Although I am technically “studying abroad,” I find myself with more free time than ever before. In New York, I usually spend my free time bundled up in my apartment, trying to stay warm, ordering seamless and binge-watching Netflix. But because it is summer in Sydney, I spend a lot of time walking around. Going on walks is a great way to get exercise, and being outside helps me get out of the NYU Sydney bubble. But more importantly, it allows me to see the many sides of my new city. Sydney has a city center, surrounded by suburbs, each with their own vibe. It reminds me of Los Angeles in that way, but here, it seems like you can walk for miles and not risk entering an unsafe part of town. One of my favorite walks is on my way to yoga, up through Surry Hills and back to Haymarket.
I leave my building and make a right, passing nothing but Asian food restaurants until I hit George Street. Unfortunately I can’t smell any of the delicious food being cooked inside, but as I pass Satang Thai, I can see all the delicious meals being eaten through the floor to ceiling windows. George and Quay make an extremely busy intersection, so it is completely high stress until I make it to the other side of George. Once I get there, I pass a few busses. There are plenty of hostels and backpacker travel agencies in this area, as well as the Central Bus Station, so there is always a bus being loaded with people on to their next adventure. Then I go through a tunnel, under the Central Train Station. This is my least favorite part of the walk. It is dark and full of sketchy shops and restaurants, such as a Panda Express that is nothing like the one at home. It is also where I have seen the most homeless people in Sydney. I rarely see homeless people here, so passing a few is always a little jolting. Then I cross Elizabeth, another bustling street, and make a left on Mary. I do yoga a few times a week here and I come out of class feeling renewed, calmed, and alive, and because of this, the walk changes dramatically on my way back.
After yoga I usually trek up the massive hills on Albion Street, make a right on Crown, and wander through About Life, a small health foods store. Albion has the biggest hill I have seen so far in Sydney, but I press onward. I pass a cute vegan restaurant that is undoubtedly home to the owners as well, and Relish, a coffee shop that I always tell myself to visit, but somehow never find my way back there for a meal. Crown has some of the most beautiful houses in Sydney. They are two-story townhomes with amazing wrought iron balconies. Ivy and flowers spill over the edges of the balcony, tangling themselves into the iron. They are painted all sorts of colors, from orange to green, and brighten up the quiet street. I pass a few other restaurants on my way to the market but because it is Sunday evening, they are all closed. But the sun is finally giving everyone a break from Sydney’s intense heat. It is a quiet, peaceful time that prepares me for the week ahead.