What do you do when your best mate visits you in Australia… for three days?? You JAM-PACK those three days with Sydney’s best and beautiful places! Autumn may have thought she was just coming to visit Mo and me, but she got a whole lot more. She got to experience Australia.
I am so grateful that this blog has allowed friends and family in the U.S. to keep up with our time here, but as much as I hate to admit it, this blog doesn’t allow you to truly experience Australia. It is just a small glimpse into our lives. Pictures can’t fully capture the culture, the people, the sights, the beautiful accents, the smell of espresso on every corner, the hustle and bustle of the CBD, or the relaxed atmospheres at the cafes. I can only hope that one day you get to experience it for yourself!
That is why Autumn’s visit meant so much. While it was great to see a familiar face, it was just so wonderful to share and experience our life here with someone we love.
Day 1: Bondi Beach
There’s no better place to be on an 80 degree fall day! We got lunch at The Bucket List and flat whites for take away to enjoy on the beach. (Side note: I remember seeing the Aussies with their hot coffee on the beach in summer and thought they were crazy… Not anymore!!) We explored the shore at low tide, found starfish, crabs, a dead Port Jackson shark, talked to a couple guys spear fishing, and a man taking the “meat” out of sea urchins… (the picture with the scrambled egg looking thing). And yes, we actually did eat it!! Autumn requested kangaroo burgers for dinner, which Mo and I did our best to make taste somewhat good! After a day of eating sea urchin and kangaroo, we ended Autumn’s first night with a delicious scoop of gelato.
Day 2: Sydney Royal Botanical Gardens, Featherdale Wildlife Park and the Rocks
After getting a bit of a sleep in, we woke up and went on a run to the Botanic Gardens, stopping at Hyde Park and at the Anzac Memorial along the way. I run this route often, but being able to share it with Autumn was particularly special! It made me realize that I take for granted the beautiful things I see on a daily basis. The birds, trees, flowers and spiders all fascinated her and gave me a renewed excitement as well (minus the spiders)!
I had told Autumn all about the coffee culture here, so her expectations for breakfast were high. A flat white and almond croissant for me, and an apple crumble scroll and caramel macchiato for her. Even with high expectations, breakfast did not disappoint.
We took off for Featherdale Wildlife Park, with a Monster in hand (typical!). This isn’t the closest zoo to us, but I had heard great things about it, mostly because of the ability to interact with the animals. We got to feed (and take selfies with) wallabies, touch a koala, pet cockatoos, and even kiss kangaroos!
We ended our second night with walking to the Rocks (one of the oldest and most historic neighborhoods in Sydney) for dinner at Sydney’s oldest pub brewery and a great view of the Opera House.
Days 3-4: Autumn flew to Cairns and went scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef
Day 5: Paddington Market, church at Hillsong, and MY BIRTHDAY!
I absolutely LOVE Paddington Markets. There are heaps of stalls with local artists, bakers and live music. Autumn tried a homemade sausage roll and I couldn’t resist the berry scroll (that was as big as my face).
After the Market and church, the birthday celebrations began! We ate an amazing Italian dinner at Bar Reggios, followed by drinks and dancing at El Loco. We even met another girl from Chicago who was also celebrating her birthday! We insisted on free birthday churros, and I’m happy to say that we got them.
Day 6: My birthday!
The next morning, we said goodbye to Autumn at the airport, and Mo took me straight to my favorite cafe for a birthday breakfast. I was faced with the near impossible decision of what to get, but we finally decided on a chocolate croissant and the brekky combo (you create your own combo from their homemade granola, muesli, bircher, fresh fruit, yoghurt, berries, and rhubarb compote!)… and you guessed it, flat whites. The birthday celebrations continued by walking the Coast Walk from Bondi to Bronte Beach, fresh squeezed lemonade and fresh flowers from the Bondi Market, an amazing dinner at a yacht club overlooking the Sydney Harbor Bridge, and a surprise tiramisu from my boss the next day. The best part? Mo got me an espresso machine of my very own! (It’s a win-win-win. Coffee for me, coffee for Mo, less money spent on coffee!)
I will admit that I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of spending my birthday “away from all of my family and friends” this year, but I can honestly say that this birthday was one of the most special and memorable birthdays I will ever have. Not only did I get to celebrate it twice (first here and then a day later in America!), but I did end up being able to spend it with friends… old and new. What an amazing blessing.
This week has been one for catching up and preparing for our next visitor… MY SISTER! Mo, Anna and I are off to New Zealand next week, and then she will be staying an additional week in Sydney. Can you tell I’m excited?????!!
2 thoughts on “Best Mates and My Birthday”
Paula, I’m so happy you guys are getting visits from loved ones – even so far away! It definitely makes you appreciate friendships all the more. Glad to see that your Australian adventures are still keeping you busy 🙂