Before leaving the Blue Mountains for good, I spent a night right next to the Grand Canyon. Yes that’s right, Australia also has a Grand Canyon! It was very beautiful, though not quite as grand as the American equivalent. Oh, and I’ve also learnt that the blue comes from the gum trees and eucalyptus trees, they give off a blue sheen.
After having been there I made my way to Sydney, and the caravan park north of the city. It’s the first one I’ve booked in advance since Uluru, which was good because the night I arrived it was completely full.
It was so hot though, 38 degrees (100 F) so I got right back in the car and drove to a nearby cinema to escape the heat.
Bush turkey. They’re everywhere.
Cooking by the car that night. Since I’ll be staying at the caravan park for a week I’ve been able to buy things that needs to be in a fridge so finally I could cook something fancy. The beef stew I made was amazing, and I had left overs for two days.
The camp spot. I’ve got both electricity (a outlet right where I’m standing to take this picture) and my own water tap! Such luxuries.
Someone’s been to IKEA! Knäckebröd and Kalles kaviar. Super Swedish and so good. Kalles is a creamed smoked fish roe and it’s really delicious, especially on eggs. Though their commercial is usually of them making people from other countries try it with very lousy results…
The next day I took the train into Sydney, which is about a half an hour ride.
I walked around in the area the rocks for a while, it was really nice. I enjoyed a drink by the opera house before I decided to go on a tour of the building. It was such a fun tour too, the guide was funny and knowledgeable.
Before we started she asked if there were any Danish people or architects in the crowd because they usually had the most questions. A short while later she asked if we knew what the roof is made of so I spoke up that it’s ceramics from Höganäs in Sweden, to which she exclaimed “oh the swede! I forgot to ask for the swede before, because you always know about the roof.” Thank you aunt Ingegerd for telling me about it though, before I came to Australia I actually had no idea…
The concert hall. The organ has more than 10 000 pipes, crazy! The entire opera house was supposed to take three years to build but apparently it took two years just to tune the organ… It took 17 years all in all and cost 100 million, and not the predicted 7. Wow.
The seating in the opera and ballet hall.
The roof. It’s self cleaning, whenever it rains it cleans itself. How clever is that?
When we were in the ballet hall we were told that their new ballet The Sleeping Beauty was premiering that night. I’ve always wanted to go and see a ballet, so when the tour was over I went to the box office and crossed my fingers. No I didn’t. Crossing your fingers means that you’re lying in Sweden, we hold our thumbs for luck.
And I was lucky! There was one single ticket left! The perks of solo travel again. I got on the train back to the caravan park, changed clothes, ate and got right back on it again. A bit stressful but definitely worth it! I couldn’t very well go to the opera house and a premier in shorts and tshirts.
I got to walk the pink carpet!
They were filming and I had to take this picture. That used to be me, standing outside with the camera man looking in on the actual guests of things… I must say it felt really nice to be on this side for once!
The ballet was so good! It was funny and beautiful and I loved every minute of it. I’m so glad I went. I’ve loved ballet for many years, even though I’ve never really enjoyed dancing it myself. I was forced to do it on and off for figure skating but I preferred to be on ice. Still enjoy it though and even more now!
The next day I was very tired, so I spent the day at the caravan park. After having spent so much time in the wilderness that much excitement in a day made me exhausted. But I had another event that night: my last Taylor swift concert for this time. There were four different events happening at the Olympic park and they were expecting 150 000 people so I got there very early.
A common misunderstanding is that she sings “Starbucks lovers” and not ex-lovers in blank space, but these girls took it to the next level.
Cheerleaders everywhere! I love how people really get into dressing up for the concerts. There was 76 000 people there, her biggest crowd ever. I’m so glad I got to go, she was just as amazing as ever. A couple of guys sitting behind me were super sarcastic at first but after a while they just went “this is the most insane thing I’ve ever seen, she’s my new hero!” Yep, she’s amazing. Especially live.
After the concert it took me 1 hour and 45 minutes to drive the 13 km home. For an hour I couldn’t even leave my parking spot. Not much to do about it so I blasted my music and briefly considered spending the night in the parking lot instead before I actually could drive away.
And now for the honesty moment on this blog. I just wanted to talk some as well about some things I’ve been struggling with. I don’t think a single day goes by without me thinking what might have happened if I had only done a single thing differently in the days leading up to my accident. What if I hadn’t taken an extra rest day in Charlotte, or Banners Elk, or what if I had forced myself to go a little bit further each day instead of hiding from the heat, then everything would have been different. My trip has been so insanely great, I can barely believe all the things I’ve done, but not a single day goes by without me mourning the adventure that didn’t happen. I’ve called my mother in tears feeling like a complete failure just a few weeks ago, even after having had so many months to get used to it. I’ve had to stop following all the bicycle tourers on Instagram and Facebook because it hurt too much to see it, and some days I’m really struggling accepting that I didn’t get to have that adventure. Like I said, it’s been so great. In some ways probably a lot better than it would have been otherwise but some days it’s just hard. Really hard. And I’ve always been honest here and I want to keep being that. It was not easy to give up on my dream, far from it, but I still don’t see how I could have done it any other way.
But I’m really missing my family, and I’m super excited to get back home in January. I’ve been applying for jobs, I’ve signed up to start with gymnastics for adults and I have so many great plans. To be honest I doubt that I would have made it around the world on my bike, but sometimes it feels like I barely got to try. But the most important thing is that I made it out alive, and that I’m happy and healthy. I think it has made me grow as a person. But yes, it’s still a struggle but I’m trying to tell myself that I didn’t fail. I didn’t give up. In some grand way of the universe this was meant to happen, to give room for other experiences. That’s what I will hold on to, and what I’ll put my faith in when things are hard.
Leaving Berea that last day of cycling, June 21 2015.