Ending on a High: Sydney

Monday – Friday:

*Spoiler: we mention and visit the Sydney Opera House a lot. If you are insulted or upset by this building in anyway, you may want to skip this post.

After three months, we’d wanted to end the trip on a high so we booked ourselves into a fancy pants hotel on Woolloomooloo Wharf in the center of Sydney, next to the Botanical Gardens and 20 min to the Opera House.

We’d seen that the weather was due to turn rather inclement on the Wednesday so we took advantage of Monday’s sunshine and dumped our bags at the hotel and set out to first get a glimpse of the Opera House later exploring the local neighborhoods. We hit up Surrey Hills for our brief afternoon stroll before meeting with our old AMS friends Eddie and Yuri for dinner.

Next day, we walked from Spit Bridge to Manley: a 10km walk which starts in North Sydney and hugs to coastline around to the suburb of Manley. From there we grabbed lunch, explored the neighborhood and later took the ferry back to the CBD. The hike was mellow, beautiful and the coastline stunning, with many hidden coves and beaches.

In researching what to do in Sydney in November, I’d spotted ‘Sunrise on The Steps’: a yoga class on the steps of the Opera House. Naturally we couldn’t turn this down so I booked us two places for the Wednesday class and set the alarm for 6am so we could make it time for the 7am class.

As documented on the BBC website, Wednesday was rainy (torrential) – one months rain in two hours was reported but it in fact rained solidly for 24hours from late Tuesday night to late Wednesday.

With a 30min walk from the hotel to the Opera House, and not wanting to miss this yoga experience, we sprinted in our yoga gear, through shin deep ‘streams’ on the streets of Sydney wearing raincoats and holding umbrellas to catch the class which was held in one of the foyers of the Opera House, overlooking the Harbour Bridge. Our shoes were sponges. It was hilarious! Such an amazing experience to be surrounded by the glass roof, looking up the sky with the rain sheeting down. We-did-yoga-in-the-f***ing-Opera-House!! #howcoolisthat.

We’d planned the rest of the rainy day to be a day of reflection of the trip. We hung out in the hotel and made use of the amenities… free laundry, free mini bar, free coffee and a Spotify radio station that played 80’s music. Not a bad way to spend the day.

Wednesday night we had dinner at the hotel restaurant Alibi with our friends E+Y again. The menu was purely plant based and was mind-blowing… at this point, I’m just one chickpea away from turning vego.

For our last full day, we walked some other neighborhoods and prepared ourselves for reentry into reality. We’d seen that there was a light show at the Opera House that night so we hot footed it down there to witness it.

I know what you’re thinking, you may have noticed there is a theme on this post. Every day we seemed to visit or walk past the Opera House… what can I say, it’s a beautiful building and one that we can never tire of seeing.

Friday morning, our last day, we set the alarm for 6am and headed down to the ‘House’ for a sunnier version of Sunrise on The Steps. This time the weather was perfect for sunrise Yoga and we spent the hour with the sun on our faces, slowly waking up to our last few hours in Sydney.

From there we did a swift turnaround at the hotel and headed to the airport.

Namaste: we’re heading home.

Atmashree Yoga Retreat, Pokhara, Nepal

Spoiler : there are no pictures for this post. You’ll just have to believe that Trey’s headstand was legendary and my plough pose: simply sublime.

6am – Meditation (chanting, ringing bowls, silent walk, pre yoga nap)

7am – Shatkarmas: Morning cleansing of body (nose, stomach and chest all with salt water- google it – the nose cleanse is amazing)

7.15 – Herbal tea (drinking it and not sticking up our nose)

7.45am – Yoga (Hatha, Vinayasa, Ashtanga) – 90 mins, mellow class – lots of focus on breathing techniques and stretching.

9am – Breakfast (Vegan or Vegetarian options / no bacon sandwiches or full English here)

10am – Rest

12pm – Meditation: Yoga Nidra, Singing Bowl Meditation (also known as pre-lunch nap time)

1pm – Lunch – DhalBaat, rice and curry

2pm – Free time

4.30pm – Herbal Tea

5pm – Yoga – As above yoga but tougher and more dynamic. Longer more intimidating poses. #speedsalutations

7pm – Dinner – Delicious Nepali food

8pm – Meditation (Chanting, Intense Meditation / Japa Yoga)

9pm – Retire for the evening – actual sleep.

Cost: 6 days / 5 nights: Room/board/classes and full instruction: $310.00 pp (excl flights). Compare this to the cost of retreats organized from San Francisco [6 days in Peru for $2950.00 pp (excl flights).

Atmashree yoga