04.03.2016 - 04.03.2016 86 °F
Being back in Sydney feels like putting on a comfortable pair of sweat pants after a long day. Ten years have passed since I first visited, but the familiarity and pull of the city stays the same. This is a place I could easily live.
When Zac and I visited last we had no children. We explored on an unplanned path, followed whims, and trekked by foot around the vast spread of suburbs. This time we visit with an active two year old, which means we see the city with new eyes, and a slower pace.
The ease, availability, and frequency of public transportation are impressive--and now even more appreciated! Traveling around the city with Des has been so easy and convenient. Sydney is full of families and we see young children everywhere. People here travel by public transportation, and NSW seems to make it very easy to do so. Ferries have been our main mode of transportation thus far, but bus, tram, and train are equally as accessible. Trip planning is simple and intuitive, and everywhere has permitted easy stroller access (or prams, as they are called here).
We are spending our time in Sydney once again in Balmain. Originally a trendy neighborhood, Balmain became a working class neighborhood when a shipyard was constructed just down the way from where we are staying now, near Mort Bay Park. This brought in working class families (and lots of cosy pubs still here today), but when the shipyard closed just shy of 1960, workers were pushed out by middle and upper class families wanting to live close to the city center. And close it is--just an 8 minute ferry ride across to the Central Business Distict.
Balmain is now a well off neighborhood with shops, cafes, and restaurants winding down Darling Street from the water at Mort Bay to Queen Victoria Road in Rozelle. Townhouses with stunning and bright terraces line the streets here, with cottages tucked in as well.
Sydney is a dense city. As such, townhouses and cottages are lined just off the sidewalk. Some have small gardens or terraces, but land is very much a commodity. Homes are tucked away small treasures. It's quite different from home where even in the city the homes, condos, and townhouses strive to be as big as possible.
The weather has been simply stunning. A bit hot in the high 80s, but being on the water brings cool breezes and evenings are perfectly temperate. Even so, with Desmond's schedule we are up in the cool morning hours and back home in the high noon heat for lunch and a nap. By the time Des wakes, the evening air comes in and it feels quite nice. I'm so happy to be enjoying warmth and sunshine right now! The grey of winter was really starting to wear thin back home. Here we are out during all our free time, soaking up the sunshine in lieu of rain.
For as hot as it is now in autumn (which starts March 1st here), summer is evening hotter. Despite that, vegetation in the city is lively, lush, and green. It is gorgeous! Native plants are really quite adaptive and green stretches can be seen everywhere. Beautiful birds hide in trees and I'm constantly surprised by beauties like rainbow lorikeets just peeking out at me as I walk through the neighborhood.
My fondness for Sydney combined with my dread of flying home leave me tempted to just stay here. Maybe try the flight again when this new Joey is 4? There are worse ways to spend time waiting for your children to not be so monstrous when flying long-haul across the world.
Surprisingly, Des has done really well with adjusting here. He had no issues with immediately changing to a new (19 hours ahead) time zone and he has been such a champ with being on the go for exploration. He asks to see new things and has actually been allowing us to push him in his stroller!!!! The convenience is extremely high.
Over all it's been a great start to a few weeks of what we hope will be fun adventures and life long memories.