I have quite exhausted my vocabulary for descriptive words, so this post may be a tad more bland than others...
I finally experienced the biggest city in Australia this weekend! Something odd-Flights are not allowed to arrive or depart from the Sydney airport between the hours of eleven pm and six am. Which also meant that any trains or shuttles leaving the airport also shut down... As my flight arrived right after 10:30, this meant I got the joy of waiting over an hour for an overpriced taxi. Well worth it, though.
All the other girls in my hostel were getting up super early on Saturday to tour the Blue Mountains, so I went ahead and got up with them to begin exploring the city. I've never really appreciated what other people see in big cities- I find them intrusive, cluttered, and claustrophobic. However, I really enjoyed this city, which may have been because I did all my walking around in the early hours of morning before everyone was up and around...
Nonetheless, I really enjoyed myself. The harbours are filled with amazing ships and sailboats, and the city is surrounded with fabulous gardens. I took an early ferry across the harbor to a suburb called Manly and spent the first part of the morning on Manly Beach. From the ferry are fantastic views of both the Sydney Opera House and the Harbor Bridge.
Saturday night brought with it a trip inside the Opera House, where I saw King Lear (Shakespeare...). For the first time since I've been here I didn't get ready by throwing my hair in a ponytail and putting on whatever I thought would keep me the coolest without air conditioning. Although I have appreciated this, it was also nice to look nice again. The play was wonderful, and the Opera House intricately beautiful.
Sunday morning came the Blue Mountains, named so for the blue hue that they take on. I found out today that this occurs from all the eucalyptus found in the mountains. As the oils in the leaves evaporate, they create a blue haze, causing the mountains to appear blue in color. I spent right around five hours hiking through all the trails, both up and down all the mountains. I have Herculean lower body strength at this point.
Daddy and Kelly-you would have been extremely proud of me. I actually went almost to the edge of each cliff and guardrail with only minor heart palpitations at each one. (Here's one such lookout)
This formation is known as the three sisters. Legend has it that, once upon a time, there lived three beautiful sisters, of whom the local wizard was extremely jealous. So jealous, in fact, that he decided to turn them into pillars. Upon finding this out, our Prince Charming of course comes in to save the day. He chases the wizard until cornered, whereupon the wizard aims to get away by turning himself into stone, without thinking of the repercussions. Because of course, a stone has no arms, and therefore cannot hold his wand. Without the ability to use his wand, the wizard and the sisters were forced to remain in this way for eternity. And here they lie (stand).
Yet another weekend, yet another amazing adventure. This marked the end of seven weeks here, leaving me at this point with less than three remaining. I've thoroughly enjoyed all of my time here, and I hope to make the most of what I have left. Although I am very sad to leave, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little happy to come home as well. I will greatly miss all my kids, my colleagues, and Lauretta and Dave, and I hope to come back and visit them soon, but it will also be nice to be back with all my other friends and family... and Layla!
Love you all!!