I must admit that I have a love affair with Sydney. It may well be the best city on Earth. For me, it symbolizes everything I love in a city. It’s big, has a lot of people, a lot of things to do. It has great beaches. It has good nightlife, restaurants, symbolic landmarks, and a real vibe and energy about it that only the best of the best cities around the world have. I am big on top five lists and Sydney is always in them if not at number one. I first went to Sydney in early 2003 and that is where my Australian odyssey began and I fell in love with a city and a country that I would love to live in some day. The infectious attitude and healthy lifestyles of the people who are warm, caring and fun to be around is what makes Australia great. Those same qualities plus the beauty, glitz and glam of Sydney make it the best city in the world and a true pleasure to visit.
This was my first time back in Sydney since the final time I was there in 2003 before I headed out to Fiji. I had two separate stints in Sydney this time and was keen to revisit some old favorite places, see some new parts of the city and visit some old friends. I was fortunate to be able to do all three even if just for short time.
I based myself in Darling Harbour (above) at the Four Points by Sheraton which has killer views of the harbor and the sunrise-I always wake up early and truthfully, I hardly sleep anyway. I was able to get to Sydney Harbour and catch some gorgeous views of the world famous Sydney Opera House and of course Harbour Bridge. Sydney Harbour is without a doubt the most beautiful harbor in the world and as picturesque as it gets. I guess Hong Kong would be up there as well but the scenery and the blue water and the gorgeous city behind it make it hard to beat.
I was also able to get out to Bondi Beach to meet a friend of mine for dinner whom I hadn’t seen since 2004. I think she was just happy to get out of the house because she recently had a baby and needed a break! We ate at an Asian fusion place called Mamasan across from the Beach Road Hotel and it’s infamous nightlife. The food was excellent albeit small portions and high prices but this is modern day Australia with a soaring dollar and a booming economy.
I was also able to get out to Manly Beach via the slow ferry that gives the absolute best views of Sydney and the harbor. I was excited to be able to take it and I thank my friend Erin who had previously taken it and a random Aussie tourist I met at the Lord Howe airport for telling me to take it as we had been discussing the views from the Staten Island Ferry. He had previously gone to Cornell University in upstate New York and said the Manly Ferry is the equivalent-I took the advice and it was great.
Manly is the only beach area of Sydney I didn’t get to stay in and explore during my long stay in 2003 so I was pumped to meet my other friend there for lunch at Hugo’s on the Manly Wharf. Again the food was excellent and it was so good to see my friend after 5 years. But the best part of Manly is the beach itself (above) and the cool town and promenade area. It is similar to Bondi but less touristy I felt. Also, it has a homelier feel to it and a cool vibe. Surf shops line the promenade and I was luckily able to get a new bathing suit at Billabong because my other got destroyed on Christmas Island in that damn scooter accident. I was going to need it for the Cook Islands and when I get back home.
So after two quick days in Sydney I find myself smitten again for the city that first captured my imagination way back when. It has a different feel than my other favorite cities like London, Paris and Barcelona. It doesn’t have the centuries old history or the mass of senses like New York has. It just is what it is and it doesn’t try to be anything else. It is simply the best city on Earth.