As I’ve said before, having a mere 48 hours in any city is hardly ideal, but sometimes the reality is that it’s all you have and you simply have to roll with it. I knew before even touching down in Sydney for the first time this summer that it was going to be far from enough time to squeeze in all I aimed to do, but managed to put my turbo-speed TOMS on and knock out a good deal of the tourist attractions and now can enjoy my next visit to Australia in local style. (Because, oh yes, there will be a return visit—and hopefully sooner rather than later!)
Our transpacific flight arrived from San Francisco at 6am, and Kirsten, Jennie and I went straight to the Four Seasons to check in. It took awhile for our rooms to be ready that early in the morning, but once they were, it was worth the wait. We’d all been given corner rooms with views of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.
I’m pretty sure it doesn’t get better than this (although a little sun would probably enhance the picture). This was the panaroma at night:
Not to mention, the rooms themselves were quite a treat. I’d stayed in a couple Four Seasons stateside before and was never too impressed—I found those in particular to be a bit generic and lacking in character—but not the Four Seasons Sydney. This place was spectacular, located right in the pulse of the city, in The Rocks district.
From there, we followed the trail of every tourist who has come before us. We wandered down the cobblestone ways of the Rocks until we were sandwiched between the bridge and the Opera House.
We continued along the harbour waterfront at Circular Quay, and Jennie and Kirsten indulged me by posing in silly photos.
We stopped in front of the actual Opera House to admire the architecture (and reflections). We tried to get tickets to a show, but failed given that we had only two nights in town.
Then, after walking some more and finding ourselves in no man’s land, we hopped a cab out to the Paddington area. I had a feeling based on its name alone, that I might become immediately smitten with Paddington. My assumptions weren’t false.
Sure, there’s the stellar shopping, which always appeals to a girl with an addiction (i.e. me). But behind Oxford Street, there’s a trove of quaint New Orleans-style flats, complete with balconies and wrought-iron railings, just waiting for SVV, me and Ella to move in.
The reason I’ve waited so much of my life to start exploring Australia is that I’ve always known it would feel like a second home—or like somewhere I can’t get away with not living at some point in my life. This theory held true. I’d see a supermarket and ponder, “this is where I could buy all my groceries!” or have a delicious lunch at Tiger Mottle and think, “I could be a regular here!” In my state of never-ceasing wanderlust, I see myself living in many cities—Munich, Berlin, Paris, Zurich—but none quite as strong as my attraction to Sydney.
We had a very early flight to Tasmania the following morning, so that night we had a casual dinner at the Four Seasons’ restaurant, and my friend Carla joined us for dessert. Carla and I met in Prague five years ago and have kept up ever since (thanks, Facebook!). She and her partner-in-crime Hanna, both fashion designers, came to visit me in Holland, but it’s been several years since our paths have crossed in the right way. They’ve gone to NYC a few times for work, but after I left for the West Coast. They were both recently in LA—just two days after I’d flown through there. As luck would have it, Hanna moved to London three weeks before I finally made good on my promise to one day visit them in their town. But Carla was still around.
Due to my tremendous jetlag—36 hours and going strong by this point—we ditched the plan of heading to a bar and, instead, took advantage of my cushy suite, the free cheese and wine and—let’s not forget—the views.
On the 24 hours I had back through Sydney, several of them were spent in the Qantas Control Center, so I never made it out to walk the loop at Bondi. Next trip. Nor did I get out to Manly Island, which I was told was a must-do by many Sydney residents. The weather was so stormy then, I’m not sure I would have chosen to brave either of them even if time had allowed. Instead, I took a long stroll around the downtown Sydney area, passing through the many arcades (or open-air shopping malls) to shield myself from the cold. And, OK, buy a few things too, if you must know.
We were meant to have dinner that night at Neil Perry’s highly-acclaimed restaurant Rockpool, but a friend called in a favor and got us a harbour-front table at Quay instead, which apparently is very difficult to get in. If you’ve seen Date Night, we were received much how Steve Carrell and Tina Fey were treated when they tried to get a reservation at Claw. You’d never know we were forking over $350 a person for food and wine based on the way the GM and waitstaff acted.
But c’est la vie. The snootiness of the employees gave us something to laugh about profusely, and our resident jokester Marc finally managed to lighten the mood when he grabbed our stone-faced waitress and twirled her around the room. I do think she actually emitted a chuckle. A success story on our final night of the trip if ever there were one.
Now who wants to take me back to Sydney with them? My bags are packed!