Weekend in Sydney

Last month, we took a quick trip over to Sydney. It was nice to get out of town for a few days and remind ourselves of what a big city was like. During our short trip we made the most of our time, fitting in a footy game, Opera House tour, stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens, and running a half marathon.

Before the run...

That’s right – both Drew and Ashley crossed the finish line of the Sydney Half Marathon. That’s 13.1 miles (21.1 km) across the Harbour Bridge, through the CBD, and back to the Opera House. Although it was a bit rainy to start, the hills and weather did not phase either of us. In fact, we’d do it again!

The event is really neat – roads are closed all over Sydney to allow the race to happen. There’s a full & half marathon, 10k, and 4k. Everyone gets a chance to run across the bridge, which is closed to vehicle traffic.

But, let’s back up. Friday night was a semi-finals game in the AFL (Australian Football League), better known as footy. The Sydney Swans creamed their opponents, the North Melbourne Roos. We found the atmosphere to be interesting. When the Swans scored a goal (6 points), the crowd would stand up and cheer. If the Swans scored a behind (1 point), no one really seemed to react. In fact, overall, the fans were fairly subdued, at least to an American expecting a crowd similar to an NFL game. Since it was a chilly night, Ashley threw on a Swans scarf to keep warm. Drew’s a Freo fan (Freemantle Dockers), so he refused to sport rival gear.

After our late night, we got up early on Saturday and wandered over to the Opera House to check out the tours. We were able to get on one right away and set out to explore this Sydney landmark. It was a great tour – we were able to see inside several of the theaters (some with sets in place) and we learned about the controversial history of the construction.

After the tour, we walked through the Royal Botanic Gardens for a little bit. As always, it’s quite a lovely place to stroll around.

On our way back to the hotel we ran into some randomness – a dance choreographed with shopping carts. It was part of Art & About Sydney, an annual art festival. We stopped and watched the performance along with the crowd. Although it was hard to top that, we ended the afternoon eating delicious food and relaxing before our big run on Sunday.

One other fun thing? On a previous visit, Ashley had discovered Bulletin Place, a fabulous cocktail bar. She had to drag Drew there, and he shared her enthusiasm for the hole-in-the-wall gem. Since our visit, the bar has been named the 19th best bar in the world, according to Drinks International. It’s definitely worth the hype!

More pictures can be found here.