the same time. If you like talking about your favourite TV shows then you should go and take a look.

I also went up to Sydney for work at the beginning of August and I’m going back next week. Last time we went up in a mega stretch limo, in theory that is awesome, in reality not so much. It was pretty uncomfortable and took hours to get to the hotel. After that we had 2 very long days, we checked in at 4PM, left for the pre-arranged dinner at 6 and that started the sleep, work, dinner, sleep cycle for those days.. very long and exhausting, probably why I ended up being sick again when I got back. I’ll probably have a post dedicated to my Sydney visits when I get back next week.

Mostly I considered blogging but didn’t have the energy to do it, I just wanted to sleep for much of the time but hopefully I am full recovered from that now and can get back into it all for September.

Up, Up and Away!

Yesterday I went to Sydney for work. It’s the first time in about 10 years that I’ve been on a plane and been to Sydney so the experience was a little different to last time. Also, every other time I’ve been to Sydney I’ve driven instead of flying (it’s about a 3 hr drive and a 30 mins flight) so it was interesting to see just how quick the plane was. We were basically just done taking off when we began getting ready to land!

While looking out the window

While looking out the window in Sydney after landing

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see much of anything. The trip basically consisted of the airport, driving to a hotel – and the entire drive was enclosed by noise walls or tunnel – and sitting in a meeting room for 6 hrs and then going back. There was one part of the trip back to the airport though where I was looking out the window of the taxi at some lovely old terrace buildings when we rounded a bend and I was suddenly looking out of over the harbour with the Harbour bridge on the left and the Opera house on the right. I didn’t get a chance to take any photos as we zoomed by though.

So, there’s a reason I haven’t been to Sydney in about 10 years, it’s mostly that I don’t particularly like going to Sydney. It’s too busy, there’s too much traffic (as such it takes forever to get anywhere) and there’s nothing in Sydney that I couldn’t do some place else.. if I was ever much inclined to actually leave my house. However, it was awesome flying in over the city and seeing it from above, it looked like someone’s version of Sim City! It was pretty damn cool! Plus the city has so much more history than mine and some of the buildings were just lovely to look at (even if I only got glimpses here or there as I peered over noise walls) but Sydney is still Sydney and I don’t think I’ve changed my mind about going there.

One thing that amazed me about the trip was how neat the plane trip was. Last time I went on a plane I wasn’t too keen on it, I don’t even remember why now but I didn’t particularly like it. This time around I was wondering why people are so terrified of planes and how they’re the coolest thing ever! Even if we did hit a bumpy patch at one point and my heart started racing as we were a bit taken by the weather.

Qantas also need to stop pretending that a cookie is breakfast though. At 7:30 when you’ve eaten nothing, cookies look nothing like breakfast… I ate it all the same though.