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Last night we returned to Sydney for one final farewell to our Australian portion of the trip, the 11 of us packing in like sardines in our 2 Uber XLs back into the city.

 

 

Instead of staying at Kings Cross again, we chose to park up at the highly awarded Sydney Harbour YHA property, which is located in more centralized location of The Rocks area of Sydney.

This was convenient as we began our day at The Australian Heritage Hotel immediately next door for a classic brunch over kangaroo, crocodile and emu pizzas:

 

 

It was then a whole free day for the group as we all ended up doing our own things around Sydney. I chose to do a walk across Harbour Bridge with Donna and Ann:

 

 

…before serving up the Opera House up close…

 

 

…and then head to Kazbah with Taylan for an outdoor shisha session. There I would be finally reunited with the one and only Mona Ibrahim, whom I had first met 7 years ago randomly while hiking up Machu Picchu

 

 

…then again 6 years ago in Dubai:

 

 

…and finally today in her native Sydney:

 

 

Mona and I caught up for a mere yet memorable and soulful 30 minutes before we had to part, but it felt like not even a day had passed since we last saw each other in Dubai. Like our previous encounters, epiphanies abounded in our conversations as if we were destined for years to run into each other again in her native Sydney. Likewise, Taylan simultaneously caught up with their local Australian friend Nishant whom they had just traveled together with in Myanmar a month ago!

At around 6pm we had to head back to our hostel to change for our much anticipated dinner at Quay:

 

 

Australia’s most highly decorated restaurant and formerly ranked #26 on San Pellegrino’s Top 50 Restaurants in the world, Quay is still currently Sydney’s only contribution to the highly esteemed list.

And as we waited for dinner to be served, a local Australian friend and med student I had made a year ago while on a weekend trip to Bulgaria, Tessa, would also join us at the last minute!

 

 

Let the hunger games begin:

 

 

Caviar

 

Salad of crisp artichoke, slow cooked carrots, ewe’s milk feta, smoked almonds, and sherry caramel, paired with Watermelon & Rosemary:

 

Congee of hand dived scallops, heart of palm, and black vinegar laver paired with Green Tea & Tomato:

 

Fan shell razor clam, shaved shiitake, smoked pig jowl, topped with sea cucumber crackling, paired with Smoked Buckwheat & Ginger Ale

 

Roasted pasture raised duck, fermented wild rice, black garlic, orach, and hatsuka radish, paired with Blueberry Tonic

 

Arkady lamb, barletta onions, ice plant, oca, lemon purée, and roasted hemp seed paired with a Green Estate drink made of green apple, cucumber, and fresh mint:

 

And finally, their signature dish — the Snow Egg: an egg-shaped poached meringue with an ice cream centre, coated in a sweet tuile/brulée and served on a bed of fruit fool and granita.

It may not look like much, but this was one of the best desserts I ever had.

 

Finally, we rounded off our palette with some petits fours:

 

Good food, and good company. Not a bad way to end a week together in Australia.

 

 

Tonight we sadly say our goodbyes to David, Sarah, Sampson, and Laura as we head onwards tomorrow to Auckland, New Zealand.

 

"When you wake up in the hostel and realize that all your travel buddies are gone." – Sampson Lau

– At time of posting in Sydney, Australia, it was 73.4 °F – Humidity: 89% | Wind Speed: 23km/hr | Cloud Cover: partly cloudy