Dear Sydney,

I fell in love with you as it happens in the books: slowly at the beginning.. and then suddenly all at once. I met you when I could not find myself anymore, but from the very first step I took on your ground I felt like you knew me since I was born.

Dear Sydney, I love you!

You welcomed me on a windy and warm December night, and gently let me walk through your peaceful streets from Hyde Park to the Circular Quay. I will never forget the healing power that your Ocean had on my tired heart. I was sitting on the ground in front of the Harbor Bridge, and the small waves crushing on the pier seemed like well-known hands caressing my hair. The iconic Opera House gave me the first glimpse of your immense beauty, and  if someone is just a little curious and goes for a walk around the building they can see your skyscrapers reflecting on the water and watching over the Harbor. In that precise moment I thought you were not exactly my type – too modern for a Venetian girl – but honestly: you looked beautiful.

Dear Sydney, I love you!

The day after you invited me for a walk. You have a lot of walks, Sydney; your ability to let nature and City coexist is simply unique. We arranged to meet at Coogee. We had a lovely breakfast at the Coogee Pavilion where I really appreciated that Super Green Smoothie. Starting from the shimmering white sands of Coogee and stepping through the charming shores of the glamorous Tamarama, we reached the iconic Bondi Beach; here the Pacific collides with the land while sea flows and wind create good conditions for surfing. The incredibly eclectic and varied crowd hanging out at this spot makes each one an equal grain of its sands. All along the oceanfront street lots of cafés, restaurants, and lounge bars offer the opportunity to rest and taste colorful and full-flavored drinks or to enjoy a healthy meal while the green garden above the beach is the perfect site for a shady and fresh nap. That afternoon we laid under the sun, we played in the waters and took some time just to stay silent while looking at the sea. And I thought “You’re a cool buddy Syd, always ready to welcome your beautiful friends – yes, Aussies do look very good! – on your many shores”.

However, this famous sunny sandy spot doesn’t completely reflect your shape. As your heart is big, there is one for every taste, and each of them is worth a visit.. Do you remember the breathtaking date we had walking from the refined and charming Mosman Bay to Manly through your Scenic Walk? It was quite a challenge due to the hot weather, but hey.. I couldn’t take my eyes off you! Your ocean is powerful, strong and wild; your cliffs are massive, vigorous and steadfast. Your nature is absolutely majestic and free, and the people truly respect it. After 3 hours we arrived at Manly, and it was magic: its Corso promenade, the cafés and restaurants, more Sydneyers than visitors and the sundown at Shelly Beach! Being in the midst of this scenario I could only realize how lucky I am to be part of this Whole called Earth, and to have the chance to spend some time with you.

That night on the ferry to Sydney Harbor I looked at you while you were silently sleeping. It was almost time to leave… and suddenly a void filled my heart.

Dear Sydney, I love you!

You know how to press pause Sydney, you let people lay on your green grass carpets and walk in bare feet on your sidewalks and gardens.  You allow families and friends to enjoy their time under the blooming trees of the  Royal Botanic Garden, and this calm 30-hectare oasis in the middle of the city properly spreads the ease and pleasure of living in a society that knows how to appreciate moments in life. Your people are your beauty. Every free smile I received showed me kindness and made me feel welcomed and accepted; in a word, loved. Every person I met was truly curious about who I am; they didn’t care about my job! They wanted to know, “What’s in your heart?”

Dear Sydney, I love you!

So, thank you Sydney. Thank you for your generosity and for your caring heart. Thank you for welcoming and inviting me to be part of your community. Thank you for teaching people how to be free without harming others,  how to enjoy the beautiful and important things in life. Thank you for the “good-people revolution”. Thank you for the early morning in Darling Harbor, for The Rocks’ Sunday market, for the incredible views from the Observatory, the Harbor Bridge Walkway and the O-Bar.

Dear Sydney, I cannot promise you’ll be the only city I will love in my life, but you have an unconquerable piece of my heart. One day I will be back in Maroubra, right where we said goodbye. I’ll kiss you while surfing your untamed waves and you will embrace me with one of your colorful and spectacular sunsets. And that twinkle of freedom will be the spark that will light up our dormant fire, because we both know the last sundown meant “I’ll see you soon!”

This is a guest post by Giulia Lamonato.

Giulia is an enthusiastic, passionately curious and keen to adventure Italian girl based in Venice. To her life is about seeing the world, getting out of her comfort zone, meeting people and creating valuable things with them. She has an innate sense that traveling is the only real way to learn, to grow and to feel while writing is the way to express her passion. Her motto is “ Just step out! There’s always something to learn outside!” Follow her in Instagram @giuli_lamo.