Well that was a hell of a weekend.
Melissa came in Friday night, and after one too many bottles of wine (if that’s possible), Courtney went to sleep and Melissa and I decided to walk around Sydney in the middle of the night. Do you know what the Opera House looks like at 3:30am? I do.
Saturday morning was a little rough, but after a late start, we got our asses out of bed and headed back out onto the town. We got breakfast and wandered around Paddy’s Market for a while. Courtney and Melissa were looking for the perfect dress for Mardi Gras, while I was in search for the perfect hat for the rest of our trip. We’ve found a few that look good, but they weren’t the right price. The search continues. The girls, however, found exactly what they were looking for and only paid $10. Lucky.
We also bought tons of fresh veggies for dinner and another bottle of wine. While we’re on the subject of wine, I want the readers at home to realize how vastly different the price of alcohol is here in Australia. It’s true, things are more expensive here, but nothing so much as booze. It’s hard to get out of KFC for under $10, but you expect that and plan for it. To put it in perspective, a bottle of Jose is around $50. And beer? Forget it. Our friend got a 24 pack of Sierra Nevada for his birthday. How much did it cost you ask? $30? $40? $50!?! No. A case of Sierra Nevada is $76 in Australia. Local beer is a little cheaper, but if you can find a 12 pack for under $30, you’ve struck gold. Wine, however, is the exception. I think it’s because it’s the only thing they actually produce in quantity here, so you can still find a cheap bottle of wine for around $6, and that’s what we have been drinking.
Saturday night was pretty awesome. Courtney and I went to see the Sydney Mardi Gras Parade. And by Mardi Gras, I actually mean Gay Pride. I was not informed of this until we were already in Sydney, but I decided to play along and see what it was all about. It was enormous. The Mardi Gras Festival is the biggest Pride festival in the Southern Hemisphere. There were literally hundreds of thousands of people lining the streets to watch the parade. All around us were people in outlandish costumes. Some of them were classy and tasteful, some were not. We had a group behind us standing on milk crates with a bull horn, all dressed up like crazy super heroes and offering free hugs to anyone that wanted one. We also saw men in speedos and bowties. I’ll let you guess which group I appreciated more. All together, we had a blast, and I definitely recommend it to anyone that is in the mood for one hell of a party.
The next day we headed up to Darling Harbor and The Rocks to meander our way through the outdoor markets, all in search of the perfect breakfast. After many stops, we finally found exactly what we were looking for at Pancake on the Rocks. It’s like IHOP, but ten times as delicious. We split a giant order of banana and butterscotch pancakes, along with hashbrowns, sausage, fried eggs and grilled pineapple.
Afterwards, it was up onto the Sydney Harbor Bridge for amazing pictures back onto the harbor, the city, and the Opera House. After a failed attempt to sneak our way to the top of the Shangri-La Hotel and watching some street performers, we headed out to Manly Beach via the ferry.
Manly was amazing, but that might have something to do with the delicious sushi dinner and the wine we smuggled onto the beach in our water bottle. Water bottle wine is more delicious than regular wine. Don’t ask me why. I think it’s the risk factor.
Monday was our last day in Sydney, and we made the most of our time. We wandered around the city for a while, and ended up at the Customs House near the wharf. They have a giant model of the city underneath the glass floor, so we spent some time pointing out all of the places we had already been, and realized that we had actually seen most of the city by that time. We wandered our way down to the Hyde Park Barracks Museum, and I learned a lot more about the convict history surrounding the beginning of Australia. Very informative.
After that, we headed to one of Courtney’s old hangouts, 3 Wise Monkeys. Great pub where we dined on fish and chips, along with wedges and sweet chili sauce. Super delish. We caught our Greyhound bus soon after that for our 13 hour overnight ride to Byron Bay.
If the rest of Australia is anything like what we experienced in Sydney, this should be one hell of a trip.