We are going down under! For the first time we both traveled south of the equator. How exciting!

I was the first to go, JJ was supposed to join up later... but more about that in a bit. At my work place we were working together with a group of the New South Wales government on a Certification Program for Researcher that handle biospecimens. As the leading developer on the project I was invited to talk about it at the launch event.

Lets just say it go as planned for JJ. The first days I was traveling by myself, then she was supposed to join me from China, where she was stying with her parents. Sadly she didn't receive her visa in time, so she was not allowed to come and had to stay with her parents. For this reason I was exploring the city by myself the first week (where I also experienced the worst storm in 40 years firsthand).


Sydney Town Hall
Sydney Town Hall on a sunny day
Sydney Birdcage Alley
This is an installation called Forgotten Songs. There are 110 empty bird cages in total suspended high in the air that play the songs of fifty birds that once lived in central Sydney before the colonization and urbanization of the area. The sounds even change during day and night.
Left: Installation in the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Those are bats hanging upside down, notice also the drops at the bottom. Right: Artwork in the Museum of Contemporary Arts. The exibition dealt with refugees.
Chinese Garden
Walk through the Chinese Garden in the middle of Sydney

JJ arrives

So here is the backstory: We both thought this was not working out for her. JJ couldn't take the flight to Sydney because of the missing visa and her flight back was already booked. The visa did arrive by the time her flight back was, but it seemed all a bit too late. Then on the airport came the big relevation: she wasn't allowed to take her flight back to Vancouver, because she missed the flight to Sydney and back, which was part of her itinary. She was also informed that if she wants to book a single flight back now it would cost $2000. That got her thinking: Pay that much money for a single flight or use the same money to extend the trip more. You can guess the answer ... :)

View from Sydney Tower
View from the Sydney Tower Eye towards East. The tower has a total height of 309m
Waiting for Godot
JJ is waiting

VIVID Sydney

One special event that we were lucky enought to experience was the VIVID Sydney festival. It's a 23-day festival of light, music and ideas with public exhibitions of outdoor lighting sculptures and installations all over the city.

VIVID Museum
View of the Museum of Contemporary Arts during the VIVID festival
VIVID Opera House
View of the Opera House during the VIVID festival
One local specialty among the beers is the 150 Lashes Pale Ale. It got its name from the brewmaster James Squire, who was brewing the first batches of beer in the colony and was caught stealing ingredients from the stores. His sentence was 300 lashes: 150 now and the remaining at a later time of his choosing..


One day we felt even more adventurous than usual and took a trip to Manly that included a hike along the beach and a ghost tour.

Manly Seanic Walk
Manly Seanic Walk along the beach. The walk takes about 3 hours from a bridge where the bus stops to the town.
Ghost Tour
Picture from the Ghost tour. The tour was held in an area that was used as a Quarantine Station for new arrivals to Sydney in the past. We walked through showers where newcommer had to wash themselfes in something that would be considers acidic nowadays and many other places with a spooky vibe and some good stories

Blue Mountains

One excursion we did, and that is highly recommended for a visit to Sydney, was to the Blue Mountains. We took the train 2 hours inland an arrived in a smaller town where we set out for a hike.

Three Sisters and Stairs
Left: Part of the Three Sisters, a iconic mountain formation. Right: Walking down a steep stairway, that was cut into the stone to the bottom of the mountain
This is the steepest trainride worldwide that also goes underground. A thrilling experience and also prefered over the alternative of walking back up the mountain by foot


Here are pictures of some of the desserts we had during our stay:

Strawberries and Chocolate
Strawberries and Chocolate at Max Brenner
Apple Crumble with Ice Cream
Apple Crumble with Ice Cream at the Sydney Dance Lounge
Sweet Malaysian Roti
Crepe with Banana and Ice Cream
Crepe with Banana and Ice Cream at Max Brenner

Till next time :)

JJ and Alex