Once more, am at an airport, waiting for the big metal bird to take me home (and no, I don’t mean Stevie Nicks).
Lena was in Oz for about ten days, and while she was here I had little time for blogging. I am trying to catch up, and so am posting new posts, but using the dates of the actual events, so they won’t appear at the top of the front page. I will use this note to track each addition, until I have caught up again, so scroll down, or check this note to see where I have got to.
Complete so far
- Fri 20
- Sat 21
- Sun 22
- Mon 23
- Tues 24
- Weds 25
- Thurs 26
- Fri 27
- Sat 28
- Sun 29
- Mon 30
So the sad day has come. Jelly Bean has to return to the UK, and today is the day. Last breakfast, bits of packing, adjusting, reminiscing, and off to the airport. The train only takes 25 minutes and drops you off inside the terminal, so it is pretty easy to get going. We checked her bags in and then went for a quick bite of airport food, after which she walked off down the corridor to security, and that was that 🙁
What a great time we had though – an unforgettable visit, in a fantastic country. Marvellous indeed.
Although I have been living in Sydney for 3 months, and my suite overlooks the monorail, I haven’t actually been on it before. I was waiting for the right moment I guess, which was now. We walked down to the monorail station, bought tickets and waited for the next train. Built (as with much of Sydney) for the Olympics), it actually covers a small area of downtown, covering the Darling Harbour, Chinatown and the Queen Victoria building. We hopped aboard, and did a full loop first, which covered about 12 minutes at the most. 2nd time around we got off at Paddy’s Market and went in to do battle and hunt for bargains. A bit of last minute shopping for some gifts was called for, apparently. We bought half of China town, then went to but some emperors puff balls – a custard doughnut type thingy, hot and fresh off the press, and urgently delicious in a way that cant be described.
We took our spoils of war back to the hotel, then walked down to the wharf and got a ferry around to CQ, when we walked around to the Rocks. Apparently we hadn’t shopped enough, so with a quick stop for some delicious market food, we entered the shopping frenzy once more and got rid of more excess cash, exchanging this with the natives for trinkets, baubles, earrings and the like.
W nice walk back up through town brought us back to the Sydney Tower. Our tickets for the aquarium included entry to the tower, so up we went for a daytime viewing. Again, superbly spectacular. It was later in the afternoon, so we decided to hang around, have a nice coffee and a crap cheese cake, and watch the sunset. It were bloody marvellous.
Finally walked back to the hotel, and then down into darling harbour for a ‘last night in Sydney’ meal for gorgeous steak. Somehow, food seemed to feature quite a lot in our holiday.
Another beautiful day in Paradise. We whizzed around to Circular Quay, took a brief detour to the Baskin & Robbins store to buy some unfeasibly lovely icre cream, then climbed about the River Cat ferry to Parramatta. Long time sufferers of this blog may recall the balmy beauty of Parramatta from a previous visit. I like Parramatta, but the reason for visiting on a beautiful day is for the ferry ride. The main river that feeds the harbour is the Parramatta, and the town is 24kms upriver from central Sydney. The river ceases to be navigable at this point, so you get to travel the whole length of the harbour, and see the beautiful parks and houses, bays and inlets, yachts, ships, ferries and other floating bodies.
I love the harbour. It sparkles in the sunlight, offers endless opportunities to have different views of Sydney, and it seems to afford limitless options of experience and vistas.
Anyway, we travelled upriver sat on the bow of the boat, and enjoyed the sunshine and scenery. When we got to our destination, we took a short walk, but decided that warm and sunny afternoons in Parramatta were best served by being sat in a sunny pub terrace, overlooking the river, and tasting some of Australias finest brewery products. I can’t say that we tried them all, but I think we made a decent attempt. Anyway, it was a very fine day all round.
The return journey we decided to take by train as I needed to collect my laundry before closing time. However the trains were not operating properly due to trackworks, and so a long, hot and very tedious bus-ride replaced the first part of the journey. We did get back eventually, managed to get my clean undies, and hied back to the hotel with happy hearts.
In the evening, we went back to the lovely Malaysian roti place, and tried more options of fried roti, including the pointy witches-hat sugar coated desert roti, with icecream and banana. Yum Yum
Friday and we decided to take it a bit easier today. Being a tourist can be tiring, and we were ready for a relaxing day. We got the train a few stops out of the centre to a suburb called Newtown. Newtown is a combination of bohemian boutiques, new age shops, second-hand book stores, and about 300 Thai restaurants. The shopping area is based a long and winding high street, called King Street.
There were a lot of unusual clothing shops – many seem to be run by the designers themselves, and a lot of alternative fashions. Even though I am allergic to shopping, it was refreshing not to see the standard uniforms that all shops in the UK offer.
We wandered up and down for ages, and had a nice Lebanese wrap for lunch. More walking, somewhat lost, through a bunch more neighbourhoods, and finally a train back to somewhere recognisable.
In the evening, we went to a restaurant/cinema called Govindas. Veggie curry buffet of very delicious Indian food, served by 2 German waitresses in Saris. Bit surreal, but I have experienced worse. After dinner, you go upstairs, lie down on large, comfy mattresses with big pillows, kick off your shoes, and watch a movie on a decent sized screen. How marvellous – though I think that the combination of a movie, meal and mattresses might be too much for some – I am sure I heard snores.
We watched Inception, which was interesting and entertaining, then got the train back from Kings Cross and crawled into our bed.
Night Night x
Waking up with a slight hangover (or not so slight, in Lena’s case) is always a good reason to take it easy. So we decided not to do just that. After breakfast, we got the ferry around to Circular Quay, then got onto the ferry to Manly. Manly straddles the North Head, the northern bastion guardian the ocean entrance to Sydney Harbour, and the wharf is 7 kms across the bay from the city. It is a pretty town, with a long and well utilised beach. We got off the ferry, and walked across the road to a bike hire shop, where we got kitted out with helmets, locks, maps and good old fashioned bicycles.
The first direction we chose was to ride up the head to its tip, which was quite steep, and not very easy, even for a finely honed athlete such as myself. The views rfom up top were absolutely beautiful and well worth the pedal. We locked the bikes up and had a wander along the cliff tops for a while.
the best thing about riding a bike uphill, is when you get to go back down again. We flew down the steep roads, and then headed to the sea shore. Manly is on a narrow spit of land, with one shore inside the harbour, and one on the oceanside. We bought some fish and chips, and went to the shore to eat them. The seagulls in Australia are very fearless, and they felt just as entitle to our lunch as we did. One even tried a stealth approach, flying over my head (actually touching my head on his path in toward the target) and I just managed to push the buger away before he reached my food. It was a bit of an ordeal, but quite funny now looking back at it. We finished up, then rode north long the beach until we reache a lagoon then headed along it, inland. We road through a number of suburbs, heading out of town, until we came to the lovely Manly dam. We chatted with some friendly locals, then road up alongside the dam. The bird-calls were unusual, and we saw a large red kangaroo running off the road into the bush.
At the end of the road by the dam side was a car park, and we turned around and rode back toward Manly, via a different rout. We cycled along some lovely scenic roads, eventually finishing back by the wharf again. We returned the bikes, had a coffee and then hopped onto the ferry for the half hour trip back to Circular Quay, and walked back to the hotel. We had pizza across the harbour from out hotel, and an early ish night was in order for the tired teddy bears
Borrowed bikes and are riding around Manly today. Been up to north head which was beautiful, now about to try and not share our fish and chips with 80 seagulls.
I had to go into work today, which meant that Lena was free to roam the city like a big girl, all on her own. She did various bits of strolling and ferry-ing, and managed not to spend half the Gross National Product of Peru on shiny things. In the evening we met up with a bunch from work – we had a bunch of folk over from Microsoft in Seattle, plus a fair few of us English based types, so in the interests of keep the theme broadly international, and given that we were in Sydney, we went to a Greek Restaurant.
A lot of fun, food, frolics and a fair bit of alky-hol was had by all. I have video of folk dancing on tables and smashing plates while doing manly dances around the restaurant – but these have been filed with my lawyer and will be used in case I need to blackmail someone in the future. Anyway – a good evening, and more memories to add to the alarmingly large pile
We got back to Circular Quay after our day at the Blue Moontns, and had a couple of hours to kill until the show that we had booked to see at the Opera House. One of the worlds most iconic pieces of architecture, the Opera House dominates the bay and Central Quay, and has to be seen to be believed. When we knew that Lena was coming to Sydney, she booked us tickets to see a show. Called Night and Day, it was a modern dance and music performance. This is not the kind of thing I would normally go see, but an opportunity to see a show at the Opera House was too tempting to miss. We had some food, then went over to the Opera House to get in to see the show.
The building inside is pretty spectacular too, with a number of theatres, halls, venues and other rooms. We were in the Drama Theatre, which was comfortable and relatively smaller (probably only a few hundred seats) auditorium, with a very modern feel to it.
I can’t really describe the show, because I can’t really comment intelligently on modern dance. Let’s just say that it was interesting (in some parts), and leave it at that. Still very glad to have gone to the Opera House though. We headed back on the train – only one stop but we were tired – and collapsed into a heap on our hotel room. In all a very memorable day.