Rachel Down Under!

Tour of a tour

Posted in Australia, Sydney by rssmith218 on August 24, 2010

When I was in elementary school, I used to have looped nightmares in which I attempted to reduce impossibly irreducible fractions (17/4 = ???); in college, I dreamt of circuitous protein pathways. Last night, I dreamed that I was trapped in a never-ending, Spanish-narrated tour of Sydney, which admittedly sounds much better than either of the previous two dream scenarios, but it still reveals me to be a huge nerd.

I believe this most recent dream is potentially indicative of two things:

1) I may have overdone myself as a Sydney tourist this past weekend, and

2) Maybe (hopefully) I am picking up a bit more Spanish?!?

Regardless of the amount of Spanish that Dream Rachel may or may not know, I have quickly learned that in my real-life, Spanish-speaking apartment, the only word that really matters is, cerveza, that is, beer!

The past couple days have been fun but busy, and I successfully fulfilled my weekend goal of seeing a bit more of Sydney. I spent Saturday wandering the Botanic Gardens and the surrounding area. Come along with me on this quick photo tour!

We begin in Hyde Park, a park that, unlike the Chicago neighborhood, actually offers what my Sydney guidebook terms, “a peaceful respite from the hectic streets”. You be the judge.

Don’t be fooled, though; I found my first Australian Starbucks lurking just around the corner…

Would you believe it if I told you that there are only 22 Starbucks coffeehouses in all of Australia? As a point of reference, check out this website, which creepily shows that Richmond, VA alone has waaaay more than 22 coffeehouses.

My labmate, Damo, who successfully managed and opened several stores of Australia’s own chain of Gloria Jean Coffee shops before becoming a marine biologist, suggests that perhaps Australians “just don’t need coffee the same way that Americans do.” Perhaps it’s just a matter of size. Australians don’t crave a Venti jumbo-size cup of coffee; instead they appreciate a small, cozy coffee shop and its associated charming features. For example, what do the friendly hummingbirds and butterflies that accompany the coffee on Gloria Jean Coffee’s homepage suggest about this business? What do Australians want?

Enough about coffee- back to my Sydney tour! From Hyde Park I traveled along Macquerie Street, a street that showcases many of Sydney’s oldest public buildings, hinting at Sydney’s “architectural heritage.” There are too many historic buildings along Macquerie Street for me to document here- St. Mary’s Cathedral lies next to St. James Church, followed by the Hyde Park Barracks, the Mint, the Parliament House, Sydney Hospital and the State Library of NSW. Rest assured that they are all beautiful, though here’s a quick taste:



From the State Library, I walked through the Domain, a wide open grassy space, to the Royal Botanic Gardens, my main destination for the day!

The Royal Botanic Gardens were awesome. Why?

1. Bats

2. This view

3. Look I’m a tourist!

I ended my day with a trip to the Art Gallery of New South Wales. I originally planned to explore the museum, but I was distracted by the café and after stuffing myself full of jam and cream, I headed home to the house of cerveza.

Mmmmm. The next morning….

Road trip! Ziggy takes me and the Chileans on a tour of Sydney’s Northern beaches. Some photographic highlights are below. I have to give credit to Gregorio for most of these photos!

The first beach, and my favorite beach of the day!

A picture of Gregorio taking a picture….maybe this picture?

Or this one?

Housemates (Pablo, Gregorio, Ziggy) + fish and chips for lunch!

6 or more beaches, several pubs, and by the end of the day I was ready to crash!

Long post, but there are so many adventures to document! I’m beginning to make progress on my lab work and today was my first day out in the field. However, an account of this work will have to wait for another day. I’m headed to Canberra tomorrow for a Fulbright Enrichment Program and I still have to pack! I swear I’ll talk about my research soon- it’s slowly coming together!


4 Responses

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  1. Lenore said, on August 25, 2010 at 4:56 am

    Oh, it all looks so beautiful! It is hard for me to think of it as being winter there! What do those bats eat? Fruit? Nectar? Little girls?
    I wanna go to Canberra and be wined and dine also!!

  2. PJ Wagner said, on August 25, 2010 at 7:17 am

    Looks like so much fun and I love that you’re out adventuring. Don’t miss a thing!

  3. Thomas said, on August 26, 2010 at 5:54 am

    Bats in the daytime? Beaches in the winter? Steering wheel on the right? Australia is a strange place. Also, judging from your photos, a very fun place.

  4. Lisa said, on August 26, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    It looks beautiful there! Just make sure you don’t wear yourself out too much before you get started on your research. And good luck on the Spanish. Is your high school French helping out any with that?

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