Reptiles, Views, Belly Dancing, USA

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September 8th 2011
Published: September 18th 2011
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Amelia & SarahAmelia & SarahAmelia & Sarah

Came over to welcome us home from PNG
Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Wow what a feeling to be back in Australia. Home for Francine and now since Angie is an honorary Aussie, a home away from home. At least here we can walk safely in the street and enjoy our freedom that the Austrailian ( & Allied Forces) fought so hard in New Guinea and elsewhere to perserve. We will always carry with us, a better understanding of what it took to have those rights.

A day of recovery at home and a visit from Fran's daughter in law Sarah and grandaughter Amelia. Just a lazy day after so many challenging days on the trail. Sarah also shared some of the wedding plans and the fun theme that will make this a really fun and special wedding for her and Jaymes.

The washing machine is washing everything twice. To be sure, to be sure.

It would have been nice if we could have had the type of scrubbing that we had at the Hammam in Morocco, where they scrubed so hard our skin burned but the application of the argan oil made it all go away and it felt soooo good. So the only other
Our Recovery SessionOur Recovery SessionOur Recovery Session

200 steps to the top
option for us was the massages that Francine booked prior to our leaving for the trek. Bliss. Fran's masseuse said she had really toned up since the Trek. One would hope so with the efforts made on the trip. Thank goodness for that. Angie has also toned up and both ladies are looking real good!!

Another recovery dinner, steak, Angie made American potato salad (Fran watched the recipe closely and will be making it this summer) and a tossed salad. The meals were very basic on the trek so any home cooked meals is mouth watering at this point. Yummy! Comfort foods!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Today, we took our time. A lazy breakfast and a few coffees.

We bought a new pair of shoes for Angie. Her runners desintegrated on the Track and her hiking boots were given to the porter. We returned Francine's tent, as it had broken on the second day. Anaconda were fantastic. They gave Fran a refund on the tent and exchanged her deflating bedroll for the better model which was on sale for the same price. Angie bought a new pack to take her belongings home in. The other
Sydney Harbour BridgeSydney Harbour BridgeSydney Harbour Bridge

This is where we were a few weeks before. Our warm up session
pack, she gave to her porter, it was old and starting to wear out. It had served her well with thousands of mile on it. The new pack is 71 litres and the old pack was only 64 litres. But somehow the old pack held more in it. Go figure, math isn't Angie's strong point but this defies explaination. Now all she had to do was make everything fit.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Off to Sydney for some sightseeing. Back to The Rocks area. It is full of Australian history and the site of Sydney's first settlement. The area is filled with little shops and restaurants. This time we could actually enjoy the area, no festival this time around.

We also have our passes to go to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon. This has the view platform with 360 deg views. There was a little movie area and we were the only ones waiting for it to begin so we pulled out our packed lunch and ate it there while watching history of bridge being built. We're sure not many people can say they have eaten lunch at the top of the Harbour
On top of the worldOn top of the worldOn top of the world

We crossed from the left side of the bridge to the right side. Fran remembers the fear and the beautiful views
Bridge Pylon.

We wandered through the old streets and wandered into the Garrison Church, walked around Observatory Hill, wandered past The Argyle Cut, old terrace houses, shops and many pubs. We found the candy store and watched them making lolly pops. And they tasted great too.

For those who don't know us very well, the one thing you catch on to is that we love to eat ice cream and or Gelato. So don't be surprised that before leaving the city we have to have a cup of Belgium Chocolate (A+++) Gelato. To make this a really special evening our dinner was homemade waffles topped with ice cream. Well, so much for our newly toned figures--we toss aside all healthy habits for the old well ingrained habits of indulgence of highly refined sugars, at least for tonight!!

Friday, 19 August 2011
Today, Francine and Amelia are taking Angie to the Australian Reptile Park. I think Angie is looking forward to this more than Amelia. She has not yet seen all the deadly spiders of Australia and the prized koala bears. It's forecast to rain just about all day so we pack for the rain and off we go. Dressed in our yellow ponchos. The heavy rain holds off until we are ready to leave and we run for the carpark.

It's a nice little park with lots of wildlife. The really unusual thing that Angie notes is during the animal show by the trainers, they give the lizards, non- poisonous snakes to little 3-5 year olds to hold and carry around for others to touch them. This is not something that you would see in the States. When they asked who would like to carry the small python around, Amelia put her hand up to do it, although wasn't chosen. She did pat the snake when it came around.

We watched the Sydney Funnell Web Spider being milked, one of the most venomous spiders in the world. They let one out on the floor of the exhibition room. Fran stayed away until Amelia wanted a closer look, so not to show her fear and project it on to her grandaughter, she stepped in for a closer look. Brave Francy.

There are displays of all different Australian reptiles, birds, mammals and animals. So up close to the interesting creatures of Australia.
Fran raced up the arch like spidermanFran raced up the arch like spidermanFran raced up the arch like spiderman

Keen to have climbed the bridge and keen to have the experience completed

What a fun day and sharing lunch sandwiches with the wild multicolored parrots was an unexpected treat. Angie had her photo taken with a cute Koala.

The Arabian Lounge
The Arabian Lounge night is a celebration with some of Francine's friends, with Francine, Angie and Karen uniting for the last time before Angie leaves the next morning for home.

The food is Morrocan and plenty of it. This is a night set around a low table with cushions on the floor. Watching Francine manouveur onto the floor with her sore knees is entertainment enough. Although there is entertainment by the belly dancer and people join in. We make sure that Angie is chosen from the crowd to show her skills in wiggling and jiggling. It was heaps of fun and after many people had left and the DJ was playing, the three Kokoda Conquerers spent a last little bit of time together dancing to celebrate and say, see you soon, next time mate.

Saturday, 20 August 2011
Gosford to Sydney to USA 😞

This morning we head off to Sydney International Airport.
We travel there by train. It is about 1hr 40min by train. No worries about traffic. Ok a tree has fallen across the tracks not far from Gosford. We are on the bus to the outskirts of Sydney and then back onto the train. We still arrive at the same time.
We are used to detours in our travels so this one is minor.

Angie has left a few things behind as her bag is just not big enough. Well, we will just have to catch up again so Fran can give it back to her.

This trip has officially ended for the 2 Blondes on Holiday. We part with hugs and tears in our eyes. Frangie stays behind in Australia and we will once again reunite next summer.

If all goes well our next exciting adventure will trek up Mt. Killimanjaro, see the gorillas in the wild in either Uganda or Rwanda, take part in a safari and then Angie and Francine go wild in Zanzibar.

So stay tuned............... for the next exciting installment of "it's all part of the expereince" with 2 Blondes On Holiday.

Additional photos below
Photos: 61, Displayed: 27


Sydney Operah HouseSydney Operah House
Sydney Operah House

& Circular Quay
Fort Denison-Sydney HarbourFort Denison-Sydney Harbour
Fort Denison-Sydney Harbour

One of the most popular islands in Sydney Harbour is Fort Denison, sometimes known as ‘Pinchgut’ or ‘Rock Island’. The island has a fascinating convict past, being originally used as a place of punishment for the more difficult convicts. It was the convicts who named it ‘Pinchgut’ after the starvation rations they had to face. In 1788 a convict named Thomas Hill was sentenced to a week on bread and water in irons on what was then referred to as ‘the small white rocky Island adjacent to this Cove’. By 1796 a gibbet was constructed and convicts who were sentenced to death were left to hang until their bones turned white. The most famous convict to be sentenced to death here is Francis Morgan, who arrived in the colony in 1793 on the Sugar Cane from Ireland. He had been tried for the murder of a man at Glassneven in Co Dublin, and was caught wearing the murdered man’s watch. Convicted, his sentence was commuted to transportation for life. After his arrival in Sydney, he was again charged with murder, after bashing a man named Simon Raven to death on the north side of the harbour on 18 October 1796. By the 1840s the colony, fearing invasion from the Russians, had converted the island into a fort and by 1857 the fort was manned, including two ten inch guns and twelve 32 pounders. The guns have only been fired during ceremonies and on special occasions.
The Garrison ChurchThe Garrison Church
The Garrison Church

Church of the Holy Trinity. This was the Church for used by the soldiers of the garrison of old Sydney
The Observatory at The RocksThe Observatory at The Rocks
The Observatory at The Rocks

Built 1858 The Rocks is Old Sydney

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