Location: Sydney, Australia

Our day officially began at 6:30, but for some, jet lag woke them up hours before sunrise. After a brief breakfast and meet in the hostel lounge, our leaders for the day, Meredith and Jenna took us to the bus stop, where we all hopped on Route 381 to Circle Quay. This area struck me as unique because its the only city I’ve ever seen that’s got massive skyscrapers, stunning parks, and beautiful bodies of water, all in close vicinity of each other. To add to the amazing area, Circle Quay is also home to the Sydney Opera House, an iconic structure constructed in the 1960s that stands out along the harbor. We went to the opera house for a 9:00 am guided tour. The woman is giving us our tour was amped up on 4 cups of coffee (She told us) and was extremely entertaining to listen to. Around 10:00 when our tour ended, we had a pleasant stroll through the Sydney botanical garden and eventually arrived at the Macquarie’s chair, a stone bench engraved into the garden. It was at this time that we finally were able to meet up with our final member of the group, Joe. After giving him a huge group hug, we stopped in the garden to eat our packed lunches. The day picked up when we were faced with somewhere around 20 flights of stairs on our climb of the Sydney bridge. The view was stunning from the first pylon that we climbed to, and it resulted in some awesome perspectives of the city, harbor and the surrounding suburbs. After the long climb down, we navigated back across the circle to the train station, where we were able to visit the Sydney Olympic Park and witnessed an AFL game. There were so many people at the game that showed so much hospitality and were very helpful explaining the ins and outs of Australian Rugby, which we learned is very different from any other form of the sport. I never thought that watching several dozen guys wrestle over a ball for 2 hours would be fun, but man, it was entertaining. This may have only been our second day, but I feel very close to many people on the trip and am looking forward to the following three weeks.