Sunday, March 29, 2015

Balmoral Beach


Have I mentioned the beaches here? ‘Cause they are amazing. Sometimes it doesn’t seem possible that there are beaches as beautiful as this one only 10 minutes away. Pinch me, I must be dreaming!

Pete, Ash, and Anderson often go to the beach in the morning shortly after Anderson wakes up (read: as early as 6am sometimes). Usually I am still sound asleep...not much will get me out of bed before I absolutely have to be up. I’m not a morning person by a long shot! They come back with so many stories of how great the coffee was or how beautiful the view is or how lovely it is to be there when hardly anyone is around, etc. You get the point: they have a great time and I always miss out.

The Boathouse at Balmoral Beach
This time, I decided that it was worth checking out what the big fuss was about. Or maybe it was the fact that they promised me coffee and banana bread. Either way, I went and loved it.

coffee that's almost to pretty to drink. almost.

banana bread with honey, butter, and cheese
We munched on banana bread and enjoyed our cappuccinos with an awesome view at the Boathouse. Pete went for a swim and Anderson took a nap while we went for a walk and then we hung out for a bit: a good morning had by all.
brekky with a view

love this little munchkin so much
the sweet Malone family

all the excitement wore buggy out!

This time we didn’t go quite as early as they usually go, but I’m hooked now and will totally be joining them any time of morning that they go. Er, well maybe not before 7am. ;)

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Laneway

It didn’t take me long to find a favorite cafe and conveniently, it happens to be just a few short blocks from the apartment. Not only does this place have the best coffee, but they also have the most incredible muffins. As in so incredible I have to stop myself from going by the cafe more than once a day. The struggle is very real.

See! These muffins even look delish. Plus, some of them have chocolate mixed in with the berries. I mean, I have to keep going back just to increase my odds of getting a chocolate one. Or so I keep telling myself.

The cafes here have been a really nice change from my Starbucks routine back home. Don't get me wrong, I'm still all about Starbucks, but there's just something about the cafes over here. Sydney does cafe breakfasts + coffee really well in general. As the barista from The Laneway put it: "Seattle does coffee really well and breakfast really well, but there aren't many places that do coffee and breakfast together very well." Turns out she was confused and had actually visited Portland instead of Seattle. Either way, I feel like it applies to Seattle as well. While I have many favorite coffee shops (outside of Starbucks) and restaurants in Seattle, Sydney cafes just feel different. It's hard to describe so just come and visit to see what I mean. ;)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Exploring Sydney

I can’t believe I’ve been here nearly a month! Where does the time go?! I’d say it’s a good sign though. As ‘they’ say: time flies when you’re having fun. From the moment I landed in Sydney, life has been pretty busy, but definitely a good, fun busy. Here is a glimpse into my first few days exploring the city again:

A {new} friend from back home arrived in Sydney a couple days after I did, looking for someone to tour the city with. I had done the hop on, hop off tour bus when I was here almost 3 years ago and it was a lot of fun so we decided to spend a day doing that. It’s a fairly inexpensive, super convenient way to see the whole city. Plus, it’s a double decker bus: it doesn’t get much cooler than that! We spent a whole day riding the bus and probably could have used a couple more days just to get off and see everything. Sydney is definitely one of my favorite cities - so many fun things to see!

We stayed on the bus most of the time, but hopped off at a few places. Our first stop was Wooloomooloo (isn’t that name the best?!) where we grabbed lunch at the famous Harry’s Pies. They have the best meat pies.

We also hopped off at the Opera house. The view of the Harbour Bridge and Opera house never gets old. I’m pretty sure I already have a million pictures of the two landmarks and I’m sure I’ll only add a few million more in the next 8 months.

Our next hop off was Darling Harbour. We wandered around and grabbed some ice cream/sorbet. It seems there was a theme to most of our stops: food! Plus, it was really warm out so we needed to cool off somehow, right?!

One of our main goals was to get to Bondi Beach. Conveniently, the tour bus made a stop in Bondi. The beach is amazing, but it was starting to get late so we weren't able to stay long. I’ll definitely go back a time or two while I’m here!

The weather was amazing the whole day though. I even managed get to my first sunburn from sitting on the top deck of the bus. Gotta fit in with all the tan Aussies somehow...burning definitely put me ahead some. ;)

Day two was spent at the zoo! I’ve been to Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle a lot, but there is just something about visiting a zoo in a different country. One of my favorite things about the Taronga Zoo is that it is set on a hill across the water from the city. The views are amazing. One of the highlights in the actual zoo is the seal show. I saw it when I was here 3 years ago, but it’s definitely worth seeing multiple times. The seals are so awesome!

We got to see some Kangaroos up close, but they were sleeping and it was pretty much impossible to get a good picture. The Koalas were sleeping too, but they more interesting because they were sleeping propped up in trees! The giraffes at this zoo are my some of my favorites because it’s a two-for-one special: awesome animals & an amazing view. It doesn’t get much better than that!

After we finished at the zoo, we took the ferry to Circular Quay, which is right at the edge of the city. Ashley met up with us and we went out for dinner in the Rocks. Afterwards, we went to the Hyatt for tea since you can see the Opera house from inside. We felt pretty posh. ;) The Opera House at night is pretty cool though!

It was a great couple days exploring the city! It never gets old. So on that note: come and visit and I'll happily play tourist with you. :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

New Adventures

Hello there!

Welcome to my attempt to start blogging! I’ve thought about starting a blog for a while now, but I wasn’t sure how to start or what to make it about. When I decided to go to Australia, it seemed like the perfect time to finally start one. But here I am, nearly 3 weeks since I left Seattle and I’m just getting started. I still don’t really know what I want to make this blog about (aside from my traveling experiences), but I really want to make a go at documenting my time here and other random bits that come to mind.

In case you didn’t know, I arrived in Sydney, Australia about two and a half weeks ago to stay with my cousin Ashley, her husband Pete, and their adorable little baby boy, Anderson. I'll also have the opportunity to travel a lot, both around Australia and to random nearby countries. I’ve been here a couple of times before so it already feels a bit like home. I couldn’t be more thrilled to get to spend so much time with Ash (I’ve missed having her close by the past 9 years!) and to get to know Anderson and Pete even better. My plan is to stay until December, but who knows. I’m learning to be ok with not having a solid plan and just flying by the seat of my pants, so to speak. 2015 will be an adventurous year for sure!

One thing about leaving that I am really thankful for is how much my perspective changed during my last couple months in Seattle. Not only did I appreciate the city more (Seattle really is stunning. I’ve taken that for granted the past 24 years, that’s for sure.), but I realized how many amazing people I have in my life. I am so incredibly blessed to know so many great people and call you all my friends. It isn’t possible for me to fully put my feelings into words, but my heart is overflowing with love and appreciation for each and every one of you. If all I gain from this experience is to not take the people in my life for granted, it will be a year well spent.

Here’s to a new blog, a new adventure, and learning lots of new things!