It seemed appropriate to add one more country to our list this year so we opted to use the time and money for the Christmas holiday to visit Sydney Australia — half the distance to California — a mere 12 hour plane ride. 2014 was definitely the “travel year” for the Bryson family. As Hailey and I sat at Bondi Beach during the Christmas holiday, we reminisced on the amazing places we experienced this past year and laughed about many of the funny memories. It truly was a memorable 2014.
We could not have picked a destination that came closer to feeling like we had returned to San Clemente California. It was a great experience “returning to civilization” and spending Christmas in summer at the beach. We learned that Australia heads to the beach on Christmas Day. It looked like it would on the 4th of July on our beaches. Santa hats were seen everywhere and santa hats were the “sandcastles” being built in the most incredible sand we have ever experienced — no rocks, no seashells, but superfine sand. We broke many traditions this year by taking this trip but we feel it will definitely be a Christmas we will remember.
We split our 10 nights in Australia between a hotel that was a short 5 minute walk to Bondi Beach and the Marriott right in the Sydney Harbor. We found the people in Australia to be so friendly and the food amazing. We learned the bus system well to get around as well as the ferries and taxis. A few highlights of the trip included:
- Climbing the Sydney Bridge on Christmas Eve
- Bondi to Coogee Beach walk — it must be one of the most incredible beach walks in the world.
Along the coastal walk. We passed two different swimming pools for the public that are built right on the ocean, a giant cemetery right on the coastal bluffs and many beaches with playgrounds and grass areas. Definitely a great place to live.
- Watson Bay
- Manly and Bondi Beaches
- Sydney Opera House Tour
One of the fascinating things we learned from the Sydney Opera House is that it is not white. Yes, all the pictures from afar show it as white but there is a great variety of color in the tiles in beiges, creams and whites. The history of this building and how it actually came to be built is incredible.
- Fireworks on New Years right by the Opera House and Bridge
A view of the crowds waiting on New Years Eve. Hailey, Tyler and myself spent the 10 hours waiting in the sun all day to be in the thick of the action in Sydney. We were sitting next to a couple from France and a cute family from Indonesia. The best people watching one could ever find!
- And the top highlight — skyping with our oldest son, Jacob, who is serving a mission in the Philippines.
With the seven different countries we have vacationed or lived in this past year, there are a few things that we have come to really appreciate in life. We truly appreciate these “magic carpet rides” we have taken to get a taste of different cultures, experience the beauty that is everywhere in this world and to learn so much about things that one has to see and experience to really learn about. Thank you 2014 for a great year!