Update #2: Alex Adventures Abroad
Welcome to my second update about my adventures abroad in Sydney, Australia! Since my last update, a lot has happened to me in the land down under. I explored the northern beaches of Sydney, traveled to Melbourne to go to the Australian Open, and so much more.
Weekend #2: Koala Breakfast, Manly Beach, and Sydney Festival
As my weekly schedule has not changed since my first update, I'm going to just stick with my weekend highlights for these past three weeks.
My second week in Sydney started off with a bang with a private tour of the Wild Life Sydney Zoo in Darling Harbor. I got to get up close and personal with many of Australia's most famous animals, such as koalas and kangaroos. But more importantly, I got selfies with those said animals. The tour ended with a breakfast buffet surrounded by koalas which was definitely an experience I'll never forget. After, I checked out the Sydney Festival and walked through exhibits such as the ten-minute dance party.
I then spent the next two days of the weekend soaking in the sun at Manly Beach in North Sydney. I've included a map with Manly Beach below. To get to Manly, you have to take a thirty-minute ferry ride from the Central Business District (CBD), but it is well worth it. Manly is full of beaches, walkways, and restaurants, and it's a must-see for anyone visiting Sydney.
Lastly, I ended the weekend with a day at Coogee Beach at the Coogee Pavilion. The Pavilion has quickly become my one of my favorite spots in Sydney, and it boasts some of the best mojitos and day parties in Sydney.
If you haven't realized it already, Sydney is hands-down the coolest city in the world.
Weekend #3: Melbourne, Australia
My, oh my. During my third week in Sydney, I traveled outside of the city for the first time. While I still like Sydney more, Melbourne definitely gave Sydney a run for its money.
I flew into Melbourne on Wednesday night and returned on Saturday night. I traveled there with two friends that I met through my study abroad program - Dylan, a junior at Indiana University, and Hanna, a sophomore at Michigan State University.
To get things started in Melbourne, I tried ricotta hotcakes for the first time at Higher Ground - and I still drool thinking about them. We then walked around the Central Business District of Melbourne and checked out sites like Federation Square and Hosier Lane. We then headed out to the Rod Laver Arena for the Australian Open. Our tickets allowed us to watch the women's semi-finals matches, so we got to cheer on Caroline Wozniacki, Angelique Kerber, and Simona Halep. While the matches were incredible to watch, the grounds of the Australian Open were almost just as entertaining. There were stands full of food and games from every city with a major tennis tournament, and we definitely took advantage of everything. We ended the night at a speakeasy in a deserted alley near the Australian Open. It took us about twenty minutes to find the entrance, but it just added to the experience. Throughout the night, we were surrounded by drinks that steamed, caught on fire, and everything in between. A bucket-list bar, for sure.
On Friday, we changed the pace and checked out the arts scene in Melbourne. To start the day, we walked around Hardware Lane - a street full of Instagrammable cafes and shops. We then explored their Central Business District and celebrated Australia Day with a parade. Australia Day is a national celebration in Australia that marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the first fleet of British ships in Australia. While there is much controversy around the holiday, many Australians celebrate it like we celebrate the Fourth of July. After, we checked out the famous Brighton Bathing Boxes and toured the National Gallery of Victoria's contemporary art. Lastly, we ended our night with fireworks over Melbourne's harbor for Australia Day.
On Saturday, we started off the day with brekkie at Industry Beans. And it included the best cappuccino that I've ever had. Ever. We then walked around the "hipster" neighborhoods of Melbourne - Fitzroy and Carlton. We took advantage of all the shopping, food, and drinks that these neighborhoods have to offer, including a rooftop bar that overlooks the city of Melbourne called Naked for Satan. And to end the day, we chowed down on gelato from Pidapipo, which features Nutella on tap. Yes, you read that right.
I had an amazing time in Melbourne, and I'm definitely excited to plan another weekend trip before I leave in Sydney in June. If you're interested in my itinerary to Melbourne, feel free to reach out to me!
Weekend #4: Museum of Contemporary Art and Sydney Harbour National Park
As the millennials like to say, this was my first "chill" weekend abroad. While my study abroad has been one of the best times of my life, it has also been one of the most exhausting.
On Friday, I gave myself some time to recharge from all the hours I spent in class, at my internship, and at the speakeasy-like bar called Soda Factory that I went to the night before. I did this through sleep and, of course, brunch. I chowed down at The Concrete Jungle which is famous for their blue majik bowls - and they did not disappoint. However, I took advantage of the sunny weather on Saturday to explore the Museum of Contemporary Art and Sydney Harbour National Park. At the Museum of Contemporary Art, I got to see Pipilotti Rist's "Sip My Ocean" exhibit. If you ever have a chance to check out this exhibit, make it a priority to go. Trust me. Sydney Harbour National Park was a great place to just explore and soak in all of Sydney's beauty.
And that's a wrap of my first month in Sydney! It's crazy to think that I've already been here for that long, but I'm slowly starting to feel like I actually am living here.