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Down UnderLast Day in Australia

On 28 October 2004 from Sydney, NSW | comments closed

Today was my last full day in Australia, and I decided to go for a last walk through the city. I made another dozen photos of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, after all they are quintessential Australia. This time I even walked across the Harbour Bridge to make photos from the Luna Park and McMahons Point. On the way back I got a cheap haircut (5 euro), and closed my bank account. I already did most of the administrative stuff on Monday, like transferring money and cancelling my car insurance. In the end, Sydney is the only city in Australia where I could spend a week sightseeing without getting bored, and I have even managed to keep busy in the 3,5 weeks that I spent here.

In the evening I had some drinks with a few Norwegian backpackers, and we went to the karaoke in the local pub, where most of the hostel population was hanging out. Afterwards I got online (I have free internet access at the hostel now, since I programmed the website), and arranged my health insurance for upon return.

Down UnderBlue Mountains Revisited

On 27 October 2004 from Sydney, NSW | comments closed

Because my flight out of Sydney was not leaving on Tuesday like I initially planned, I decided to spend a few days in the Blue Mountains. In retrospect, I could have spend a few days in Canberra, instead of doing a one day tour that was too rushed. But going back just would not be worth the trouble anymore. Besides, it was almost a year ago since I last visited the Blue Mountains, and it still is one of the areas of Australia I enjoyed most, mainly because of the hiking tracks there. During the last few weeks in Sydney I have been going back to quite a few places where I went in my first week in Australia, and I already have some sort of nostalgic feeling about some places, very weird.

I took the train from Sydney to Katoomba on Tuesday afternoon, and after checking in at the hostel there, I went for a hike along the cliff. I managed to find a track that I had not done on my previous visit, and was able to make some nice photos of the valley and the Three Sisters.

On Wednesday I took the train to Wentworth Falls, and made a hike together with Caroline (German), Marleen (Dutch) and Simone (Italian guy). We took the Charles Darwin track to the valley, and some steep steps down into the valley. But at the bottom we had to wait for an hour before we could continue, since they were rebuilding the track; the hiker’s version of roadworks. The rest of the hike was without problems, although we were slightly worried about the weather, but the sky was clear again when we got out of the valley. I took the train back to Sydney in the late afternoon.

Down UnderFlight Home

On 25 October 2004 from Sydney, NSW | comments closed

I called Cathay Pacific today to book my flight back home. Initially I had planned to leave tomorrow and fly to Amsterdam in the weekend, but all the flights from Hong Kong to Amsterdam are booked out between 27 October and 3 November. Instead of spending more time in Hong Kong (I do not think the city is interesting enough to spend more than 4 days in, including Macau), I decided to spend a few extra days in Sydney. Therefore my flights are as follows:
Sydney to Hong Kong on Friday 29 October 15.00 – 22.20 with CX100
Hong Kong to Amsterdam on Wednesday 3 November 00.15 – 06.30 with CX271

You might have noticed that I dropped my initial plan to spend a few weeks in China on the way back. I basically cannot be bothered anymore with the hassle of travelling through China. I would have had to get vaccinations (for which it is too late now), I would have to unpack and pack again in Hong Kong (I am not taking all my stuff on a trip through China), I do not speak the language (the solution of learning the language, what I did with Russia, is just not going to work for every country I visit), and I would not have time to visit the highlights anyway (i.e. Bejing and the Great Wall). It all comes down to the fact that in my mind a visit to China requires some decent preparation: where to go, what to do, what jabs to get etc. I might book a short organised tour from Hong Kong (and thus postpone my flight home), but chances are small that I will do that. In the end, I simply cannot be bothered to travel by myself through a country with a completely different culture where I do not speak the language, at the end of my trip. I will probably just save the money for a future trip.

Down UnderCanberra

On 24 October 2004 from Sydney, NSW | comments closed

Today I did a tour to Canberra, Australia’s capital city. After all, I figured it would be pretty bad if I had spent almost 9 months in Australia without even seeing its capital city. Because it is almost 300km from Sydney, it meant sitting in the bus for a long time, and not having very much time in the city itself. We did go to an exhibition about Canberra, the Parliament House, the War Memorial and Mt Ainslie. Unfortunately it was raining most of the day, and that did not help in getting a good impression about the city.