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Posts Tagged ‘Mountains’

One bittersweet aspect of travel is making awesome new friends and then having to part ways with them days or weeks later, knowing you’ll probably never see them again.   Most backpackers accept this as part of the long-term travel lifestyle, but I say its bullshit.  Sure, the norm is that you won’t ever see the majority of these people for the rest of your life…but some you might; you just have to make it happen!

Kelly and I met some amazing people during our travels who we still keep in touch with – Doug, Marianne, the Jeffs, Meghan, Tessa, Phil, and Luke being some of our faves and we all promised to visit each other in our respective countries.   So several months ago when Luke and I tossed around the idea of me coming to visit him in Australia, instead of thinking ‘yeah right, that’s crazy’, I thought why the hell not?!  I had received a large tax refund that I wasn’t expecting and instead of buying a computer and a new cell phone or some other ‘practical’ item, maybe I should take a kick-ass vacation.   Maybe after my break-up with M, I needed to do something a little irrational.   So I said fuck it and bought a plane ticket to Melbourne.  I’m tired of just talking about things I’d like to do and want to actually DO them.

Luke and his other 5 roommates were kind enough to let me crash with them for the duration of my stay, which gave me the opportunity to be immersed in Aussie ‘culture’.  Basically, they are all crazy (in a fun, obnoxious way).  My first couple of days in OZ I spent recovering from jet-lag.  I slept in, took a train into downtown, checked out Federation Square, the ACMI museum, walked along the river AND got to reconnect with Tessa, whom Kelly and I met in Spain.  We met in Fed Square and had a hard time recognizing one another since we had on make-up, had done our hair, and had on normal clothes…we were only used to what we looked like as grubby backpackers!   It was so great to reconnect with her.  She gave me a walking tour of downtown Melbourne, took me to the Queen Victoria market to buy souvenirs, and showed me the ‘footy’ stadium where all of the AFL (Australian Football League…much different than American football) games take place.  Victoria peeps are nuts about their teams!!

Along the river

Tessa and me!

Me in front of the footy stadium

That weekend, I went to the Park Life music festival downtown with Luke and crew.  We all dressed as cyclists, which seems somewhat ridiculous, but ended up being an awesome idea…very easy to find one another in our neon jackets.   Saw some bands, drank too much, and acted like fools…overall, a super fun day!

On Monday, Luke and I departed for Alice Springs to begin our tour of Ayres Rock (Uluru), the iconic sandstone rock formation in the middle of the Northern Territory.   I was very excited about this, since Kelly and I were only able to see the east coast when we were in OZ the previous year and I was pretty bummed I didn’t get to see Uluru.  To be honest, Alice Springs is in the middle of NOWHERE and is sort of a hole.  We strolled around town, met a 69 year old Dutch woman traveling the world by train in 80 days (so inspiring!), took a nap, ate dinner, and had an early night.   I think we were both still recovering from the debauchery of the weekend.

After a 5 hour drive the next morning, we made it to our campsite near Ayres Rock.  The plan was to hike the ‘Valley of the Winds’ trail, but due to the high heat, the trail was closed.  Instead we did a couple of short hikes around the Olgas (another group of rock formations) and headed over to Uluru for sunset.  As all of my faithful readers know, weather never seems to cooperate with my travel/site seeing plans.  It was very cloudy that evening so the dramatic color changes of the rock that I had hoped to witness didn’t happen.   Still very pretty though.

Walking through the Olgas

Luke and me in front of Uluru at sunset

The next morning was one of my favorite days of the trip.  We woke up early as hell in the morning to make it to Uluru and walk around the base of the rock during sunrise.  Luke and I were able to separate ourselves from the rest of the tour group, which was nice.  The weather was perfect, the sunrise beautiful and the rock itself was incredible.  It’s fricken massive and the colors are amazing…almost like it’s GLOWING.  Honestly, it’s mind-boggling that this giant rock is sitting in the middle of completely flat terrain for hundreds of miles.   Luke and I discussed climbing the rock, but decided against it, as it’s sacred to the Anangu, the Aboriginal people in the area.  They prefer you don’t trample all over their special mountain.  OK, fine.  The climbing trail ended up being closed due to the wind anyway, but honestly I wouldn’t have wanted to climb it either way…the ‘trail’ is basically a chain that you cling to up a steep ass mountain…it looked terrifying.  People die doing this every year…no thanks.

Sunrise

On our walk. Shadows are fun!

Uluru

That afternoon our tour group was supposed to drive another 4 hours to hike King’s Canyon the next day (supposed to be amazing).  Go figure, some arsonists had set a bunch of bush fires, which resulted in the road to the canyon being closed for the next 4 days.  We were slightly bummed, but again, you can’t get too upset about things you can’t control.  Our guide took us to watch the sunset with a view of the Olgas…Luke and I splurged and got tipsy on a bottle of wine and had no trouble keeping each other entertained for the rest of the evening.  We slept outside under thousands of stars, which were absolutely beautiful…totally worth freezing our asses off the entire night.

Waiting for sunset at the Olgas

We made our way back to Alice Springs the next day, saw some local park areas, and then met up with several people in our tour group for dinner.  Afterwards, we had many drinks at the bar next door, danced a little and basically made fun of all the crazy ass locals that were there…a lovely end to our time in the not-so-lovely town of Alice Springs.

My last full day in Melbourne was spent at Luke’s house with his roommates and friends watching the AFL Championship (basically, the Aussie version of the Super Bowl).  Luckily, the team they were pulling for won.   Lots more drinking ensued (I was able to introduce them to my favorite drinking game – FLIP CUP) and then we hit up the town for more shenanigans.   Felt pretty rough the next day, so we laid around, watched movies, and I packed up all my crap to be ready for my 3.30 a.m. taxi pick-up to take me to the airport.

It was a pretty quick trip, but I’m so happy I went.  Not only did I get to see some cool shit, but got to reconnect with old travel buddies and make more new friends.  I have to admit I was a little nervous to go and spend 10 days with someone that I had only hung out with for a couple of weeks over a year and a half ago.  I mean, what if he totally sucked in ‘real life’?  Obviously that wasn’t the case and Luke and I got along just as well as we did the day Kelly and  I met him in Turkey.  I hope we get to see each other again… I know we will, it’s just a matter of making it happen.

Marianne, Doug, Meghan, the Jeff’s…you’re next!!

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Our group awoke early the next morning and piled into our sweet minibus to begin the long drive on the King’s Highway to Petra, stopping at various sites along the way.  We first visited Mt. Nebo, the place where Moses was given a view of the Promised Land from God to the Israelites.  It is said that God buried Moses here, although no one knows where his actual grave is.  The views were absolutely stunning and supposedly you can see Jerusalem on a really clear day.
View from Mount Nebo

 

What you're lookin' at

On the drive

 

We also stopped at various old churches, ruins, and a cheesy mosaic factory.  I have to admit that after Turkey, I was ‘churched out’ and didn’t pay much attention to our guide’s history lecture.  I like getting the basics, but dates, names, and other minute details don’t really register with me.  If someone begins a sentence with ‘During the year 100 B.C…’ my eyes glaze over and I immediately start thinking of what I want to eat for lunch.

Our last stop was the Kerak Castle, located in the predominately Christian town of Kerak in the biblical kingdom of Moab.  The castle dates back to the 12th century and is one of the best preserved Crusader castles in the region.  We spent a couple of hours wandering through the vast passageways and exploring the cavernous rooms and chambers.

 

Walking up to Kerak Castle

 

View from the top



After a long day of driving, we arrived in the town of Wadi Musa, the gateway to Petra.  The next day would be a long one in the sun and heat, so I had a couple of ridiculously expensive beers ($7 EACH!!) and called it an early night.

 

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After a great time in Istanbul, Kim, Seth and I took a 12 hour bus ride to Cappadocia, a region of central Anatolia characterized by rose colored mountains, caves, underground cities, and giant rock ‘fairy chimneys’, which were formed by the erosion of volcanic peaks. To be honest, no one can deny what the fairy chimneys actually look like.  I know we are probably too old to be cracking jokes of this sort, but we couldn’t help ourselves.  Seth didn’t help the situation either.  Childish joking aside, this was definitely one of the most unique and beautiful places we have seen on the trip so far.  We spent the next 3 days in the town of Goreme checking out the surrounding areas.      
 

Seth, me, and fairy chimneys!

 
We arrived super early in the morning and took a short walk to our hostel, Star Cave.  It was so nice! Definitley more like a hotel than a hostel.  And we got to sleep in a freakin’ cave!  Ramazan, the owner and a true caveman (really…he was born in a cave!), made us feel right at home.  After enjoying the best breakfast spread of the trip, we took a nice long nap to catch up on sleep. 
That evening Ramazan took us up to an amazing view point of Goreme. We took some photos and then headed back to the hostel to meet up with some friends we met in Istanbul and on the bus for dinner.  Ramazan recommended a very authentic and affordable place that included a traditional Turkish band that played right next to our table.  The chef even came out and passed out belly dancing belts and finger symbols and danced with us all night! Of course I took full advantage and got out there and shook my stuff.  Afterwards, we headed back to Star Cave for some cold beers and a sheesha pipe (remember, it’s just flavored tabacco). 

Us at the Goreme viewpoint

Me belly dancing!

 
The next couple days we were good little tourists and hopped on a bus to see some sights.  We saw tons of rock carved churches and caves that housed many of the first Christians that had to escape from the persecution of the Roman Empire in the second century B.C.  They also built many underground cities to hide from their enemies for up to 3 months at a time!  There are so many in Turkey, no one actually knows how many there are.  We took a tour of Derinkuyu, the largest underground city that has been discovered.  It had 8 floors and 85 meters deep that includes chapels, kitches, bathrooms, wine presses and cellars, stables and even schools.  This city could hold up to 50,000 people! It was so interesting to see how intelligently they constructed each floor for certain purposes and why.  We also went to the Goreme Open Air Museum.  We toured many of the monasteries and churches there as well.  On our way, we stopped at Pigeon Valley for some wonderful views.

Inside one of the cave churches

Caves!

 

Beautiful

The next stop was a tour and demonstration at a ceremic plate and pottery factory.  They showed us how many of the items are still made by the original method of foot pedelling.  Then they chose a person from the audience to do a demonstration as well.  Of course, guess who they picked?  Before I made a cute little bowl, they had me make one of the phallic shaped rocks.  I’m sure you can imagine the motions I had to go through to make this.  Needless to say, Kim, Seth, I and the rest of the crowd were crying with laughter!  It was embarrassing and hilarious all at the same time.  Our final activity on the tour was a 2-3 hour hike through a valley surrounded by caves and a beautiful river.
 
Ramazan also talked us into going to Turkish Night.  It was about $15 for all you can eat and drink along with a show of all the typical Turkish dances.  We all really wanted to see authentic twirling Dervishes and belly dancing…however, I’m pretty sure it was the “all you can drink” that convinc.ed us.  We had such a good time!  Ramazan got Seth a little tipsy by constantly toasting him with Roki shots (the local Turkish liquor).  Little did he know, Ramazan was pouring water into his own glass since he was our driver and all!  And since we seemed to have such luck, Seth also got chosen out of the crowd to join the lovely bellydancer on the dance floor.  Once again, we were crying laughing as Seth created his own dance moves to show up the bellydancer.
 
Another common activity in Cappadocia is hot air ballooning.  We would have loved to do this, however, it was about $100 a person and we just couldn’t afford it.  We’ll have to do that next time.  Our last day in Cappadocia, we rented mountain bikes and rode over to Rose Valley to explore.  All was going well until 45 minutes into the ride, Kim got a flat tire.  We ended up having to walk the bikes back to a closer village to get the flat replaced.  We had a nice lunch and decided that we would go ahead and head back.  We would be catching an overnight bus down south to the coast for our Blue Cruise! 

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As Kim mentioned before, I had a rough time the first few days of the trek.  However, once I had my ‘Nepali magic shoes’ and my phenomenal 75 song, jammin’ playlist I created on my ipod, things got much better physically and reaching the base camp was one of the best feelings mentally I have ever felt.  Its indescribable.  I am so glad I decided to push through and keep going.  As Powan said, ‘its like a little slice of heaven’ and he wasn’t lying.

Nepali Magic Shoes

Day 8-Bamboo to Jhinu

After our night in Bamboo, we headed out early for another up and downhill trek to Jhinu where the natural hot springs are located.  We were really looking forward to relaxing and giving our sore muscles a little treat.  The walk that day was a little rough, especially with the millions of gigantic steps leading up to Chhomrong.  But with the base camp behind us and the natural high we had from reaching it, the days seemed to get easier and easier. 

Guesthouse in Chomrong

When we made it to Jhinu, we had a deliciously ice cold Fanta ( a rare treat when you are up in the mountains- literally, they chill the drinks by sticking them in a bucket of water outside) and decided that instead of hiking to Ghandruk, another small village 7 hours away, we would take a rest day the following day.  Normally this is the day most people rest, but the option of continuing to Ghandruk is available for those who don’t want to stop.  Kim asked Powan if we would be missing anything by skipping Ghandruk, and he assured us that we wouldn’t, it was ‘just another village’.  Plus, we think he really wanted a rest day as well:) 

Since we knew we didn’t have a tough day ahead, Kim and I relaxed with some cold beers and a few games of Dumbal with Powan and Sabin.  There was also a large group of student volunteers partying it up to celebrate their last day on the trek, so I had a few glasses of whiskey with them and called it a night.

Day 9- Rest day in Jhinu

We woke up bright and early to take advantage of the cooler weather for our short hike down to the hot springs.  We spent the next hour and a half relaxing in the small pools right next to the river surrounded by gorgeous mountains, chatting with the local Tibetan women enjoying a dip before a days work.  It was so nice to just sit and relax and take in everything we had accomplished in the past week.   We headed back to the guesthouse for one of the best breakfasts we’d had the whole trek- homemade french toast and apple pie!  We spent the day reading, napping and playing cards with the guys. 

Relaxin' at the hot springs

Day 10- Jhinu to Landruk

The next morning, we awoke feeling nice and rested and ready for our short 3 hour, mostly downhill hike over to Landruk, one of the larger villages on the trek.  One thing we noticed along the way, is that everyone still does everything manually up in the mountains.  Tilling, planting, watering and harvesting crops, laundry, etc.  The villagers even cut bricks by hand! It’s like you’ve stepped back in time a couple hundred years.  It was crazy.

When we reached the village, I did some yoga in the yard to give my muscles a good stretch while Kim took a little nap.  Again, we had a nice long afternoon to read, play cards and have a few beers with the guides, porters and newcomers to the trail. 

Day 11- Landruk to Dhampus

This was our last long day of the trek.  It was about a 6.5 hour hike with surprisingly a few flat areas.  We hadn’t seen flat ground the entire trek up to this point.  Kim and I took our time and really soaked in the scenery and sense of accomplishment we felt.  It was crazy to stop, turn around and look back at Annapurna South to see how far we’d come.  Again, one of the best highs ever.   As we approached Dhampus, the largest village on the trek, we started to see cars, a local school, and more signs that we were getting back to current civilization.  We hung out that afternoon out on the lawn with beers and our books, while a few others played soccer with the kids from the guesthouse. 

Guides playing games with the local kiddos

We had also heard that the guides wanted chicken for dinner that night and were surprised when one of them literally went and grabbed a chicken wandering around the yard, gave it a few swift blows with a stick and started to prepare to de-feather and clean it on the lawn!    One of guides came around the corner with one of those crazy hook knives and upon seeing the bewildered look on our faces, decided to finish the process behind the building.  It was pretty funny.

To commemorate our final evening on the trek, we planned to have dahl baht one last time, but that we would eat it with Powan and Sabin the traditional Nepali way, with our hands.  The guys were really excited to see us get down and dirty as they do every meal of their lives.  They actually never sat with us at dinner because they said the Nepali way of eating was too ‘rough’ for tourists.  Ha!  Kim chickened out, but we had dinner in the small dinning hall with about 25 people taking pictures of Powan and Sabin and me stuffing our faces with fists full of the local favorite.  It was so much fun!   With a few tips from Powan, I pretty much got it down. 

Me and Powan eating dahl baht the Nepali way

Day 12- Dhampus to Pokhara

Our last day was a short 1.5 hour, super steep, downhill hike into Phedi where we would catch a ride back into Pokhara, the town we left from to start the trek.   This part was a little bittersweet for the both of us.  I was so happy that I finished the trek, but at the same time we were sad that it was over.  Especially Kim.  Our entire trip had been planned around this trek, getting there at the right time for weather and all.  It was one of the things Kim had looked forward to the most.  But again,  we were so proud that we had done such an amazing thing and seen some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.  A place that not too many people get to experience.    This was definitely one of the most physically and mentally challenging things I had ever done and I will never forget it.  I’m so glad Kim exposed me to such a wonderful part of the world.  Thanks Kim:)

Me, Sabin, Kim, and Powan

 

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Trekking in the Annapurna region isn’t exactly roughing it.  You start your day around 6:30 a.m. and have breakfast before hitting the trail around 7 or 8.  Most days you hike 5 or 6 hours, stopping for lunch along the way, although we did have a couple of 7-8 hour days.  Kelly and I chose a ‘teahouse trek’ meaning that you stay in guest lodges located in small mountain villages along the trail.  All of the lodges have restaurants and sell snacks, sodas, water, and beer.  Upon arrival at the chosen lodge, usually around 3 p.m., you have the rest of the afternoon to relax, nap, read, and enjoy the mountain views.  Let me stress that the photos we took in no way do justice to the beauty of this region. 

Day One – Pokhara to Ulheri

Our first day of the hike was supposed to be an easy four hour walk up and down a few hills.  However, Kelly and I had been lying on beaches in Thailand and Laos for the past month and a half, eating greasy pad thai and pounding beers and cocktails.  Not exactly the greatest exercise regime to prepare for hiking twelve days in the Himalayas.  I love trekking (even the difficult parts) and have slightly more experience than Kelly, so although it wasn’t easy, I definitely enjoyed the first day more than she did.  On top of the sudden burst of physical exertion, Kelly’s shoes started pinching her toes on the downhill sections and were causing her some pain.  Powan reassured her that the first day is always tough and day two would be much better.

One thing we noticed while trekking is all of the weed that grows along the trail.  Isn’t it a lovely plant?

We celebrated the end of our first day with a room-temp Everest beer and a dinner of the local dish, dahl-baht.  Powan taught us a Nepalese card game, Dumbal, that we would end up playing pretty much every night of the trek.

Day Two – Ulheri to Ghorepani

Kelly started out the morning in good spirits, but by the end of the five-hour day, her feet were killing her.  Upon the arrival at our lodge, she confessed to me that she wasn’t really cut out for twelve days of trekking and was considering quitting.  At the same time, Kelly was frustrated with herself because she is definitely not a quitter…after a couple of pep-talks from Powan and me, we convinced her to hike the next couple of days until we made it to Chhomrong.  From there she could decide to continue to the base camp with us or chill out for a couple of days until we returned to begin our decent back down to Pokhara.

Day Three – Poon Hill and Ghorepani to Tadapani

We woke up at the ungodly hour of 4 a.m., strapped on our head lamps, and made the steep one-hour climb up to Poon Hill to watch the sunrise (along with 200 other people).  It was cold and it sucked.  Once we arrived at the top though, the view was stunning.  Watching the sun peak out over Annapurna South and Machapuchare was incredible and one of the highlights of the trek, in my opinion.

Machapuchare (Fishtail) Mountain on the left

Sunrise over Annapurna South

 

We walked back down to our lodge, had breakfast, and hit the trail.  The hike was gorgeous…we had clear skies and this time of year, the rhododendrons trees are in full bloom.  We climbed through forests of them before arriving at our lodge in Tadapani.  It was a long day (about 8 hours hiking) and Kelly and I were exhausted. 

Rhododendrons

By this time, we had learned that Powan was not nearly as reserved as we had thought. He turned out to be a pretty hilarious guy and he provided much comic relief along the way.

 Day 4 – Tadapani to Chhomrong

This day was easier than the previous one, but still no walk in the park.  We crossed a river and made our way through a couple of mountain villages before making the steep ascent to Chhomrong.  Kelly’s shoes were hurting her feet so bad, she hiked the majority of the trail in her flip flops.

Cute Nepali kids we met on the way

The view from our lodge in Chhomrong was stunning.  We relaxed, had dinner, some beers, and played a few rounds of Dumbal.  Kelly was still debating on whether she wanted to hang there for a few days or hike to base camp.  Powan gave her a pep talk and told her he would take her by a local store the next morning where she could buy a new pair of shoes…nothing fancy, but hopefully they would fit better and make for a more pleasant hike. Kelly agreed to continue, as long as she could find a decent- fitting pair of shoes.

Chhomrong

Day 5 – Chhomrong to Deurali

We started our day by hitting up the local market to find Kelly some new shoes.  There wasn’t much of a selection, but she managed to find a pair of sneakers for about $7.  They weren’t top of the line hiking boots, but they weren’t flip flops either. 

It was another tough day of climbing with a lot of ups and downs, but Kelly’s Nepali shoes did the trick…no more pain!

 Day 6 – Deurali to Annapurna Base Camp

This was one of our longest days, but my absolute favorite of the entire trek. Finally we were entering the Sanctuary (which has a danger of avalanches during the wet season).  We hiked for five hours though a valley with breathtaking views surrounded by waterfalls, crossed streams, tramped over snow covered ground and made the ascent to Machapuchare Base Camp…we had snow covered mountains all around us.

We had a leisurely lunch and decided to suck it up and hike for two more hours to make our final ascent to the Annapurna Base Camp…I really wanted to be there in the morning for sunrise.  By this time, the air was getting pretty thin, and we could definitely feel the altitude.  We had to stop every 15 minutes are so to rest and catch our breath.

Annapurna Base Camp – 4,130 meters.  We made it!!  Of course, the views of Annapurna South and Machapuchare were beyond words.  We watched the sunset and were in awe to be standing so close to these majestic mountains.

Sunset over Fishtail Mountain

 

The camp was FREEZING.  Kelly and I didn’t bother taking showers, it was way too cold.  We were so tired, we didn’t even have a beer or play Dumbal, but went to bed as soon as it got dark. 

Day 7 – ABC to Bamboo

We awoke the next morning around 5 a.m…a layer of snow and ice covered everything.  Kelly and I climbed up on a ridge to take some photos before the sun appeared over the mountains.  When it finally did peak over, Powan let us know by shouting ‘THE SUN IS COMING!!’.  Pretty funny…one of those ‘had to be there moments’.   Some of our photos from that morning:

Annapurna Base Camp

Us at the top

More ABC views

We made it

After breakfast, we hung out at the camp for an hour or so, watching all the rich people get helicoptered in to the camp.  Lazy asses!  We did get to see one group get helicoptered to the top of one of the mountains and ski down it…pretty fricken cool and VERY expensive. 

It was another long day to Bamboo, but the views were great and we were proud of ourselves for making it in one piece to our destination.

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Sisters in Sydney

With almost 4 months of travelling under our belts, Kim and I said goodbye to New Zealand and moved on to the east coast of Australia. First stop, Sydney. We’ve all seen images of the infamous Syndey Opera House and Harbor Bridge, the Botanical Gardens, Darling Harbor, etc. Well, it’s all just as amazing as we imagined it to be. It was so great to finally see all of these things in person! With only a week in Sydney, we planned to make the most of it.

 We ended up staying at the Blue Parrot, a small, family-owned hostel filled with all sorts of travellers, long term residents, all looking for a good time. Our friend Doug that we met in Argentina was landing in Sydney the same day and we were excited to reunite with him after our time we spent together in the wine country of South America. Our friend Marianne we met there as well would join us 2 days later from Norway. The Mendoza clan together again! The hostel was located in the Kings Cross area, great for it’s nightlife and also known as the “Red Light District” of Sydney. Luckily, the hostel was around the corner from all the madness, so we didn’t really get that vibe at all.

Together again!

 We spent the first few days wandering around the city – a walk through the Botanical Gardens along the harbor, took plenty of pictures of the Opera House, had champagne in Darling Harbor and checked out the street markets in the Rocks, the oldest neighborhood in Sydney. We made a couple of new friends at the hostel, The Jeff’s, both from Canada, that joined us on our trip to Bondi Beach where locals and tourists alike flock to surf and soak up the rays. Marianne and I laid on the beach and relaxed, while Kim and the others did the 5 kilometer coastal walk from Bondi to Coogee Beach, passing other small surfing beaches along the way. 

Syndey Opera House

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Darling Harbour

Bondi Beach

On the coastal walk

Another day, we all did a day trip to the Blue Mountains, located a couple hours outside of the city. They are called the blue mountains because of the blueish shade they take on from the sky and surrounding landscape. We had this crazy old tour guide that really liked to hear himself talk so we decided to take the trail instead of the cable car up to the viewing point just to get away from him. We hiked down (and then back up) the 1000 steps to take advantage of the amazing views. It was a great work out too!

 

The Blue Mountains

The Three Sisters

 

Our group

 Most of our nights were spent hanging out at the hostel with our new friends. We had some fantastic grilling sessions, a night of Marianne’s stellar caiparinas and caipiroskas ( a drink we became a fan of in South America), drunken walks to the nearby Elizabeth Harbor, a never-ending poker game, plenty of drinking games and late night parties on the stairs across the street. Um, yeah, we weren’t allowed to drink or make noise in the hostel after 11:30pm…so that’s where we ended up.

 We both absolutely loved Sydney!! Once again, I could totally live there. Now it was time to move further up the coast to the laid back beach town of Byron Bay. We even talked Marianne into joining us for a few days before she headed off to Newcastle for her semester of med school. The Jeff’s would join us as well a couple of days later. We were just too much fun to not see again:)

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