Sara Martin is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2016, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A biological sciences major, she is studying abroad in Sydney this semester through the custom program at the University of California, Davis.
In this week's post, Sara tells us all of her favorite places to visit around Sydney, including a museum, markets, and cat cafe!
After my first week in Sydney, I have begun to feel a little more comfortable around town. I have finally started exploring more outside of the general neighborhood on my own time. My classmates and I tend to stick together which is nice because they are all amazing, not to mention that I am terrified of the idea of getting lost (almost happened already) in this big city.
I have enjoyed learning about what makes Sydney unique so much that I would love to tell you about my favorite spots and the differences that I’ve found in my time here.
Just around the Quay:
1. Bright and Busy. During the day, the sun shines bright and everywhere you look there are people bustling around to and from the bus, train or ferry, on their way to work, school, or play.
2. People with Priorities. While mostly all of the locals I’ve spoken to have been extremely nice, they have not been the type to approach me for contact. Everyone tends to keep to themselves from what I’ve noticed. Although it is difficult to have a good conversation with a stranger on the bus or train when you’re trying to focus on not missing your stop (again) anyway.
3. Fresh Air… Mostly. The air is much cleaner here than where I come from in Northern California. There isn’t nearly as much smoke from wildfires or smog from an overflow of cars on the road. However, when you enter the city away from the open pier with the ocean breeze, it can be hard to avoid the smell of cigarettes which are much more common than I had expected before coming here.
4. Live Music Galore. It is easy to spot street performers if you follow the public transport system. Most of them are actually very good and each one is unique. The two most notable areas I recall are the pier at The Rocks and the tunnels leading from Central Station.
5. Food on Another Level. While the food is pretty expensive here, I have yet to be truly disappointed by anything. The dairy, eggs, and meats taste richer; the chocolate is creamier; and the fruits and vegetables are exploding with natural flavor.
6. The Museum of Contemporary Art. Initially, the museum was just an interesting way for me to pass time. As I dove in with my fellow classmate, we realized that it was much more than that. They had a lot of light-hearted exhibits that were honestly kind of weird (I love art, but I am not experienced at articulating the intricacies of it) but the first part of the experience was really fun.
Go a little deeper into the museum and you get to the more provoking pieces. Many of these exhibits represent death. There aren’t enough words to describe the impact this left; a feeling of sadness for those lives lost; a feeling of empathy for those affected because of it. One of the displays towards the end was a writing project about forgiveness and gratitude which was a perfect ending to the heart-jerking experience.
7. Paddy’s Market. This market comes to town every week and is more or less attached to the Market City; it’s basically a semi-underground shopping center filled with anything you might need. There is so much food for great prices (I will definitely be going back for groceries); discount clothes, shoes, and handbags (very hard to resist); Halloween costumes (probably just because it’s coming up soon); and souvenirs you might need at the best prices I have seen yet.
8. Catmosphere. I had heard about this place called "Catmosphere" from the CAPA team during orientation and had been looking forward to a time when I could explore it. Well, one day I took the long way home from work and realized that it is just down the street from my internship site! I was so tempted to go in that day but I am saving my pennies to go in with my classmates because they host “Parties with the Castronauts” for groups of 10. There is also a special package for “kitten time”; I think that this would be perfect for a post-midterm de-stressor.
9. I Creamy. I had a day that was going to be one of those days when you stay in your pajamas all day and do homework… but when one of your flatmates brings up flower-shaped ice cream, you get dressed and get out the door. I creamy’s flower cones are not only fun but they are made from some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had. The experience is definitely worth the couple extra dollars for these beautiful creations.
10. Bondi Beach. Bondi beach is a beautiful sight during the day or night. In the daytime, there are many families and groups of friends playing beach games. At night, the restaurants become upbeat bars and the beach is sprinkled with runners and couples. I’m glad that I got to enjoy a short walk in the cool sand before heading home for the night. Somewhere along the way, I got the bus routes mixed up and ended up at The Rocks rather than my home in Ultimo. Luckily, the detour only took 45 minutes out of my night. Nothing some late-night Macca’s (Aussie slang for McDonald’s) can’t fix.
Sara's journey continues every Thursday so stay tuned.