And so it begins, my grand East Coast Adventure (ECA).
I flew into Sydney and spent the subsequent days walking the length and breadth of the inner city. On average, I covered upwards 10 km per day in my flip-flops, visiting the CBD, the Rocks, Harbor, Wolloomooloo, Potts Point, Darlinghurst, Surrey Hills, Newtown, Glebe, Haymarket/Chinatown, and Darling Harbour. I walked the Harbour Bridge, I saw the Opera House, I meandered the Botanic Gardens, visited Taronga Zoo, studied design at the Powerhouse Museum, and perused the NSW State Library. I even spent one wonderful beautiful day hiking, strolling, and soaking up the sun on the beaches and paths of Manly. In short, I took in as much as I could of Sydney: its layout, its personalities. And of course I squeezed in a few yoga classes (the nearest studio: Bikram Yoga Darlinghurst).
Sydney definitely wins at grandiose, stunning vistas, but it did not capture my heart like Melbourne. My dear Melbourne, with your ubiquitous, charming little cafes. Your mostly lovely public transport (I find buses odious). Your public art and graffiti murals. Your diversity of humanity. Your small-town character but big-city resources.
Amidst people (always so many people), I was silent and isolated, and could go almost the whole day without stringing five sentences together. I felt separated, odd. In contrast, my overnight trip to the Blue Mountains found me more in my natural environ: amazing views, long hikes, and peace and quiet with a touch of mountain charm. While the routine was similar (wake up early, walk everywhere, eat a big lunch or dinner, turn in early), the effect was opposite: here the quiet was natural and normal, and I felt so connected to everything around me. I feel more connected to the world, less connected to people.
Which, of course, with me, has been a wonderful exercise in practicing the yoga quality of staying present, of letting go of fear, of expectations, of routine. No hesitation, no anticipation. (And on that note…..)
Next up: Surfing in the highly recommended Byron Bay