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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Greetings from Sydney, Australia

After the longest 24 hours of my life, I can finally say the three words I've been anxious to speak/type. Three words I didn't think would ever be true. Three words that would finally put an end to my airport madness.

I made it. 

FINALLY, I made it to Australia. 

'After the rain comes the rainbow' could not be a more true statement. After a hellacious Monday evening spent in and out of the airport, things were certainly looking up on Tuesday. Our flight was on time. I was able to switch to a window seat on an exit row with extra legroom. Here's the best part, the two people who were supposed to sit beside me rescheduled their flight so I had my row all to myself. Our flight was smooth and easy with great service. Oh, and I took a lot of naps. 

It seems as if the havoc of being stranded in California for an unexpected 24 hours really paid off. 

For those of you who don't know, one of the main reasons I've been so interested in visiting Australia is because of a dear friend I met back in fall of 2013. I met her during her study abroad semester where she attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. (Talk about fate, all the way from Sydney, Australia to Charlotte, NC.) We haven't seen each other in almost three years. Though distance with one of your best friends is difficult, Hannah has always been there for me through every one of my ups and downs. My arrival was certainly emotional for both of us. 

Our first stop of the day was obvious... food and some much needed coffee. Hannah took us to a beautiful place called The Grounds of Alexandria. This place is many of things: a venue, a restaurant, a small market, and a miniature farm housing the infamous Kevin Bacon--not the actor, but a very fun loving, hefty set pig. 

For my coffee lovers, you've been warned. Australian coffee definitely gave me a run for my money. 

The weather could not have been more perfect for my arrival day. We decided to spend a few hours at a beach nearby after lunch, Balmoral beach. I was in awe that I was standing on a beach in 90 F degree weather with nothing but sunshine on February 9th. I planned my trip perfectly as I will be skipping a few months of winter back home. 

The beaches here are nothing short of breathtaking. The water is crystal blue and even the beach itself is covered in scenic, beautiful rocks. I'm anxious to visit as many of Sydney beaches as possible during my trip.

After some fun in the sun and a few nod-offs from my jet lag, we met some friends for dinner at a new place near Central Park of Sydney called Spice Alley. Talk about food coma. The coolest thing about this place... it's BYOW (yes, you read that correctly: bring your own WINE). The food was incredible. This place has a ton of different booths where you can mix and match and also enjoy dinner in a tapas fashion by splitting multiple plates with friends. It's the best of both worlds. 

Spice Alley had a very relaxed atmosphere and I believe I'm still in a food coma. For those visiting Sydney, I highly recommend checking this place out. You won't regret it. We even had a night cap of some iced milo tea--think of a drink that's served ice cold and even more delicious than chocolate milk. 

My jet lag put me to sleep at precisely 10:00pm on Thursday evening so it is currently 8:00am here on Friday, February 10th. Looking forward to a day of typical tourist things such as the zoo, the Harbor Bridge, and the Opera House. Not to mention, it's going to be pushing 100 F degrees today. Wish us luck!

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