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Ku-Ring-Gai Chase and Christmas Lights

So the hostage situation seems to be over. This is a travel blog, not a current affairs blog, so I’m not going to spend too much time dwelling on the whys and wherefores. However, my thoughts are definitely with the families of those concerned. It’s slightly ironic for something like this to happen in Sydney when I considered my trip to Jordan earlier this year to be higher risk. It just goes to show that it’s often not the perceived dangers you need to worry about; it’s the unperceived ones!

However, most of Sydney has been business as usual. This is something I also found in Jordan: the massive incidents you read about in the news are usually in very specific areas, and, outside of those areas, things are perfectly fine. You have to be extremely unlucky and just be in the wrong place at the wrong time – and of course, this goes for home as well as away, so it shouldn’t be a reason for not going abroad.

That aside, I actually had an AMAZING weekend! Friday got me off to a good start, as I found out I’d got myself a summer job near Manly. After completing my interview, I walked down to Manly Beach through some beautiful seaside streets…

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…and started off my weekend with a trip to the Manly Art Gallery and Museum.

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Coogee Pool by Ian Lever
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Artwork by Sarah Robson
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Vintage surfboards

Then I sat outside for a bit and watched the surfers. They must have been absolutely crazy, as the beach was closed due to such dangerous waves.

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Then on Saturday morning I joined the Sydney Bushwalkers for a hike in Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park. We did the 14km Jerusalem Bay track from Cowan (pronounced Cow-anne) to Brooklyn. It was pretty hot with some steep climbs, but it was great to get some exercise and fresh air. I also met some really interesting people from countries as varied as Poland and Taiwan. There was a fair bit of wildlife in evidence. I saw a bright red dragonfly (although unfortunately didn’t get a picture), heard lots of frogs, and walked into a nest of bull ants (think normal ant size x 5) who started crawling up my legs. Fortunately I was saved from painful bites by my saviour Laura, who attacked them with her insect repellent!

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On Saturday evening I met up with Amy and Jenna to experience some Sydney Christmas festivities. We wandered around the QVB shopping centre first, in which Swarovski had sponsored an absolutely huge Christmas tree. They also sponsored a glamorous crystal Santa’s Grotto.

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The tree goes down for 5 floors. This is the view of the tree top, from the 5th floor.

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We then went on to Pitt Street Mall to see the Lego tree! I loved the quintessentially Australian details of a surfing Santa and Christmas koala.

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Martin Place also has a really cool Christmas tree. You can text your Christmas messages to it, and the text will appear on the electronic banner wrapped around the tree.

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However, the real highlights of the evening were the Christmas light projections. We went to St. Mary’s Cathedral in Hyde Park, where we were serenaded with Christmas carols by the local community choir. This was followed by the light display on the front of the church, which was incredibly beautiful to watch.

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The projections finished just in time for us to go and watch the weekly firework display at Darling Harbour (this is a year-round thing, but it still contributed to a nice Christmassy feeling).

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On my way home, I stopped off at the Town Hall to have a look at the Christmas light projections there. These were absolutely stunning, and it helped that the shop I was standing next to blared out some vintage Christmas tunes.

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That’s all for now, folks. Next post will be on the second half of my weekend – the Blue Mountains.

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