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Day 42 “Here I Go” (Wednesday 17th April 2013)

Today was the day I would be leaving and believe it or not I was pretty ready. Bag was pretty much packed and clothes ready to get dressed into, but I still wanted to wake up early just in case. Avril woke me up at about 9am but I didn’t actually get out of bed until 9:40 when I had a shower then made my last minute packing adjustments. I then ate some breakfast, cleaned my teeth and that was it, time to leave Avril and Peter in peace!

I said good bye and thanks to Peter as Avril took me to the airport (I would have let that car journey go on forever… I was so nervous) and once in the airport I realised just how heavy my backpack was as I checked it in. (It was 15.4kg and was only meant to be 15kg but I got away with it which I’m surprised about because Jetstar usually charge for anything!) Avril came right to my gate, (through the sensors which I didn’t even think was allowed- but apparently you can for domestic flights here) where I then said good bye and thanks to Avril and that was it I was on my own… Here goes nothing!

The flight (when it finally got called- we left about 30 minutes late) wasn’t to bad, slight turbulence but the flight was over just as it was beginning I did manage to write some diary though. Once in Sydney I though I’d go looking for the Hostel even though it wouldn’t open til 4pm but it was nearly 3pm because of the delayed flight. I also made a slight mistake in the airport and found myself at departures instead of the trains. (Departures upstairs Train were down… Easy mistake!) Then at the trains I had to pay to leave the airport, about $15 and then I bought a multi card for a week, which means I can use as much public transport in Sydney (Ferry, bus, train, light rail and tram) for the week and that was only $40.

Getting on the train was easy at the airport but I then had to know where I wanted to stop so I began to use the saved files I had on my tablet while on route. I found the station I needed Central but that was a minefield of lines so it took me a minute to discover what platform I needed- think there was 25 ish to chose from. The trains here were double storied so you go in and can go up or down from there, it wasn’t too busy so I had a seat and from central made it to Kings Cross. (has a bit of a reputation for being sleazy) When there I turned out of the station and walked along the street a bit finding a McDonalds where I planned to use their free wi-fi. Unfortunately it wouldn’t work so I just had some food instead and decided to use my phone for Google maps and find the hostel. It was the opposite way I had walked from there station and then the opposite side the road to where I looked but after crossing the busy crossroad 3 times (3 sides of the square as the 4th wasn’t available) to get to the hostel I had made it! By the time I got there is was about 4:30pm so I checked in and went to see my room, there was a slight feety smell but nothing I can’t deal with. When I arrived there were 2 girls inside how said hello but that was it, (I later realised they weren’t English or even speaking it to each other) I then sent a few texts, whatsapps and a Facebook update to let people know I had made it… They were all telling me to go out and explored so I took there advice and headed to the one place I’d heard of, Sydney opera house.

I headed back to Kings Cross station and headed back to central where I got around the minefield again, also to make things a bit harder it was now rush hour though and people finishing work flooded the trains. I had a seat not that I really needed it for the few stops up to circular quay. As I exited the train the opera house was in front of me and I couldn’t believe I was seeing it, I was in a state of shock and happiness but I managed go get a few photos and asked a couple to snap a picture of me there too. I then decided to walk around to Sydney Harbour bridge, so excited down to the street and snapped loads photos while walking alone the quay. I meet some people that helped me take picture and the second couple (elderly- best people to ask to have your photo taken) had been to Australia loads so I asked where to go and what to see they recommended Bondi beach and a fort where the convicts were kept. It then transpired the husband was originally from England (some where near where I live) and that they had lived in many countries like England, Australia, Canada and now live in Florida.

After this I carried on along the quay taking photos and videos, then some joggers went past so I thought they would be doing a bridge run and followed them. (there was hundreds going past the whole time) I walked for miles before realising they weren’t doing a bridge run, on the upside I did have photos of the opera houses from all sorts of angles. I then took the decision to go looking for a route onto the bridge and I finally got up high enough but was the wrong side to walk so had to walk a really long way around just to find the footpath. Just as I was getting close it looked like you couldn’t even walk the bridge but out of nowhere a new path appeared and I was walking along the Sydney Harbour bridge… It was high, very high and the sweats had kicked in but I did still manage go get 10’s of photos of the Opera house from this vantage point. Once half way across there was a look out a cage around so I had to go close to the edge to get unobstructed photos. I also asked a bloke to get a photo of me with the cool architecture of the opera house in the background. He turned out to be from close to Brighton and he had heard of Tunbridge Well’s! (Crazy to think I could come around the other side of the world and on my first day travelling me a guy that lives that close to me) We chatted for a bit looking at the great view before heading back down to the train station, he had come up the quick way so could show me how to get back down just as fast. (It was much quicker than the route I had taken!) He then went to get a bus as I headed back to the the station and caught the trains back to Kings Cross. I was already getting used to the trains but still found the signs and navigation more confusing than they needed to be. (Like telling you what line to catch but not telling you were it was or even what stations a were on the line and didn’t put a train map up either!)

When I walked back to the hostel I decided to check out the social room but there were only about 3 people in there and 2 of them were foreign but could at least speak English. It wasn’t particularly social so I started to have a nose around the room and notice board outside the room then went I went back in and heard the English guy speak so asked where his accent was from. This started a convoy, he was from Cheshire but had been travelling Asia before coming here and today was his first night in Sydney too. As he had caught a flight into he was tired so went to bad before me. I stated in the room where I started this diary. Later another guy came in who also had an English accent so I asked him too, it was just south of Birmingham… Turns out he had been hear a month already and he knew a lot of people in the hostel. There’s a pub crawl tomorrow that I’m thinking of joining them on. His name was Mitch and he had started at Perth went up to Darwin, down to Alice springs, into Adelaide, across to Melbourne and then up to Sydney. An incredible journey all using something called vehicle relocation which is like car hire only much cheaper and he was lucky enough to get a mini camper, (guessing a VW shagwagon) which he shared it with a mate. (not sure where he is now) He then went to bed leaving just me and 1 foreign guy, others had been in and out of the room, some drunk but had all left. As there are a lot of foreigners here most with friends it can be quite excluding but this last guy had also been on a laptop all night booking his plans for tomorrow. Turns out he’s last day is Thursday to fly back go Melbourne and then Friday out of the country and he had booked a blue mountain tour to do before he flew back in the evening. We chatted on the way back to our rooms and we wished each other well before I came into my room at about 1am where the other 4 backpackers were sleeping (this room could sleep 8!) I tried not to make much noise as I got into bed but it was a very creaky metal bunk bed… Not the most comfortable but it will do, I had now completed my first day of travel. 🙂

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