“Hello this is Steven. I think we can speak Dutch….”
“Uh yes we can.”
“We received your number from a Dutch radioman of the Vara. He told us about your restaurant in Sydney. In a couple of days me and my girlfriend will arrive in Sydney by bicycle and we are looking for a job for the coming six months.”
“Okay come by when you are in Sydney and I will have a look what I can do for you.”
This is how we end up walking to the restaurant of Pieter van Rijn on a rainy Sunday morning. The restaurant is busy when we enter the place, but Pieter makes time for us and we take a seat in the Dutch bar upstairs. Our conversation isn’t much about the restaurant, but more about our trip. We talk about every country we crossed. Pieter likes cycling himself and many good stories cross the table. We tell him that we are for six months in Sydney to work so we can save money for our journey back. A day later Pieter calls with the news that I can start working the next day in Una’s Restaurant.
After more than two years of freedom I head for my first day of work, while Steven is eager to find a place where we can live. Sydney is the place to be for backpackers so there must be many affordable places to stay. Soon Steven finds a paper on a lantern which offers apartments. He calls the number and the next day we can have a look. We can choose from two different units, which looks both nice. We go for the cheapest option, so we can save more money easily. It’s a nice unit with a small kitchen and a big windows with views on a lively street.
We leave the house of Rob and we cycle over the Harbour Bridge to the centre of Sydney. Sydney doesn’t seem to be a cycle city, there are barely cyclists and between all the traffic we find a way to our new home. With 30974 kilometers in our legs I feel the air leaving my front tire…….a thick piece of glass makes puncture number 8 a fact. Below the advert of ‘Lacoste’ and between the sky buildings of the centre we change tires and cycle the last part for the coming time.
As soon as we’ve unpacked our bags we go outside to get to know our new neighbourhood a bit. We pass a fitness centre and decide to take a look. As two new members we leave the building a little later. We will have to get used to the fact we can’t cycle everyday the coming period. But to keep ourselves fit this will be a good solution.
Una’s is situated at two locations and is an Austrian/German restaurant. On one night we see so many schnitzels passing and a few colleagues are wearing the traditional ‘lederhosen’. The Aussies seem to love this kind of kitchen and the restaurant is well visited. Steven can start soon too and he works in the kitchen. He does the cutting, the dishes, the salads and bakes the schnitzels. I start working as a cash lady and make quiet some bills on an evening. I also answer the telephone and take the take-away orders.
Most of the time Steven works in one restaurant and I in the other, but sometimes we work together as colleagues. After two years of cycling together our teamwork is perfect! We work in a nice and international team. Besides Germans and Austrians there are people from France, New-Zealand, Slovakia, Nepal, Poland, Australia, China, Bangladesh, Ireland and Hungary. We work a lot of hours and soon I work as a waitress too.
The moments we aren’t working we are spending outside. Spring starts in Australia and the temperatures are rising. From our new home we walk easily into the botanical gardens and along the waterside to the Opera House and the city centre. You can find us 5 or 6 times a week in the fitness centre as well. It feels very good to keep fit.
We receive often the question if we can live the normal life again. For us it doesn’t look like a problem. We enjoy working again and besides that we enjoy our free time. It feels good to have a house for a while after all the campsites, hostels and other places we stayed. We are looking forward to our stay in Sydney the next months.