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Published: June 21st 2017
Geo: 51.5002, -0.126236
Our two days in Sydney staying with friends Jeremy and Kate Eccles were great. They live on the north shore of the harbour, near the zoo. On arrival we promptly set off walking round Chowder Bay, across Headland Park (Kate was one of those whose efforts prevented this ex-military area becoming more urban sprawl) to Balmoral beach so that those who might swim could - then the walk back. Jeremy writes about visual art in general but Aboriginal Art in particular so next day we were taken (by ferry across the harbour - a treat!) to the New South Wales Art Gallery for a guided tour and explanation of the aboriginal works there and began to understand some of the symbolism in them. Lunch outdoors at the gallery during which time it began to rain and sadly hadn't stopped by the time we had to leave and walk across the Botanic Gardens to Circular Quay and the ferry home. One of Jeremy and Kate's sons is a musician with a musician partner who plays with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra so that evening we got freebie tickets to a performance of Bach's Magnificat and more. Very posh - even the
Governor General was there.
So Thursday morning we caught our flight to Melbourne to spend 4 days with Kieran and Jess. We picked up a rental car and got out and about to wineries, country dairies with excellent cheese, coasts and beaches and a centre with native Australian animals - Koala and Kangaroos, Dingos and Echidna, birds and reptiles. Saturday night was Melbourne's White Night - an idea borrowed from St Petersburg and Paris where scores of art installations and performance things run from 7pm to 7am and everyone in the world comes out for the night, They estimate a quarter of a million people - and some of the streets were so jammed it took 10 minutes just to cross them! Sunday we mastered the tram system, took in more Aboriginal Art and in the evening went for a splendid farewell meal at the Hellenic Republic restaurant. Kieran and Jess had only a few days more in Melbourne before leaving for home via Sydney, Perth and, for Kieran, Hong Kong too. And our baggage allowance being bigger than theirs we got a huge suitcase to bring home for them - fortunately we discovered the left luggage facilities at Singapore
airport are excellent and we left all but an overnight bag each there - otherwise we would have struggled to get them into one of the smaller hotel rooms in the world, despite it being officially a 'de luxe' room!
Singapore we walked a lot (how many times have we used the walk word in this blog?) to Clarke Quay to eat, to see Raffles Hotel and the older buildings, and through the Botanic Gardens. But we only had about 30 hours and soon enough we were out yto the airport again for our 11pm departure for Heathrow which arrived at 4:35 in the morning - over 12 hours of flying, all at night. To be met by a merry Dulwich Cars cab driver and a temperature of about 3 degrees.
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