Picasa pics here.
Day 3 - To Brisbane
We finally caught the flight to Brisbane late in the afternoon, and we arrived at Brisbane airport at dusk. After arranging our transport to the city center we were faced with a problem: no hotels! It was a Friday night during Easter weekend, and all places were booked full. I must have called a dozen backpackers hostels before our bus arrived, but they were all fully booked... Arriving at the city center the bus driver suggested a couple of places, so we walked there, but alas. Full. Finally, one of the backpackers recommended us a cheap bed and breakfast hotel nearby, and finally we were in luck. We managed to get an overpriced tiny room, but at least we had something.
The next morning we went out and ended up in a marching band contest right away. Entertaining, but we were trying to go to an observatory nearby, so we had to find our bus stop, and took a bus there. Unfortunately, because of Easter, the place was closed. We walked around a bit in the botanical gardens that were open that day, and then we took another bus to go to a koala park. That was really great, and we saw a lot of kangaroos, koalas and emus. We managed to get back in Brisbane well before sunset, so we had a nice time walking around in the city and along the riverbed before taking a train back to the airport. On to Sydney!
And Sydney it is. Fortunately we had already booked our accommodation before going to Australia, so we were looking forward to an easy first night in Sydney. I will never forget my first impression of the city. We got out of the train, at the time not knowing that we got out at the wrong station, and tried to find our way around. The area we were in looked truly terrible to me. Old crappy buildings, lots of graffiti. And a lot of young people of the less nice kind around. Suddenly we heard a terrible screeching of tyres, and then a car came racing around a corner, a young guy half hanging out of the window, screaming "motherf*cker". This is the image of Sydney in my mind. Crappy, dangerous, unsafe and dirty.
The backpackers hostel we were staying at didn't do much to help change my opinion. When we found it after a bit of searching it turned out to be the most crappy place I stayed at during the trip. We shared a room with 2 other people. There were 2 bunk beds and we had the top 2 beds. Normally not a problem but these beds were falling apart just by looking at them. When I was trying to get up the bed changed from a rectangular shape to a trapezoid. I was afraid to move for the whole night. Maybe I'm just being cautious, but I didn't particularly trust the room(mates), so I slept with my backpack on the bed. Did I mention that the room was full of mess from the guy who was full-time living there? Well, there ya go. He took the liberty of using my clean bed-sheets too. Nice...
After that I didn't expect anything anymore from Sydney. Which made the next day all the more exciting. Traveling through Sydney during daylight, and going in the direction of the nice buildings and not the crappy backpackers hostels really shows a different side of the city. I can best describe it as a theme park. It's like Disneyland: bright colors everywhere, lots of shops, and some attractions. I started my walk at Hyde park and went north from there, towards a cathedral, the big park of which I don't remember the name, and the opera house. It's quite an impressive city. Many tall buildings, many parks. Many people jogging or cycling. It's a very green city too. The park (royal botanical gardens! that was the name) was amazing. It's so nice to see grass! It wasn't too busy, and I took a very leisurely walk around the park, finally stopping at a bench to sit down for a while. I fell asleep for 2 hours.
Waking up again, I walked to the far side of the park where I got a great view of the bridge and the opera house. That's the one thing in Sydney nobody should miss when they're there, and I didn't miss it. I'm not particularly proud of the pictures I took, since every tourist makes one from that spot, but at least I saw it with my own eyes. From there I walked back through the park to the government building and the opera house. I walked around the circular quay area but it was way too touristic, so I walked back to the hostel through the other side of the city, and did some souvenir shopping on the way. All in all it was quite a relaxing day.
Coming back to the hostel I had to do laundry o_0 I didn't bring enough clothes for the whole trip so a laundry job in the middle of the trip was necessary. It didn't quite go that well... Washing the clothes in the washer went fine, but none of the dryers worked, so when we left the next morning my clothes were still wet...
Next: From Sydney to Melbourne on the wrong side of the road! Kangaroos beware :D