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Reisverslag Byron & Sydney
25 juni 2014
Byron & Sydney
On the 25th of june we arrived in a little surfers town called Byron Bay. It is THE spot to go surfing and it has the most laid back vibe you'll come across in the east coast.
We checked in to our hostel, which was the only hostel in town having direct beach access, lucky us! We were placed in a 5 bed dorm together with an English couple who pretty much spent every evening watching Game of Thrones and playing Bejeweled, and a German guy whose favorite and most used expression was 'fuck you!' (which he pronounced like 'faack youu').
We didn't spend much time in our room though as we had a pretty full schedule. The first day we spent at the beach, trying to bodyboard, and later on went for a nice dinner in town with live music on every corner of the street.
The next day we had a daytrip to Nimbin planned. Now for those of you who don't know what Nimbin is, it's the marijuana capital of Australia. A tiny little hippie town and probably the only place where you'll come across drug dealers in front of a day care centre.
You should know that possessing or dealing drugs is strictly prohibited in Australia, but in Nimbin there's a high tolerance on it. Police have tried to shut down several cafe's and shops over the years but they never succeeded in permanently putting an end to the cannabis culture in Nimbin. Every year the local community organizes a big event called 'Mardi Grass' which attracts thousands of free-spirited people from all over the country if not globe, trying to put an end to the prohibition of cannabis in Australia.
Anyway we went there in this super cracky bus driven by a middle-aged hippie guy (who looked pretty normal for a hippie guy btw) who had a great taste in music. As we arrived in Nimbin you could immediately smell the marijana coming at you. We walked towards the main street with all the shops and cafe's and were greeted by a lady sitting outside an art gallery, sneakily holding up a sign saying 'cookies' as we walked by. Cookies in Nimbin aren't the sweet kind of biscuits you find in normal shops though, they're cookies containing a fair amount of cannabis and are known to give you an intense and longlasting trip.
As we entered a few cafe's to see where we would get something to eat (I'm not referring to anything trippy here) I was amazed by the locals. Most of them wore dirty, old hippie clothes, walked barefoot, looked like they hadn't eaten in a long time, nor taken a shower, and just spent their time walking around chatting to each other on the street.
We found ourselves a nice little cafe with great food and drinks and spent most of our time sitting there just watching the Nimbin life in all its 'glory'. After a while we walked back to the bus and went to the toilet at the infamous 'Rainbow Cafe' where a bunch of people sat in the backyard smoking pot (as they call it). Just walking pass them inhaling the smoke made me feel kinda dizzy. No need for expensive cookies :P
We took the bus to a beautiful place near a river where we would have a BBQ. It was so peaceful, quite, and the surroundings were simply stunning. Completely different from anything we had seen before. Thick green bush on rolling hills, and lush green grass covering the fields. All together it made a great day out.
The next day we had a surfing class planned. We were picked up from our hostel and together with 3 other backpackers, the surfing coach and photographer we went off to the beach. We got a short warming up and briefing, and shortly after we walked towards the sea with our EXTREMELY heavy surf boards (do NOT underestimate the weight of a beginners' surfboard, I must admit I've been willing to give up and drop it quite a few times). In fact, the surfing itself was almost easier than just walking with your surfboard under your arm. Once you catch a good wave all you have to do is stand up and find your balance, and then just ride it until you're back in shallow water. Pretty cool once you succeed (: After about 2 hours of surfing we were pretty damn exhausted and happy to go for a nice shower and dinner.
The next day we spent bodyboarding, sunbathing and traveling. In that order. We caught the overnight bus around 5pm and arrived in Sydney early in the morning. The bus driver had to wake us up as the rest of the people had already left the bus 20 minutes ago, whereas we hadn't shown any sign of life yet. At least you can say our earplugs worked, right?
As we emerged from the bus with our red sleepy faces and heavy backpacks we noticed something different. It was COLD! Honestly, looking around people were even wearing jackets! So, sleepy and cold we had to find ourselves a way to get to the hostel, that claimed to not arrange any pick up from the bus stop. We ended up having to take the train, then walk. Not funny, with a 15-20kg backpack, at least 2 more pieces of hand luggage and a lovely 4 or so hours of sleep on a constantly shaking bus (gotta love the roads here..).
We managed to find it though and got a room on the 4th, and top, floor. We appeared to be sharing the room with 5 other guys, all British. Obviously I've been called meercat for the whole of our stay again, but this time they came up with yet another nickname. Monitor. Don't ask me why, I guess it's British humour I will never understand.
Anyway we spent the day walking around town a little, getting used to being in a big city again instead of the surfers towns along the coast.
The next day we went on a daytrip to the Blue Mountains National Park. It is one of the most well known parks in Australia, which is no surprise as it is absolutely stunning! Together with our crazy guide 'Smokey' we wandered the rocky paths and steps that lead us to the most stunning places. From the top of a waterfall down to the very bottom, and up again. 2000 steps. Good workout?
To describe the beautiful scenery of the Blue Mountains I'd have to at least add a few pictures but my lovely little laptop friend won't let me so you'll have to wait until I get back home.. (:
The following days mainly consisted of wandering around beautiful Sydney. The parks, markets and harbour make it such a lovely place to hang out. We were lucky to be there in the month of June as there was a daily light show called 'Vivid' going on during which the entire skyline including Opera House and bridge get lit up in the most amazing colours and shapes. It attracted LOTS of people and even the main roads were made traffic-free in the evenings to allow as many people as possible to walk to the harbour.
The nights were spent in our room with the roommates, and despite our resolutions to go to bed early after a late night the night before we didn't succeed once. Every night we would go to sleep around 3/4 when the British flood of words had stopped flowing. Great fun though, good guys.
Well and then after 5 days Sydney came the moment we weren't exactly looking forward to. The end of our Australia adventure and a goodbye for a month. Sanne to Fiji and I to Sri Lanka. Traveling and backpacking Australia has brought me so many unforgettable memories that will stay with me forever. The people we've met, places we've seen, seas we've swam, food we've eaten, hostels we've both loved and hated, they are all part of a journey that has made me grow as a person and that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I feel blessed to have shared it with my amazing, crazy, impulsive and caring friend Sanne, vaters for de levuh!
Yes, I know, this blog is later than promised, again.. I'm getting towards the end of my stay in Sri Lanka already and I'm flying home in less than a week. I'm going to work on a separate report about my stay in Sri Lanka the next few days/weeks which I will post as soon as it's done! Lots to think and write about..
28 juni 2014 22:11 | Door: Marinka
Lieverd, mooi verslag weer! Je schrijft zo leuk. En het eind.. ach ja, daar voel ik ook wel even kriebels bij.. raakt me. Jullie maken zoveel mee in korte tijd. Gaaf! En een ervaring die altijd met je mee zal gaan. Weet dat het je ook heeft veranderd. Zie uit naar dinsdag!
30 juni 2014 21:44 | Door: Hanneke
Hoi mirthe, het zit er alweer bijna op morgen kom je al naar huis. We hebben je blogs met plezier gelezen en meegeleefd met je reis. Je neemt de ander echt mee in je verhaal, prachtig om te lezen en erg goed om mijn engels te verbeteren. Goede vlucht, tot gauw. Groeten hanneke