Firstly, I apologise for how delayed these posts are but:
- In the run up to Christmas and since moving away from Sydney there has been no time at all to sit down and write these posts (I have a backlog so there are more to come).
- There hasn’t been any reliable wifi.
- I wasn’t comfortable taking out my laptop in hostels long enough for me to write a blog post AND include photos etc.
Christmas seemed to be rapidly approaching and we were nowhere near ready. It didn’t even feel like Christmas. Here’s how we spent the days leading up to the festive period…
Monday 21st Dec
I was keen to visit the Art Gallery of New South Wales (situated on the edge of the Royal Botanical Gardens) so after a lie-in we headed out. The weather had said that it would be 24 degrees, sunny and only partly cloudy. I was dressed in shorts and a cropped top; Alice in similar attire. Boy, how the weather was wrong. It started raining.
We passed St Mary’s Cathedral on the way (you can see how dreary the weather is) where there was a nativity scene set up for Christmas which was really nice.
We hurried over to the art gallery and had a wander around (though the air con really wasn’t helping at this point). It was really nice to see a variety of different artwork and older artists. Here are some photos of my favourites:
When we had both finished admiring the artwork, we ventured out into the rain and tried to find a cafe to eat our lunch in. There was nowhere decent-looking nearby so we settled for a sheltered public eating area by the train station. After eating the last of my koftes we debated whether or not to go to a shopping centre for a quick browse but since the rain had suddenly got worse, we decided against it and made our way back to the apartment. The rest of my evening was spent watching Mistresses episodes, drafting blog posts, reading Silas Marner and researching more about Chinese visas. Oh, and eating half a massive bar of Cadbury’s Top Deck (gotta love that chocolate – can’t believe it’s not sold in England anymore!)
Tuesday 22nd Dec
Alice and I didn’t get to bed until past 4:30am as we were up talking about anything and everything so we didn’t drag ourselves out of bed until midday. This was alright though considering it was pouring it down outside. We had to go back to the travel agency we booked our Whitsundays tour through as they couldn’t give us any confirmation of our bookings until we physically went back to see them (so annoying).
We made the half hour journey there and along with getting our Whitsundays confirmation, we also booked our skydive in Cairns along with six nights accommodation – how exciting?!?! (I don’t think it’s hit me yet that I’m actually doing a freakin’ skydive) Once everything had been processed, we hopped on the bus back to Bondi Junction (it was still pouring it down) and made our way to The Soda Factory.
On Tuesdays, Sydney has some really good $1 deals and one of them was $1 hotdogs at this place. We saw a couple of girls queueing to get into this bar and they were dressed up really fancy (heels and all at 5pm) so we were worried we wouldn’t get in with our lame flip flops. Luckily we did and we headed straight through the cocoa-cola vending machine door (it’s so cool but I’m not going to lie here… I did get confused and thought there wasn’t an entrance 🙈).
What we didn’t realise at the time was you had to order either a drink or a side with the hotdogs in order for them to be $1 (usually $10 each).
I ordered sweet potato fries along with the Johnny Drama, the Buffalo Bill and then the Elvis Presley hotdog consisting of a deep fried banana with jam (oh my god the sweet one was DIVINE).
The Soda Factory is such a cool vintage bar and I loved the atmosphere: people shared the high tables together, there were comfy booths and sofas, the tables were strewn with red and white picnic napkins and baskets of delicious food and there was even live music. What’s not to love?
When I had finally got through my three hot dogs and sweet potato fries (I was struggling after just 1.5 hot dogs) we decided it’s time we should leave. When we got back my evening was spent writing another blog post and starting Season 3 of Mistresses while Alice slept.
Wednesday 23rd Dec
The day’s plan was to:
- look up the prices of food for Christmas dinner
- drop our luggage in storage
- find a patisserie for a nice dessert
- walk around the botanical gardens
- walk over Sydney harbour bridge
The only thing we managed to get done was the very first bullet point. We had a look at everything and then bought all of our vegetables. We then went to the local fruit and veg market and bought a fresh pineapple as well as a small piece of dragonfruit (I have a series of challenges I got for my 18th birthday and one is to try five new fruit or veg). Unfortunately, I ended up leaving this piece of fruit behind *cries* so I shall have to buy some more.
The reason why we didn’t do any of the other planned things is simply because it was already 5pm: everything was shut. Instead, we looked up various backpacker clubs online and found that there was a student night on at Scary Canary. With student ID you got free entry, discounted drinks and a free jam jar on arrival (a specialty $10 drink in a jam jar with two different types of shots). It was also a foam night given that it was a Wednesday. Were we in? Hell yes!
Luckily, my student ID which I had left back home had arrived in the post that very day (thanks Mum!) so the whole event seemed perfect for us. We found the club quite easily but got there at about 8:30pm which meant there were still people eating and just chilling at the bar (it hadn’t turned into a nightclub just yet plus we were sooo early). We bought drinks from the bar (I a jam jar and Alice a disaronno and coke) and just waited for more people to arrive.
By about 9:30pm it started getting busy and people were coming in with green wristbands – was this something to show that you were a student? I think it was. We finished our drinks and went back outside to queue and get our wristband and voucher for a free jam jar before rejoining the crowds who were watching the beer pong competition.
After the beer pong the tables were cleared away and the music began. We danced the night away and, despite the music not quite being to our tastes, we still had a really good time. It was lovely to just have a proper night out after settling into Australian (and backpacker) life. The last train was just before 1am so we were keeping an eye on the time. Fortunately (or unfortunately?) Alice got kicked out of the club at about 12:45am for filming the bikini contest (where girls were taking their tops off and doing all sorts – we were warned prior that filming was strictly prohibited). We made it back in time and just crashed out. Christmas Eve had come around so, so fast!
Look out for my post on Christmas in Australia (I’m literally drafting it right now) and check out my other posts:
- LHR > MEL: The journey
- Melbourne… so far
- The Great Ocean Road | Bunyip Tours
- Goodbye Melbourne, Hello Sydney
- Bondi, Coogee, UCAS and the Blue Mountains | Sydney
If you’re not following the adventure already, here are the links:
Instagram & Twitter – @violahelen_
Snapchat – violahelen
Peace and love,