When I decided to return to Australia, I contacted Marta and Tina to let them know the good news. We had met on a tour out of Sydney more than two years ago and had kept in touch on and off ever since. They were Sydney natives, via Italy and Lebanon respectively, and we planned to catch up once I arrived in the city.
A few days after I settled in, they met me outside of my hostel and took me on a walking tour of the Surry Hills neighborhood. A thriving café and restaurant culture existed just a few streets away from where I was staying, but having only stuck to the main road, I didn’t manage to find it on my own.
The girls took me to one of their favorite pizza joints, the name of which I can’t seem to remember. It must be good if Marta, the Italian, is willing to endure it as I’m sure nothing she’s found out here can compare to anything back home.
Tina ordered three huge pizzas and drinks at the bar and we tried to find an empty table in the small space. People were packed in pretty tightly – from couples on dates to large groups of friends. The atmosphere was jovial and rock music blared around us. Apparently this place was a favorite for many others as well!
When the pizzas arrived, the waiter placed them on three stands and they hovered at just about the right height to entice our noses with their wonderful aromas. Everyone quickly dug in and not much conversation was had over the munching and crunching. We all got lost in the meal.
With overflowing bellies, we waddled our way outside and down the street heading into the CBD. The night was warm and the stroll to Circular Quay was as enjoyable as the company. We set up shop outside the Opera Bar to do a bit of people watching. It seemed like the Opera Bar drew all kinds of crowds, because some strutted their stuff in their best outfits while others lounged about in more casual attire. The nighttime view of the city and Sydney Harbor were no doubt the main attractions as well as the Sydney Opera House itself.
While we were sitting and chatting, a fireworks display was going off across the harbor. I’m not sure what it was for, but I preferred to think of it as a nice ‘welcome to the city’ for me and me alone. When the night was over, we made plans to meet up near their house so I could enjoy a home-cooked meal for my birthday. Who could pass that up?