Had a chance to attend a 2-week long Machine Learning Summer School held at The Australian National University (or ANU) in Canberra, 6 – 17 February. It was both somewhat strange and exciting to be back on the grounds where I spent three and half years of my life as a PhD student. The move to Canberra really marks the start of my independence as well as a journey that has taken me away from home since, and one that I am still taking in fact.
During the weekend of 11-12 February, took some time out and went up to Sydney with colleagues attending the same Workshop. There was a couple of “firsts”. This was the first time I travelled by coach to Sydney; this was also the first time in many years that I was in Sydney as a complete tourist. On previous trips, I was usually the unofficial guide, mostly for the international students at ANU. This time I had a local guide – I have known her and her boyfriend since the days at ANU and who is currently working in Sydney – and I was able to fully enjoy myself. Nice to have such good friends and I do wish her all the best in her life in Sydney, also far away from home.
Spent the first afternoon milling about George Street, then travelled up to Circular Quay, by strolling through the Botanic Garden – a first experience for me, as a matter of fact. After the obligatory photo-taking at the Opera House, went to the ferry terminal and caught a ferry to Darling Harbour. Had a slow dinner at Harbourside and then headed to our hotel on the north side. The “slowness” was not by choice but simply poor service, by the way.
The following day started off nice and cool, but the temperature quickly picked up. After a nice breakfast of French toast and latte – loved the coffee in Sydney!! – went over the Milson’s Point to begin the harbour bridge crossing. You can see many of the shots I snapped here.
This was followed by a nice relaxing lunch at the Rocks, with full view of the opera house and harbour bridge. A bit pricey but at least worthwhile for its location and ambience, for lunch. :-) Later, headed over to Paddy’s Market where you can pick up many souvenirs, but most are made in China these days.