Day 15 // Sydney - Round Two
MF and I found our way to our digs for the night, a quaint house in Rockdale (suburb of Sydney, 30 min train ride). We were being taken in by a few fellow Americans who are taking in the world one country at a time, a month here, a month there. I am thankful to have met them and now to call them my friends, a few of these journeyers took an epic bike trip from Melbourne to Sydney in 40 days. They had great stories of sneaking into camping parks, cycling on freeways next to semi-trucks, taking homeless showers in public sinks, they revealed in how good a Magnum Ice Cream tastes after biking for 8 hours and they exuded such a pride in their bodies were able to conquer the intense circumstances.
This first day after we got settled MF and I threw on bathing suits and headed to Bondi, a beach I was now familiar with and very fond of. We chilled on the beach for a while and eventually headed back to Rockdale, got a pizza and a box of wine for dinner. Around 9:30pm we headed out for the night, first stop - downtown to explore Kings Cross for a while and ended up at the Opera House Bar where our host KJ is a server.
Seeing the Opera House during the day is one thing but at night this landmark is at it's best! The bar has it's own beer, the Opera House Pale Ale which I drank during both of my visits. Delicious! When KJ got off of work, his lady AV met up with us and this foursome made our way to the The Ship Inn. We drank several rounds and ended up out until about 4am. We met some characters, made some friends, challenged a few cultural norms and had a really good night.
A two hour train ride and a few chapters of Chelsea Handler's Uganda Be Kidding Me we had made it to the Blue Mountains. We stop to get a few more things at the grocery store and made our way to the mountain. Our starting point was Echo Point, it has a full service visitor center and an amazing view of the Three Sisters.
Then we climbed down, hiked in, walked down a million stairs and I experienced my first rainforest camp out! Sleeping under the canopy was such a cool experience, there was so much going on above me; rustling, things peeing out of trees, koala mating calls, birds singing and creatures climbing.
That night I got to know four new friends on a level that only people who camp can understand, I don't know if it's the lack of distraction, the fresh air or the feeling of communal accomplishment but camping bring people together on a level that is hard to reach in any other setting. The highlight of that night's bonfire was when one of my new friends whipped out a couple of oranges and a water bottle filled cake mix! 'CampFire Cakes' are apparently all the rage on sites like Pinterest, the hardest part was cutting the orange out of it's peel, although the snack is a worthwhile reward. The trick is premixing the cake batter in a squeeze bottle, remember to bring tin foil and be patient - the cakes will need a good thirty minutes or so depending on how big your fire is. It was such a fun thing to do after we all made dinner when it was pitch black, felt like midnight but was actually only 6:30pm.
We passed by Katoomba Falls late in the morning, we climbed down in order to fill up our water jug, we had purification pills that needed a few hours to work. We munched on pb&js for lunch, I took lots of pictures and after a 5 to 6 hours of trekking we found the most perfect place to camp!
After we found our way back to Katoomba we ate what will go down in my history as one of the greatest meals of my life!
After checking into our darling hotel, MF & I ended the night with an enormous, delicious Italian meal! You know it's good when the server can not understand you, or specifically words like alfredo. We got gelato on the way back to the hotel, watched a bunch of Eurovision and got a great night's slumber!
For dinner we went to the Opium Den, it was across the street from our hotel and it was fricken delicious! It's BYOB, which means we were able to bring a bottle of cheap wine that we bought at the bottle shop next door and bring it in with us, a $2 cost per person. We got three different main dishes and it was under $50. The service was fantastic and the food was filling and super tasty!
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I had an unbelievable time, experienced some of the world's most wonderful sites and fell in love with some extraordinary people! The places you see are only enhance by the people you reconnoiter with. I was inspired by friends to visit Australia and even more inspired by the new friends I made while I was there. I am also inspired by my readers and everyone who has been so supportive of my wayfarer ways, so thank you thank you thank! I hope you find some inspiration in my stories and motivation within yourself to achieve the things that you dream about. LOVE LOVE LOVE.