Friday, June 3, 2011

The rest of the MN crew's visit

It's been almost a month since Heather, Dave, Sara, and Rachelle left Oz so I figured I should finally finish the blog about their visit before I forget all the fun we had!

After New Zealand we spent 5 days in Sydney.  This was my 3rd time in Sydney but I think it was probably my favorite!  I saw lots of new things - and being surrounded by lots of my favorite people didn't hurt either!

Paddington Market
My cousin Rachel met up with Kelly and I on Saturday morning when we arrived in Sydney.  Even though it was raining we venture out to Paddington Market.  This market is great!  Its not your typical tourist market.  Tons of vendors selling cute jewelry, paintings, etc.  I didn't buy anything but I can't wait to go back!

A Night on the Rocks
The rest of the crew at our posh Marriott hotel on Saturday evening.  Kelly, Rachel and I were well rested after our afternoon nap so we were ready to go!  We all got dressed up and headed out to the Rocks.  I would post some pictures but I don't think Rachel wants her mother to see any of them :)

All in all the night was great, however we did discover a few things about going out in Sydney:
1.  The lines at the bar are HUGE, but that doesn't mean the bartenders work any faster
2.  You cannot buy shots after 12:30 (Judy - Rachel did not try to buy any shots we only heard this from fellow bar patrons)
3.  Lady security guards are ruthless....they won't let you in no matter how sober you are!

A real conversation between me and the DJ at the first club we went to:
Me:  Do you have any Ke$ha?
DJ:  (shakes his head no)
Me:  Do you have any Rhianna?
DJ:  (shakes his head no)
Me:  Do you have any Katy Perry
DJ:  (shakes his head no)
Me:  Do you have anything that people actually like?
DJ: (shakes his head no)
Me to Kelly:  We need to leave, I think I'm going to get kicked out of here

Luckily Kelly was able to sweet talk her way into the Lowenbrau Hotel.....where they actually played all our favorite songs! (and the line at the bar was much shorter!)

Easter Sunday
Having a cousin who is a local is very good for finding good places to eat.  Rachel recommended "Pancakes on the Rocks" to us, which we decided sounded like the perfect Easter brunch.  The savoury and sweet pancakes were both amazing - I'd recommend this place to everyone.

After brunch we caught the bus to Bondi.  Although it wasn't a very warm day it was at least sunny so we got a lot of great pictures of this beautiful beach.

After hanging out at the beach for a bit we decided to do the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk. I've been to Bondi before but never done this 6 km walk.  It was beautiful!!  The walk is pretty easy and there are tons of places to stop and take pictures.  As we were walking I immediately thought that my mom would definitely love this.  I'm crossing my fingers for a sunny day when my mom is in Sydney later this month.  I already told her I'm making her do this walk!

Zoo and Aquarium
Kelly and I opted out of the Sydney bridge climb on Monday morning and instead we decided to meet Belinda and the Adelaide girls at the Torango Zoo (another first for me).  This zoo definitely has the best view I've ever seen.  We took a ferry from Circular Quay to the zoo and then took a sky safari to the zoo entrance.  (I was nervous the sky safari was a chair lift but luckily it was gondolas (I have a very strange fear of chair lifts). 

Picture stolen from Katie's facebook page :)
It was great to see Belinda and her friends.  We had met Sarah, Katie, Jess, and Ezzy in Adelaide so it was fun to see them again.  We also met their friend Zoe who had recently moved to Sydney and they were visiting for the weekend!  All together these may be the funniest girls I know - I think I laughed all day!
I think he was pretty cute - until he pooped into his own hand.  I walked away after that - not sure what he did with it!

After the zoo Kelly and I met up with the rest of our group at the Sydney aquarium (another first!).  I actually don't know the last time I have been to an aquarium anywhere.  I think I need to find some more to go was great!

After the zoo we decided we needed to fit in with the rest of the population and go to the pub!  It was ANZAC Day (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) which means everyone was drinking....and there were lots of men in uniform.  We found some couches at a bar on Darling Harbour and enjoyed watching other people drunkenly making foolds of themselves on the dance floor at 5 PM (I even more enjoyed that I was not one of them!)

I can't think of many vacations with Belinda that did not involve karoake.  After our full day of animal viewing we met up with Belinda and gang again at a Ding Dong Dang karoake.  So much fun!

Belinda and I wow'ing everyone with our vocal abilities.  I think we got a perfect score
Last Day in Sydney
We completed the Sydney portion of the trip with a walk through the royal botanical garden, LOTS of pictures of the opera house and harbor bridge, and a bus tour around Sydney including stops at the fish market and Chinatown

Sydney vs. Melbourne
Kelly and I spent most of the time in Sydney comparing Sydney to Melbourne.  Here's a rundown of what we came up with:

1) Better beaches (seriously that coastal walk was gorgeous)
2) They played Ke$sha - Kelly has been requesting "your love is my drug" at every bar in Melbourne and the first bar to actually play it was the Lowenbrau Hotel in Sydney.  However, we have since taken this point back when a bar on Brunswick St. in Melbourne also played it for us!

1) Restaurants!  You don't have to walk far in Melbourne to find a restaurant, cafe, sushi stand, etc. We were staying at the Marriott in Circular Quay and struggled to find something to eat besides the McDonald's on the corner (which we did hit up after our night in the Rocks).
2)  Public transporation - I would much rather ride a tram than a bus!  Plus I felt like the trains were so slow in Sydney
3)  Bars!  I've never been denied a shot after a certain time or been told their "scouter" spotted us walking down the street and wouldn't let us in.  Seriously - that night we were SOBER!

I know we had more but this is what happens when I wait a month to write my blog.  Overall though, Kelly and I found Melbourne to be the clear winner in the comparison.  Sydney is an awesome place to visit but I think we are both happy in our choice to live in Melbourne!

I left Sydney on Tuesday night to head back to Melbourne for a 3 day work week while the rest of the group went to Port Douglas for 5 days :(

Once everyone got to Melbourne Kelly and I both had to work so we didn't have a lot of time to show them around.  While we were working they saw the Great Ocean Road, Phillip Island, and Yarra Valley Wineries.

On Thursday night we showed them a few bars around Melbourne including the James Squire Brewhouse and the Croft

Shots from a syringe at the Croft
 Friday we did a laneways tours around the city and the went to a Melbourne Rebels rugby game.

Laneways tour
RK and I cheering on the Rebels

It was so much having our friends visit and showing them why we love Australia so much!  I think its safe to say they all had a good time - even if they spent a little too much money (Memories are priceless).  I think I was the most homesick I've been after saying goodbye to our friends, but I have more visitors to look forward to soon - and lots more of Australia to explore!

Kelly and I are sad our friends are gone :(

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