Today Would Be A Nice Day To Be In Sydney

I think there will always be a sense in which Sydney will be my city. I was born there and grew up in its suburbs and outskirts. Despite today’s forecast for uncharacteristically gloomy November weather, if I could hang out there today (ideally with my sister and niece!) instead of the other things I have to do at home, that would make for a wonderful Monday!

The Iconic Harbour Bridge
The Iconic Harbour Bridge

I still feel a strange kind of pride when filling in a form asking for place of birth that I get to write the name of a place so iconic and universally known. I walked across the Harbour Bridge on its 50th birthday and saw Allan Border play his last game at the SCG. I performed in primary school choirs at the Opera House and went to the Royal Easter Show every year. We watched the Tall Ships come into the Harbour from Mrs Macquarie’s Chair on the bicentennial. My 13th birthday party was at Luna Park and while our house was being built we lived for six wonderful weeks in a hotel on the Corso at Manly. I’ve spent a number of New Years Eves in the city for the fireworks, and I was at The Rocks the night Juan Antonio Samaranch announced that the 2000 Olympics would be held in “Syd-a-ney.”

Cricket at the SCG
Cricket at the SCG

I sometimes find it hard to believe that I have lived in a completely different part of the country for nearly two decades. I love Adelaide, but Sydney will always have a pull for me. Whether it is flying in over the harbour or driving up the Hume Highway, whenever I go back to Sydney there is a sense of coming home.

NYE Fireworks on the Bridge with the Cahill Expressway in the way
NYE Fireworks on the Bridge with the Cahill Expressway in the way

What is it about Sydney? It’s not a city I particularly wish to live in these days – the traffic alone would drive me crazy (although I do love that I still know how to drive from Liverpool to Newcastle without using any toll roads!) But it’s a city I appreciate and enjoy and I can certainly understand why many of my friends choose to make it home.

The view from Jonah's at Whale Beach
The view from Jonah’s at Whale Beach
What do I love about Sydney?

All the usual things that everybody else loves, of course – from Darling Harbour to the Corso at Manly, Taronga Zoo and Circular Quay. I love the northern beaches but am happy to leave Bondi to the real tourists. Living in Adelaide even makes me appreciate City Rail 🙂

St Mary's Cathedral
St Mary’s Cathedral

But I also love many of Sydney’s suburbs because of all the memories they bring back. Driving past the house I grew up in at Frenchs Forest or the unit my grandma lived in at Burwood, the hall where we did Physical Culture competitions at Willoughby or the publishing company where I had my first grown-up job at Lane Cove. Am I the only one who feels that pull just to go past and see old familiar places when I am in the area?

Looking out over the bay from suburban Cronulla
Looking out over the bay from suburban Cronulla
What have I learned from Sydney?

Many, many things, but what stands out today is the power of memories. I’ve learned so much from so many people in Sydney, and going back to those places is a way of re-connecting with my history and some of the experiences that have shaped who I am today. It’s a cliché for a reason, that the place you grew up will always be a part of you. And I wonder if it is all that I love about Sydney that set me down the path of traveling and seeking to appreciate and learn from all the other wonderful places this world has to offer?

The recently turned 40 Sydney Opera House
The recently turned 40 Sydney Opera House
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11 thoughts on “Today Would Be A Nice Day To Be In Sydney

  1. Awh! We’d love to spend today with you too, exploring Sydney together – thanks for the quick trip down memory lane – loved it!!!!

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  2. Hi there
    Whilst I have technically been to Sydney before I had never had the opportunity to explore it until just last week (at the age of 44)! I love, love, loved it. Five days was no where near enough time to discover all of it but we had a red hot go. I’m proud to say I have now properly “been to” our biggest city and would love for it to be the launchpad for exploring other big cities across the globe. I wish!

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  3. I can understand and appreciate the “pull” to visit the old, familiar places of one’s history. Born in Perth and growing up in Melbourne it is great to see the things of fond memories again, but also to see how things change as well (and complain about it too). I haven’t been to Perth on holiday for a long time now, so I occasionally visit it on Google Maps. Not quite the same, but gives me an opportunity to make sure that they are still there.

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  4. Sydney is my ‘second’ city. Having lived in the Adelaide Hills for most of my life Adelaide is ‘my’ city. I love how well I know it and how easy it is to access. Sydney is the only other city in the world that I ‘know’. I lived there for 6 months (Bondi!) decades ago. My husband is from Sydney and his mother still lives there, so I get to go there – and have free accommodation! Every time I go I feel energized – even just driving through on the shuttle bus from the airport. Sydney is the only place I know that can make me feel so energized, positive, excited and ‘at home’ all at the same time.

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