Sydney, Australia: Day 1

                   The first statement anyone said about this trip was either, "Long flight," or "You're only going for 5 days?" Those were the last scenarios we thought of as we left the day after Christmas. Yes, the flight is long, but it helps to be sleeping during most of it. We had a great flight and landed in Sydney around 6 a.m. This meant a full day of adventuring, even though it was 16 hours ahead of the time we left. The first task was to exchange American money for Aussie money, and then find our transportation to the hotel. Transportation wasn't something we thought of ahead of time, nor were the visas that were needed to enter the country. The nearest Opal public transportation reminded us a lot of Marta in Atlanta, so we loaded up our Opal cards and took the double decker train to Green Square. We walked about 15 minutes from the train station to our hotel. The concierge was so helpful to give us an adapter for their plugs, to highlight our bus route to the harbor and to tell us what bus to take. 

                We charged up our phone (which we could only use through an international plan), and then walked down the street to the nearest bus stop. We watched as people tapped their Opal card and waited until we got near the harbor to get off. People were walking around, the traditional sounds of didgeridoos were heard and then we saw the Sydney Harbor Bridge. It stood like a pillar of strength and we knew that we would soon see it up close and personal. As we walked along the edge of the harbor, we saw one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen. The Sydney Opera House stood pronounced and in the spotlight of the harbor. It's tilted roof and abstract structure sets it apart from any building in the world. We found the entrance and went inside to pick up our tickets for the New Years Eve show. The lady behind the counter answered all our questions and told us the best way to get to the opera house on the night of. We proceeded to walk towards the Royal gardens that overlooked the opera house. The birds were singing and bouncing from tree to tree and we listened to the Aussie accents all around us. 

                When we got the call that out hotel was ready, we found our way back to the bus stop and walked to our hotel. It was a two story townhouse and looked so inviting after a 19 hour flight from home. We knew that there was only an hour before we had to get ready for our first adventure. Of course, we used that opportunity to sleep. Even with the exhaustion, we couldn't help but be excited to finally be here after months of planning. Once we woke up, we went downstairs and the Helitours company picked us up for our short drive to the airport. After getting a short version of Australian politics and prime ministers, we stopped at the helicopter side of the airport. My mom had gotten this as a graduation gift for Jordan, but we had to wait for twilight. I won't be ashamed to say that the pilot found us sleeping while sitting up. 

               We watched the mini video about safety and loaded the helicopter for my first ride. It was absolutely beautiful and a surreal feeling to be flying above the harbor. The sun began to set and the colors filled the sky. The harbor bridge stood prominently above the harbor with the Sydney House so close nearby. We were able to see the various beaches and rock faces. Sydney was gorgeous from this view and I couldn't wait to see what adventure waited for us tomorrow. Once we landed, we went right to the hotel and passed out until the morning. 5 days were what we had of this experience, and we were going to make the most of every moment.