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Sloggs' Travel Blog A journal of my travels in 2008 & beyond...

On to Sydney...

AUSTRALIA | Tuesday, 1 April 2008 | Views [1443]

Me at the Sydney Opera House

Me at the Sydney Opera House

My flight from Bangkok to Sydney had a pleasant surprise in store... I had been upgraded to Qantas's new 'Premium Economy' for the flight! I believe this was due to blind luck, as they are finishing their trails of it before they start selling tickets for it in April. It is basically like Business class without the mahuuuusive leg room in front of you (too much that you don't know what to do with it all). It is very comfy indeed and had the TV system which you can pause, fast forward, rewind etc and lots of new films and TV programs to watch. I was handed a glass of champagne when seated and happily settled in to watch I Am Legend, which I enjoyed (Will Smith actually brought a tear to my eye, good work fella!) and then No Country For Old Men, which was engaging, but I don't think I really got what Tommy Lee Jones character was all about towards the end... This was only interrupted by a top notch meal from the crew (and another couple of glasses of shampoo of course... who was I to turn down such hospitality!)

The immigration was interesting in so much as the level of security they have to stop people bringing in animal/fruit/veg/virus! Even more interesting was the fact that I completely ignored the pre-flight stuff about bottles etc and left them in my bag, only to be searched in Bangkok before the flight, by a guy who put one hand in my bag and declared it fine and then the same thing happening at the Aussie end... ah well good job I'm not a terrorist or vegetable smuggler huh! ;-)

After picking up my luggage I went to the train station and bought a green travelpass which entitles me to bus, ferry and train travel in the centre and surrounding areas. It was $43 which isn't bad value as long as you use it well.

I then went on the train, into town to find one of the big hostels in the centre to stay at. The first one I saw (which I'd read about in my travel guide) was the big central YHA place, and inside it looked very nicely maintained and the staff were sound, so I booked one night and went to find my dorm room. Accomodation here in Aus is expensive compared to Asia, so I'll use mostly shared dorms here I expect, until I get fed up with it and then will have a few days in the more expensive private rooms. The whole place is very well organised and the rooms comfy and secure with lockers for your bags too. Its all shared bathrooms, and they are nice too. My first impression was so good that I went back downstairs and bought the YHA membership, which entitles me to a discounted rate all over Aus and New Zealand in these places, plus lots of discounts on tours and entries to attractions, and I booked a few more nights. I also used the travel shop attached to the hostel to book a Harbour Bridge walk and a day trip to the Blue Mountains.

By the time I'd done all this it was still before midday, and I was on Bangkok time and had only had about 4 hours kip... I was tired already! I was determined to stay awake though, to try and force myself into Sydney time tomorrow! I went out and walked for several hours all over the city with my free map from the hostel. I went through the Chinese district and some parks to the Aquarium which was pretty good and then I took a ferry from Darling Harbour to Circular Quay, which is the central ferry and train port in the harbour, taking in views of the bridge and Opera house in the process.

The Bridge and the Opera house are quite breath taking things to see in the flesh. I hung around the Opera house area for a while as there is plenty going on. I also took one of the 'essential tours' of the Opera house, with a very knowledgable guide who told us all about how it was conceived and built and showed us around the structure from the inside. The exterior concrete structure was build first, and was the part designed by the Danish Architect Jorn Utzon, with its shells as inspriration. The inside was build later and is made entirely of wood and stands inside the concrete shell with a space all the way around it. Quite an impressive building! We also got to see inside the main concert hall, which is awesome too, with its massive pipe organ with over 10,000 pipes in its construction, and the roof shaped to push the sound to the back of the auditorium.

After a hearty meal of a huge home made beef burger and salad for $8 (lush!) I got the train back to my hostel and chilled there for a bit, reading the info and advertising boards in the hostel, before crashing out about 10pm for some well earned sleep!!

No rush to get up tomorrow, Bridge climb at 11:35am...

All of my pics so far are on photobucket, and a few on facebook for those that use it

Tags: planes trains & automobiles, sightseeing, walking

 

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