A Travellerspoint blog

All good things...

sunny 69 °F

Well, here we are ... 28 days, 6 countries, 7 cities, 8 flights, 26 workouts, dozens of exciting meals, and hundreds of unforgettable experiences later ... it's almost over. We have learned, enjoyed, and really relaxed. We feel so lucky to have embarked upon this amazing trip, and while we're sad that it's coming to a close, we're excited for what's to come.

Before I wax sentimental for too much longer, let me update you briefly on today. It'll be easy! Coffee, run (Centennial Park for me, Harbour for Kev), "mecca" for lunch, reading for hours in the Botanic Gardens, packing/ work on home stuff/ furniture shopping. That was basically the day!
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Tonight, though, we had a special outing planned. We boarded the Captain Cook Cruise Line for a Dinner Cruise, to soak in the views of Sydney and enjoy the time together. We had a great time, and took far more pictures than we'll post here. I had salmon and Kev had ravioli with Wagyu bolognaise sauce, and we spent a while on the top deck just gazing at the city. It was beautiful and a great way to spend the last night!
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I'll leave you with the top 5 things we will miss from the trip, and the top 5 things we're looking forward to upon our return.
We'll miss....
1. Spending 24 hours a day together, and not even getting sick of each other :).
2. Exploring new cultures and learning so much about new cities.
3. No responsibilities! Checking email when we want to, going wherever we want to, taking a nap in the middle of the day if we want to ... you get the point!
4. Truly looking forward to each day and getting excited for what's to come.
5. Having someone clean our room every day and replenish it with water, coffee, etc.!

We look forward to...
1. (Hopefully) closing on our first home purchase next Tuesday 9/4, and picking up my new car Thursday 8/30.
2. Not living out of suitcases (it's been since 6/22, so we can't wait until move in day in a few weeks!)
3. Huge bowls of ice cream! Goldfish! Massive piles of fruits and vegetables! Sneaking bites out of those huge bowls of ice cream! (You can guess who said which one)
4. Exploring Dallas, and calling it home again (and having Mom and Dad nearby!)
5. Wearing my wedding and engagement rings again (in case you haven't noticed, I've been sporting this lovely $9 Amazon.com beauty all trip, just for peace of mind). Australia_Day_11_038.jpg
And a bonus #6. NOT having to get on a plane each week ... oh, wait ... darn consulting! Well, here's to hoping racking up all the airline miles and hotel points again leads to another great vacation in 2 years!

Until then, thanks so much for reading, commenting, and sharing the experience with us! It's been a great one!
-Megan and Kevin

Posted by megandkev 05:28 Archived in Australia Comments (3)

Soaking in the relaxation!

sunny 68 °F

Today was exactly what we needed! Very relaxing, unstructured, and fun. We started with a lazy morning, coffee, and a run (Botanical Gardens for me, Harbour Bridge for Kev). Around lunch time, we ventured out to "mecca," the name we've given to a nearby food court with tons of healthy options (and no "typical American fast food"). Kev got a mix of basil pesto chicken salad, Tuscan chicken salad, and pumpkin and chickpea salad (and then declared that this was the healthiest thing he's eaten all vacation!). I got a mix of "superfood" (quinoa, spinach) salad, lentil and barley salad, and roasted Mediterranean vegetable salad, plus a vegetable/ barley/ chicken soup.
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We next headed to the Museum of Australian Currency Notes ... random, but it was close by, free, and sounded interesting. It was fun to learn about how Australian currency has changed over the years, and the steps they take currently to prevent counterfeit (including making the money from plastic instead of paper!). They currently manufacture currency for 25 other countries.
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The rest of the afternoon was spent in the Royal Botanic Gardens, where we parked ourselves on the lawn in the sun, and literally laid there and read for the entire afternoon. It. Was. Glorious!!!! Kevin thinks they should create a statue of him in the Gardens, so he got in a little practice (leaf included!). I was only a little embarrassed ;).
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We spent a few hours looking at furniture for our new place, and then headed back to Darling Harbour for dinner. There were dozens of places to choose from, but we ended up at a great place on the water, where we got some garlic bread to start, and then Kev enjoyed a steak and I got a rocket/ beet/ goat cheese salad. Yum!
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All in all, a very relaxing day. I am feeling much better, and we're ready to tackle our very last day tomorrow (which might look a whole lot like today, with a fun ending to the day!). See you then -
Megan and Kevin

Posted by megandkev 04:40 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

A very Manly day

sunny 68 °F

Good evening! It's one of the last few Sunday nights before we start work on September 13th that we are not dreading or stressed about ... enjoying it :). Today started as usual with coffee and a run (Harbour Bridge + Dawes Point for me, Centennial Park for Kev). Just as I was thinking I wasn't really in the mood to run, didn't sleep well (return of the insomnia!), and felt a bit sick (just a cold), I was passed by two super-fit runners, each holding one end of a yellow ribbon. It seemed a bit odd, until I realized that the one guy was leading the second guy, who was blind! What a perspective-bringing and inspirational reminder of how very lucky I was to be running across a bridge in Sydney just because I felt like it - don't worry, I enjoyed the rest of the run!

In the late morning, we took a ferry from Circular Quay to Manly Beach, another of Sydney's famous destination beaches. The ferry ride in itself was great, with lots of nice views of both Sydney and Manly, and Manly Beach was much bigger than we had expected! We walked through the Corso (shops and restaurants) and were amazed at how many people were milling about, and stepped onto the beach, which was very pretty but still too cold for us Southerners! While there were tons of outdoor cafes, we preferred to just grab something and sit outside to eat it, so Kev got a chicken kebab pita (unpictured since I wasn't back by the time he started eating!) and I got a salad from a grocery store.
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After lunch, we decided to take another coastal walk, similar to the one at Bondi yesterday. It was full of people, and included more beautiful views, and we stopped again to read by the ocean - very relaxing! Once we got a ways into the walk, though, we lost the trail! We ended up meandering through the suburbs of Manly before tracing our steps back to the beach. Check out these humongous lizards we saw everywhere - they gave me the heebie jeebies ;).
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We took the ferry back to Circular Quay, and experienced more great views. We then relaxed at the hotel and showered up before heading out to dinner.
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When we went to Darling Harbour yesterday, we knew we had to return, so we walked back for dinner tonight. There are many great restaurants on the water, and even though it was a bit chilly, it was very nice to sit outside. We meandered around looking at menus before deciding on "Plate," which turned out to be great. Kev got the special drink of the day (although he made me pretend it was mine since it looks not-so-Manly, but hey, we already covered that for the day!). He then got 3 small plates - fried gnocchi "stack," kangaroo filet, and buffalo mozzarella and cucumber with a berry sauce. I got a chicken kebab with a side salad, and a side order of steamed vegetables. All 5 dishes were excellent!
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While we are incredibly mentally relaxed from so much vacation, we are feeling a little physically tired today. Aside from Thailand, we really have walked 3-8 miles per day (estimated), on top of running 5-10 miles per day, and these desk employees are not used to so much time on the feet! Because of this, we're changing plans a bit for tomorrow and going to enjoy a relaxing and spontaneous day - soaking everything up in our 2nd to last vacation day. We'll let you know what happens!
-Megan and Kevin

Posted by megandkev 04:25 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

"We could actually live here..."

sunny 66 °F

While we have thoroughly enjoyed every city we've been to on this trip (and all for different reasons), Sydney seems to be the city that, if you told us we were to move here tomorrow, we would be completely fine and excited about it. It just feels ... comfortable. Even though there are constantly new experiences, the language/ lifestyle/ food is just similar enough to what we're used to. The perfect weather, gorgeous parks, and friendly people don't hurt either ;).

Today started out as usual with coffee and breakfast, then a run (coastline/ Darling Harbour for Kev, Botanic Gardens for me). We then took a 45-minute bus to Bondi Beach, a popular beach near Sydney. Although we are far too thin-skinned to swim or lay out in 60-degree weather, it was a beautiful place to spend the day! We walked around the town and found a casual lunch (fried chicken wrap for Kev, Greek salad and pumpkin salad for me), which we took to a hillside next to the beach.
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We people-watched for a while (and were amazed at some great volleyball players!), and then took off for the 6.6-kilometer Coastal Walk from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach. The walk was fantastic - the path was narrow and filled with several walkers/ runners, and was leisurely enough that we weren't sweating Great-Wall-style or Mt. Takaosan-style! It took us past several coves with smaller beaches, and had beautiful views. While the walk was only 6.6-km, we took several reading breaks, photo breaks, etc., so it took up much of the afternoon.
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After some emailing and a glass of wine in the hotel room (as a side note, cans of beer in Sydney are ~$5, and a whole bottle of wine was $6! Clearly not the best wine we've ever had in our lives, but still interesting to note the discrepancy!), we met up with John, a friend and (future) colleague at McKinsey Dallas. When John emailed Kevin 3 weeks ago to say John would be Kevin's "integration buddy," Kevin mentioned that he would be traveling for a few weeks, and John replied that he would be in Sydney - at the same hotel - at the same time! What a crazy coincidence! (Made only slightly less crazy by the fact that 99% of McKinsey people will stay at the same chain of hotels in any city at any time, but still!!!) As another coincidence - we mentioned that any restaurant was fine, and John made a reservation at one of Sydney's thousands of restaurants, which happened to be the very same place we ate last night! It was good again the second time around - we shared a pumpkin and arugula pizza, a Hawaiian pizza, and a lamb pizza, and I got a side salad. It was great to catch up with John, and (gasp!) even made me look forward to starting up work again.
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We'll hit another famous Sydney location tomorrow, so stay tuned! I can't believe we only have 3 real days of our "last summer vacation ever" left .... ah!
-Megan and Kevin

Posted by megandkev 05:36 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Darling Day

sunny 67 °F

In case you can't tell, Kevin's job for the blog is to make up titles for the day ... today's is because we went to Darling Harbour today, and for those of you confused by last night's title, that was a song from South Pacific (which Kev thinks he can sing ... I mean, he can sing ... better than the actor).

Anyway, today started out like most - some coffee and relaxation in the room, followed by a great run (on the water for Kev, over Sydney Harbour Bridge for me). We headed out for lunch to an "upscale food court," where Kev got a chicken burrito and I got a combo of 3 salads - California, Asian Green Vegetable, and Pumpkin and Chickpea. We then headed outside to a really neat outdoor festival for Orange, another city in Australia. Apparently, they had free wine tastings, food giveaways, etc., just to entice people to travel to the region!
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We headed out to explore more of Sydney by foot, following along part of the Hop-On-Hop-Off Tour route. We walked through Queen Victoria Building again, saw the Town Hall (which was under construction), and passed by St. Andrew's Cathedral (which was closed on Fridays).
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We then got to Tumbalong Park and the Chinese Gardens. Both were well-kept, and we continue to be amazed by how many nice public spaces there are in Australia. There were tons of people out in Tumbalong Park enjoying the sunny (but slightly cold) day. By Tumbalong Park, we spotted Paddy's Market, a giant market of mostly clothing/ jewelry/ wallets/ stuffed animals/ Uggs, with a small amount of produce (got some strawberries and oranges!).
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On somewhat of a whim, we ended up at Darling Harbour, which turned out to be fantastic! Great views of the city, tons of outdoor restaurants and shops, and lots of people enjoying the day. We had our Kindles with us, so we sat outside and read for a while (until a rather large, KFC-eating man, who just must have been an American, started throwing chicken bits to the pigeons, who surrounded us).
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We explored a bit more of Sydney by foot before returning to relax for a few hours around the hotel. We headed out to The Rocks for drinks and dinner. We started in a place which Kevin convinced me to walk in since they had chicken parm ... and only until we were sitting there did we realize how strange this place was! Terrible red carpeting, burgundy bar stools, a random disco ball, 80s music videos playing, a large "Bistro" sign with a cafeteria-style cafe, random slot machines, fold-down tables ... we were very confused and just couldn't eat there. We switched to a cute Italian place, where we split some cheesy garlic bread (I was soo excited), I had a "prawn and rocket" salad, and Kev had beef lasagna.
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Man, The Rocks and all the surrounding areas were hopping tonight! Staying up late to party has really not been our thing on this trip (one, because we're old; two, because 27 days in a row of that would be pretty tough; three, because we want to see so much of each city and want to get up early enough to actually enjoy the days!), but we kind of laughed when realizing that we were walking home at the time some people our age would be just heading out. C'est la vie! Another fun day tomorrow ...
-Megan and Kevin

Posted by megandkev 04:34 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

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