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Museum of Sydney.

Museum of Sydney.

The last few days in Sydney were truly remarkable and enjoyable. I met quite a few people and in part, this was due to my decision to switch accommodations from the suburb outskirts of Sydney to the city center. I checked out of the hostel Thursday morning (Feb. 14th) and knowing I had a long wait before boarding my train to Brisbane , I ate a hearty Aussie breakfast (a lot of carbs) and then found a comfortable couch at the hostel. Also waiting along with me – to other destinations in Australia and other countries – were approximately a half dozen other people, including a young German, Marius.

Marius and I hit it off immediately. Actually, we met on the stairs leading to the laundry room the night before and also that morning, so it was natural to feel comfortable chatting with him about our lives and travels. Marius was going to Bangkok, Thailand and there is a distinct possibility that we might meet there when I arrive in a week, since he’ll Β be there for quite a bit longer (1 month I think he said). The time waiting – him for his flight and I, for a train – flew by really fast, with us discussing everything under the sun.

Marius, a 20 year old German, who is traveling the world before he enters college.

Marius, a 20 year old German, who is traveling the world before he enters college.

At around 3:45pm, 5-6 hours later, I bid good bye to Marius and started walking to the train station. Boarding an inter-country train, at least in Australia, is a fairly seamless endeavor, with none of the overbearing sillyness I perceive our TSA security folks of putting us through. Same deal with most airlines in the U.S.A. So, I boarded the train and settled in for the long train ride to Brisbane. Our train left the station on time at 4:12 and we didn’t arrive in Brisbane until 5:30am the next day. I did get some sleep, but for the most part, it was restless. Upon arriving, I went immediately to an information booth, trying to determine the best way to get to the hostel I was staying at and looking into buying a one week bus pass. All accomplished easily. I was surprised they allowed me to check in at 11:30am, but I wasn’t complaining, as I was pretty beat by the time I got to my room. I took a shower and took a 3 hour nap. Surprisingly, I woke up refreshed and decided to venture out for a couple of hours and explore the immediate area near my hostel. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do too much, as torrential rains forced me to take cover at a city mall.

A fleet of 11 British ships - all represented in miniature detail at the Sydney Museum - settled Sydney in 1788, where they established the first penal colony on the continent.

A fleet of 11 British ships – all represented in miniature detail at the Sydney Museum – settled Sydney in 1788, where they established the first penal colony on the continent.

I’ll do another post on my first couple of days in Brisbane later this week. These are pictures I took of the last full day I had in Sydney and a couple of me sporting my new Aussie “Bush” hat made of Kangaroo leather on the train to Brisbane. I know, I know . . . That pooooor Kangaroo gave his life for a hat. πŸ™‚

St. James Catholic Church, oldest church in Australia.

St. James Catholic Church, oldest church in Australia. The cafe is a bit incongruent near the church in my opinion.

In the square, near St. James Church.

In the square, near St. James Church.

Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria.

Main entrance to St.James Church.

Main entrance to St.James Church.

Sydney Museum. These totem poles were interesting, e.g., some contained sea shells in glass cutouts.

Sydney Museum. These totem poles were interesting, e.g., some contained sea shells in glass cutouts.

Margaret Olley painting. She died in 2011 and was quite famous in Australia for her paintings of her home. She received the "Companion of the Order," from Queen Elizabeth, Great Britain's highest civilian honor.

Margaret Olley painting. She died in 2011 and was quite famous in Australia for her paintings of her home. She received the “Companion of the Order,” from Queen Elizabeth. This is Great Britain’s highest civilian honor.

Scale used by early British settlers in Sydney.

Scale used by early British settlers in Sydney.

Australia participated in the Iraq war and these playing cards show Saddam as the Ace of Spades, and his henchmen as lesser "cards."

Australia participated in the Iraq war and these playing cards show Saddam as the Ace of Spades, and his henchmen as lesser “cards.”

Shrapnel and barb wire from World War I.

Shrapnel, a can opener key, and barb wire from World War I.

On the train, sporting my new Bahma hat. Life is good.

On the train, sporting my new Bahma hat. Life is good.

Heading to Brisbane via a choo choo train.

Heading to Brisbane via a choo choo train.

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