Vivid Sydney

The Opera House was my first stop after arriving in Sydney in mid-May

If there was any doubt in my mind (which if you know me at all, you know that of course there was), it vanished the moment I laid eyes once again on the reason I first fell in love with this beautiful city: the Sydney Opera House.  My decision to leave home for a year Down Under was perhaps not as difficult as my decision of where in Australia I should choose to reside.  Before beginning this journey, Sydney was the only city I had ever visited in Oz, so of course that was the obvious choice.  On the other hand, I had been told wonderful things about Melbourne & I couldn’t wait to experience the active arts scene & thriving cafe culture of this vibrant city first-hand.

For this reason, my original plan when I came to Australia was to give living in Melbourne “a go” & see if perhaps it would also be possible to spend a significant amount of time in Sydney (after all, if you can’t eat your cake, then why bother having it, am I right? ;))  Being the worrywart that I am, I was already feeling as if the weeks & months ahead were slipping away before I even left the States!  Australia is such a vast & diverse country: How would I ever find the time (let alone the money!) to do it all?  Or if I couldn’t do it all, how would I know if I was making the right decisions about what to do & what to forego?  How can we ever know for sure?  (Do I sound a bit neurotic here?  Welcome to my world . . . it’s exhausting! ;))

Ultimately I came to understand that there was never really anything to fear – what was the worst that could happen?  I spent a couple of weeks exploring Melbourne (which I had wanted to do anyway) & finally felt I could no longer ignore the fact that as much as I tried, I just wasn’t connecting with the vibe of the city the way that I had with Sydney.

Sounds reasonable enough, but at first I couldn’t help but feel guilty.  Theoretically speaking at least, Melbourne is the ideal city for me.  I enjoy the arts: Melbourne is known for its museums, performing arts & culture.  I love food: Melbourne is the culinary capital of Australia.  It had everything I thought I wanted in a city & I just couldn’t put my finger on why I wasn’t feeling the fit.  Here was my mind battling my heart again & I felt as if I had somehow let down an entire city & all its people.  I wanted to say to them, “it’s not you, Melbourne, it’s me!!”

A cheesy cliche normally reserved for breaking up with one’s significant other, I know, but I honestly felt that way!  Reason told me I should be quite happy in Melbourne, but my heart knew that logic has no real merit in such decision-making.  I felt for Sydney what I can only describe as homesickness: I missed the wild flavors of macarons from Adriano Zumbo, the alluring beaches of Bondi & Manly (I am so, so sorry Melbourne, but St. Kilda & Brighton Beach just don’t do it for me :() & most of all I missed the harbours – Sydney Harbour with its iconic Bridge & Opera House most of all.  I couldn’t stand being so close yet so far from a scene that I will never tire of viewing.

Lighting the Sails of the Sydney Opera House

So here I am.  And if I needed further reassurance that I made the right decision, all I had to do was see “Lighting the Sails” of the Opera House during Vivid Sydney, an annual festival of light, music & ideas held here each winter.  I’m afraid my pictures don’t quite do it justice, so you’ll just have to take my word that this was an incredible light show.  You can also check out the pictures on the Vivid Sydney website to get a better idea of what I was fortunate enough to experience in person.

Heaps of people showed up to see the Opera House in lights

In addition to the Opera House, Customs House also had an amazing light show.  I took a brief video of this as I think it gives a better perspective than the still photos . . . but I can’t seem to figure out how to get said video into my blog post.  It seems I need to save it in another format & those skills are beyond me. 😦

Sydney Customs House all lit up

There were also several other light exhibits around Circular Quay, not to mention the food stalls serving up hot meals (I wish I had realized this before I ate dinner prior to attending the festival! :(), hot mulled wine (this I could not pass up . . . although I am assuming that hot mulled wine is an acquired taste as it was not much to my liking) & cannoli half-filled with the traditional ricotta & half-filled with tiramisu – yum!

Light Sculptures at Circular Quay: Children & adults alike were fascinated by these human-like light forms.

I learned after the festival that this sculpture, entitled "Jellilight," represents giant jellyfish flying away from the earth up into the universe like reverse UFOs, escaping our polluted oceans.

Even this little boat got all dolled up for the occasion!

Now just in case my storyline has left you a bit confused, I should mention that I have skipped over several weeks of my travels because I just couldn’t wait to post about Vivid Sydney!  After Heather, Adam & I finished our roadtrip I spent over a week in Adelaide, another week on a tour from Adelaide up to Alice Springs & then over two weeks in Melbourne before finally settling in Sydney over a month ago!!  I now have an apartment with three flatmates in Leichhardt, Sydney’s “Little Italy,” as well as a job at Ghermez Cupcakes!  Don’t worry, I will be sure to fill you in on the details – all in good time!


12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Heather
    Jun 13, 2011 @ 12:51:59

    So proud of you, Niki, and so glad we had an opportunity to Skype last night ❤

    I'm going to love reliving Sydney through your eyes, especially with being as Oz-sick as I am.


    • nicoleinoz
      Jun 13, 2011 @ 13:23:13

      It was wonderful Skyping with you! The next best thing to you being here with me in person. ❤

      I'm going to enjoy eating my way around Sydney! Melbourne may have the title of culinary capital of Australia, but Sydney is a strong rival if you ask me! So many good eats! 🙂


  2. Camille
    Jun 13, 2011 @ 14:41:27

    Love the Lighting of the Sails and the water all around the Opera House. What a spectular light show it must have been.

    Can’t blame you for falling in love with Sydney and the Opera House and wanting to spend as much time in that area as you can. I picked up on that after your first visit to Heather in September 2010. I knew you were scheming to go back as soon as you got off the plane.

    Glad you decided to settle in Sydney and found your niche at Ghermez among all those cupcakes! Can’t wait to hear more – Love & miss you – MOM


  3. Aunt Penny
    Jun 13, 2011 @ 14:49:41

    Hi Niki,

    Nice blog and beautiful photos. The Lighting of Sails looks awesome; I’m so glad you got to experience it. Love you…


  4. Uncle Terry & his wife
    Jun 13, 2011 @ 16:43:19

    Hey Brave One,
    As I sit here nursing one hell of a cold, I am extremely jealous that you get to work amongst cupcakes every day. It’s very obvious that you belong in the Culinary field—particularly the sweet part. That”s what you’re meant to do. I mean, besides traveling the world. Your pictures are beautiful, and I wish I could see it all in person. You go girl!


  5. Rebecca
    Jun 13, 2011 @ 18:40:26

    Can so relate to you about the whole Sydney v. Melbourne thing. I did the opposite and spent about a month in Melbourne, trying to connect and I just couldn’t. I just loved Sydney for all the reasons you described!

    Good luck in everything, are you going to post about your ALD to ALS trip? I’d love to hear about your experience too!


  6. Sarah Grabowski Lodick
    Jun 13, 2011 @ 20:38:22

    Niki I’m so happy for you! I can’t wait to hear all about your cupcake job too. I’m sending you an email now about our trip to come see you. I have skype too, when are you around/awake?


  7. Jessica
    Jun 14, 2011 @ 02:56:41

    Hi Niki,

    Ghermez Cupcakes sounds like a great place to work. I can’t wait to hear more about it.



  8. Auntie Marilyn
    Jun 14, 2011 @ 09:59:07

    Hi Niki – I love they Sydney Harbour – water, boats, light shows – that would be my favorite area too. Really looks awesome there! So happy that you decided to “give it a go”!

    Love and miss you – stay safe – have fun and keep writing about this wonderful adventure you are on!!!


  9. nicoleinoz
    Jun 14, 2011 @ 11:08:03

    Thanks so much for all of the sweet comments everyone! (no pun intended ;))

    “Aunt Mindy,” I’m not sure that my calling in life is to work with cupcakes, but I sure am enjoying eating them! It’s all part of the job you know, I have to make sure I can describe the flavors to the customers. 😉

    Rebecca, yes, I am definitely going to post about the Adelaide to Alice tour, so stay tuned!

    Sarah, I’m 17 hrs ahead of you, so as for Skyping I’m thinking late afternoon / early evening for you & morning for me, but I guess it also depends on your schedule – I’ll respond to your email & we’ll figure it out! 🙂


  10. Matthew
    Jun 20, 2011 @ 12:40:53

    Niki, all the light show stuff looks beautiful. Must be amazing to see in person.

    Glad to hear you’re having a great time and seeking out adventure in a safe sort of way haha 🙂

    Love you


    • nicoleinoz
      Jun 21, 2011 @ 10:40:53

      Thanks Matt! My camera isn’t so good at taking nighttime photos, but it was so beautiful. I already love the Opera House & then to see it all lit up it looked even more amazing! 🙂


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