I’ve got a fever, a wanderlust fever – a strong desire to explore the world. I’ve always loved to travel but have always limited myself and my family to going to the same familiar places. But that all changed in 2014. In the US alone, I had an opportunity to go to New York City quite a few times that it began to feel like my second home. I also visited New Jersey, Washington D.C., Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina – all due to the demands of my job. We kicked up our vacation in high gear and explored Italy (Milan, Venice, Florence, Pisa, Lake Como), and France (Paris). Later that summer, we also took the kids to Kauai on a two-week summer vacation. Also within that same year, Nancy and I went back to Europe, this time we explored, London, Budapest, and Prague. It was during this trip when I came across this quote from the Dalai Lama, “Once a year, go some place you’ve never been before.” So by the end of 2015, I think we succeeded quite a bit.
Fast forward to 2016. We returned to Maui in June/July. A few weeks later, we took a three-week vacation back to Europe and for the first time, we all visited Lisbon, Barcelona, and
Madrid. Lastly, we returned to Paris for the third time. Now here we are, just barely two months later, we traveled on the other side of the world, and now we’re in Australia. Another new place we’ve never been to. So to the Dalai Lama, thanks for the reminder, and we did exactly what you just said.
We had an 8am flight out of Melbourne International Aiport to Sydney. We had quite a few choices. We could walk five minutes to the nearest tram, and then take a bus from Southern Cross Station, or we could take a cab, or Uber. We opted for Uber. It’s always so much cheaper to take Uber especially when there’s more than one in your party. We left the Southbank apartment at 6am and made it to MEL by 6:30am. We had a smooth flight of 55 minutes. Uneventful. Upon arrival, we opted to take Uber once more from the airport to our AirBNB apartment in Surry Hills. The other option was to take a train that will drop us off at Central Station plus walk to the apartment. Uber dropped us off directly in front of the apartment building.
AirBNB Homerun in Sydney– my AirBNB rule of thumb is to find a listing with lots of great reviews. However, there were a couple of times when there were only 1-2 reviews since the listings were still new. In that case, I made sure to communicate with the owner and base my decision on their responsiveness.
Grace, the apartment hostess, has a wonderful two-bedroom apartment in desirable Surry Hills. She responded quickly to my inquiries. Our check-in was scheduled at 1pm but she allowed us to check in earlier. The pictures online were so beautiful but seeing the place in person was far better. We met Grace and Greg. They welcomed us, showed us around, made us feel extremely comfortable. I couldn’t believe it – the place could be featured in a magazine. But to top that off, it was their hospitality that was top notch. Our bedroom was very spacious. We have our own private bathroom. We were home!
Another reunion took place for the rest of the afternoon. Nancy was like my United Nations Ambassador. She has a friend in every little corner of the world. This time it was meeting with another college friend, Ria. They, too, have not seen each other for so many years. Nancy moved to the US while Ria ventured out to Saudi Arabia to pursue nursing, and later, settled in Australia. We also met her family, Gus, and little, Ruben. It was a busy afternoon for all of us. We first had lunch at Chur burger in Surry Hills. We then ventured off towards Hyde Park, Darling Harbour, Queen Victoria Building, and finally, a little landmark known as the Sydney Opera House. Gus gave us a tour and added little bit of history with the conversation. It was a packed afternoon, lots of walking, and wonderful conversation with Ria’s family. Thanks, Ria, Gus, and Ruben, for the dinner, and for being our tour guides during our first few hours in Sydney. Hope to see you again soon.
We were all so tired from all the excitement from today and we decided to call it a day. Tomorrow, more adventures in Sydney.