What is about about new spaces that are exhilarating? For me, it's the intrigue. When I travel to a new city, I love to simply wander, to get a feel for the people, the smells, the layout. Most of all, I want to learn of the history. What has happened that contributed to making the city what it is.
Sydney has not disappointed. It has much in common with Vancouver, a city I have much familiarity with. And so, exploring Sydney has been an experience of peaceful curiosity, allowing me to dally my way through various streets without worrying much about the logistics of train schedules and the like.
Actually, it's almost eerie how similar these two cities are to one another. Good transit, preserved historical locations mixed with the new, and stunningly beautiful views of the downtown core perched on the edge of the sea. Sydney is Vancouver without all the cloud and rain (at least, that's what my two days of experience have proven).
There are differences. Cheesy upside down jokes aside, everything is backwards down here. It took two days for my inner boy scout to get re-oriented. Having the sun at my back when looking south is something that my 36 years in the northern hemisphere did not prepare me for.
And I've angered more than a handful of Sydney drivers as I've attempted to cross the street, looking left first, then hearing the sounds of a quickly approaching vehicle to my right. Yes, yes — I was taught to look both way when crossing the street, but you have to look one way first before the other. It's merely that my first look is always to the left, which is dangerous down here.
But apart from those two differences (and the terra cotta roof shingles, strange birds and palm trees), Sydney is a lot like most Canadian cities. Friendly people, roots in the British Commonwealth, colourful money, and plenty of good beer on tap.
Which makes for a fun trip. Hat tip to Campaign Monitor for making it possible.