Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sydney: Like NYC Without Crap, Snow

Sexy, scantily-clad citizens and expensive outdoor cafes glisten in the sun as we arrive in Sydney, Australia. This is a glamorous city boasting hundreds of Asian fusion restaurants, towering skyscrapers and an iconic opera house perched on its harborfront. The locals are open, friendly and thoroughly unpretentious - a surprising fact given how closely they all resemble Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey. If New York City was surrounded by gorgeous beaches, had better weather and less severe workweeks it might have a chance at being as beautiful as Sydney. Maybe.

Matt and I spent our first day here risking life and limb on the Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb. For reasons that are still unclear to me, the government here actually allows people to harness themselves onto a small wire for $199 and ascend hundreds of feet into the air by clambering on the top of their famous bridge. It’s a great introduction to the city since you get a real feel for the lay of the land as you precariously balance on steel girders and try not to let the aerial view totally freak you out.

The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring the swanky suburb of Paddington, an adorable section of Sydney packed to the gills with Beautiful People, Victorian row houses, tiny boutiques and quaint pubs. Each Saturday the Paddington Markets open to the public – this outdoor gathering of designers hawk their cutting-edge jewelry, clothing, and chic housewares to locals and tourists alike. The quality of the merchandise was impressive but the thrill of the day was discovering Dinosaur Designs , a shop that sells an impressive selection of unique jewelry and tableware made from resin and handblown glass.

Later that evening Matt and I dressed up and went bar hopping, hitting the neighborhoods of King’s Cross, Darlinghurst and the Rocks. There were more bars than I can count (or various sugarcane cocktails than I can remember) but the highlights were The Victoria Room (think bordello meets The West Indies as far as d├ęcor is concerned) whose drink list was about 100 pages long and whose settees appeared to be real antiques. Also at the top of our list was Minus 5, a bar created entirely of ice that looked like something out of a James Bond movie. Here we donned parkas, boots and gloves and sipped vodka cocktails out of enormous ice mugs while lounging on ice couches covered in faux-fur throws. After that…it’s a blur.

As you can imagine, the next morning we were too tired (and too scary looking) to do much else but don the sunglasses and retire to Bondi Beach for some R&R. Watching the surfers through glazed eyes we recovered enough strength to stroll down the street to Iceberg’s for lunch – a private club that houses two restaurants and an outdoor swimming pool connected to the ocean. American celebrities are rumored to have eaten here and although we didn’t spy any stars while we were lunching, the restaurant’s vast glass windows looking out upon the sea were enough to entice a large group of non-celebs to wait outside in line for an open table. Before we parted ways with Sydney for good we hit the opera house, a stunning piece of architecture overlooking the harbor and nibbled at some decadent artisinal ice cream while walking along the ocean. By far our favorite place we’ve ever visited we’re now looking for jobs here…or at least ones that will afford us the vacation time to come back to Sydney. And for your pleasure, a bit of Bondi Beach...

1 comment:

Lee Girl said...

Hey Guys,

Syndney sounds amazing! I hope you have as much fun today - HAPPY BIRTHDAY Lindsay - as you did yesterday. Enjoy and have some cocktails for us too!!!
Happy Birthday!!!!!
Lisa and Ono