Australia, or as we ended up calling it “Macedonlia” is a place that must be visited by anyone, well partuclarly if you’re Macedonian.
What started as a joke in 2015 with our staff saying we should visit the country that ranked #1 in visits, turned out true four months ago.
Luckily, it was Australia and not Albania that ranked #1 in visits, narrowly beating US and Canada. The option was to travel through Australia or pick one city and explore it. We went with the latter and picked Sydney. This was a particularly good idea on our part after the epic journey to get to Australia – 19 hours flight sitting next to the lavatory. MINA’s Pero Stamatovski promoted himself to the lavatory captain as he kept getting up to close it when someone left the door open.
We stayed at a hotel in an area called the Darling Harbour. Everyone we spoke to in the city knows of Macedonia and Macedonians, and we mean everyone. First restaurant we walked into, few seconds later a group of people walked in speaking Macedonian. We felt like home.
The Aussies have excellent beer – went to few establishments on George and Liverpool St. Somehow we never paid for the beer, as soon as the Aussies found out we weren’t locals, on top of it Macedonians, they bought us a round of beer. It was pretty bizarre because it kept happening over and over again. We’d like to think it was good karma.
While in Sydney, be sure to try their fish and chips, they are very tasty, inexpensive and available around the city.
Aussies are very organized in all aspects of life. Their transportation is superb, overall infrastructure is good, though their roads appear a bit narrow if you venture outside the business district. And yes, look to your left when crossing the street, we were told this repeatedly by locals as quite a few tourists end up getting hit by vehicles every year. One tends to forget people there drive on the left.
Their rail line is superb. Very efficient and quick to get around. We visited the Olympic village where the Sydney Olympic games were held. Unlike other countries where their olympic infrastructure is falling apart, the Aussies have turned theirs into a nicely organized business center with offices.
We also experienced Sydney’s city buses. At one point, the driver of the bus stopped on the side of the road, so he can make a phone call! What a conscientious driver, at that point all of our hopes that he may be a Macedonian went away.
Sydney never sleeps, and we mean this literally. Whether you venture out at 2pm or 2am, there is a constant flow of people outside. In fact, Sydney appears somehow more lively than Manhattan, which is pretty tough to do.
We can’t say enough good things about Sydney and Australia, everyone ought to visit and spend some time there.
For 2018, if Australia tops our charts, it’ll be Melbourne. But, you never know, right now Canada is in the lead.
Lastly, below are some random photos we took during our short stay in Sydney.