First impressions of Sydney, Australia

Patricia and I arrived in Sydney on Tuesday, 6th of December 2011. So let me share some of our first impressions.

First impressions of Sydney, Australia

Flight
 
We took a Qantas non-stop flight in Buenos Aires, that lasted 14 hours and was much less painful than anticipated. The airplane flies over the shores of Antarctica for quite a while. So we had the chance to see images of huge ice blocks floating on the ocean. It’s a very interesting view. But most of the time there was just that bright white all around us.

Before the flight I chose a good seat for us with the help of SeatGuru and I stocked a good selection of Argentinian movies in my iPad. So, in the end, the flight was actually comfortable and entertaining. 

 The plane left from Buenos Aires at around 1:30 PM (Buenos Aires local time) and arrived in Sydney at 5:30 PM (Sydney local time) on the following day. So it was daytime during the whole flight.  The good news is that we arrive in Sydney in the beginning of the night. And since we’re tired, the natural thing to do is to sleep. So, we go to bed at the right time, in the new time zone. Which helps us adjust and avoid jet leg. So far, we hadn’t felt any jet leg at all.

 
Bed and breakfast

We chose this bed and breakfast in the suburbs of Sydney. The place is absolutely excellent and the price was quite affordable, in a city where accommodation is often very expensive. Arriving here from the airport is easy by train, although it takes a while (one hour).

 Transport

Sydney has an excellent railway system, with several lines and trains coming and going frequently. And it is also possible to buy multi day passes, which reduces the expenses significantly. We bought a 7 days pass that not only allows us to take trains, but also buses and ferries. It costed AUS 48 each.

 Visiting the city

For staters, we went to the Opera House, one of the most well known landmarks of Sydney. It’s a beautiful place, of course, with great views to the bay and the Harbor Bridge. The Botanical Gardens are just beside, so we spent some time there as well. It’s a large and beautiful park.

 CBD

Next we decided to stroll around CBD, or Central Business District, which is basically Sydney’s downtown. It has a cool and futuristic skyline and, of course lot’s of office buildings and stores. But one interesting thing about it is that we saw not only people wearing suites, but also lots of them wearing sports outfits. Since CBD is close to the Botanical Gardens, a place where many people come to exercise, we often see lots of the exercising mates walking around CBD, which creates a rather interesting contrast.

 Internet

While we were in CBD, we tried to find some free WIFI. Unfortunately, no luck there. There was free access at the Circular Quay train station and that was it. We couldn’t find any other consistent free WIFI hotspot around CBD. No coffee shops seemed to offer it, or any other kind of place. Actually we saw a McDonald’s that supposedly offered it, but no luck when we tried to connect. So, we realized that reports from previous travelers about this subject seem to be on spot. Sydney and free WIFI still don’t know each other very well. 

 Later, talking to our friend, Fabio Pereira, we learned that internet connection is most commonly offered in Sydney with a limited amount of gigabytes for download and upload. I’m not only talking about 3G. It also applies to the ADSL connections and any other kind of internet connection around here, so it seems. For us it’s like coming back in time one decade or more. It’s weird. But it also helps to explain why establishments in general won’t offer free internet connection. Besides, it’s kind of expensive. Fabio told us that this probably happens because of the monopoly that takes place in the telecommunication sector. 

 Anyway, please understand that these are just first impressions. As such, they’re probably not accurate at all. Over the next days we’ll hopefully have a clearer picture. I just decided to mention it because internet access is quite crucial in general and more so for travelers and people working remotely.

Just one last curious fact while on this topic. The fastest internet connection I’ve ever used in my life was offered for free by a hotel in Medellín, Colombia.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t in a developed country.

Fabio and ThoughtWorks

By the end of the day we finally met our good friend Fabio and we paid a quick visit to the nice ThoughtWorks office here in Sydney, where he works, followed by a visit to his house and, of course, some pizza. :-)

 It was really really good to see Fabio again. And we’re looking forward to spend more time with him in the next days.

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