Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Our first taste of Australia

After landing in Sydney, we set out to explore the city and visit famous landmarks such as the Opera House and the Rocks.

After landing in Sydney, despite it being 6 a.m. and having slept on a plane, we immediately went out to explore. We took a short bus tour to get acquainted with the city and got our first glimpse of the iconic Sydney Opera House.

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We then toured a neighborhood of Sydney called the Rocks, where the first Europeans settled in Sydney. The Rocks gave an interesting contrast between the modern sky-scrapers and the old sandstone settlements made by the convicts sent over from England. Interestingly, many of the historic buildings have been turned into public housing and put back on the market at very high prices. Pictured below are some of these houses.

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Our tour guide explained that conditions in the Rocks were not very pleasant in the recent past. There was no plumbing or sewage system until the 1900s, and up until the 1970s, the Rocks remained a dangerous neighborhood.

The picture below shows a house that was recently uncovered. There were no bathrooms and the rooms were very small.

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After the tour, the group had lunch along the harbor with the Opera House in the background. It was truly amazing to be sitting eating fish and chips next to this world-famous landmark.

To further explore the city, a group of us went on a jog through the gardens and parks, all the way back to the Opera House. Most striking was the difference in the trees in the parks. Everyone was fascinated by the Eucalyptus trees.

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While writing this blog post, one of my roommates pointed out that I forgot to write about a church we visited. It was very pretty church, but I had seen many churches like it before. My roommate explained that it stood out in her mind because there are not many churches in her native country. It made me realize how many different perspectives we have in our group despite all being from the University of Minnesota.

The first day in Australia ended with a group dinner at a Greek restaurant. We retired back to our hotel, anxious to get some sleep and prepare for our first company visits tomorrow.

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