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Published: April 9th 2018
Little did he know
Photo Credit to Denise
After the long day yesterday, this morning was a relief. It was a laid-back morning with nothing to do. Dave had to do some work, so Jo and I sat with our laptops catching up on sorely neglected daily life tasks. Sipping coffee, listening to the birds out on the patio, I was able to do what so many do as their vacation- nothing. I messed around on Facebook, checked my bank statements (giant lottery winnings still haven’t been deposited so I guess I will have to return to work), catch up on TravelBlogs and such. It was a most welcome morning of leisure before another afternoon full of the go go go that makes up most of my vacation.
Denise set out platters of cheese, vine ripened tomatoes, basil, roasted peppers alongside toasted artisan bread. We made bite sized sandwiches and had coffee while eating and talking. Truth be told, this was better than the sandwiches I have had in many restaurants. I was happy to be in the house enjoying this. Afterwards, Dave took me out behind their house to walk in the Berowra Valley Nature Park. Into the bush we went, walking past giant rocks, trees, termite
trails and a termite nest in a tree. The day was hot and felt good as we walked on part of the Great North Walk running some 160 miles from Sydney to Newcastle. What was so special was that this is part of the Hooper’s family history. Peering in a carved-out cave called the Christmas cave, he told me how they had Christmas there one year. It was a fun bit of history.
It was now time for the Sydney Challenge Day 2. Jo and I had to visit quiet beaches along the Pacific Coast. It was a nice ride on a beautiful, sunny day. David drove, Jo rode shotgun and Denise and I caused trouble from the back seat. Well, if I were brutally honest, I would say that trouble was rebounding back to us from the two in the front seat. I love when a group of people can dish out crap as easily as they can take it and this was our group dynamic. No-one was immune from being the center of the dishing. Our first stop was Whale Beach where we spent just a few minutes. Our final destination was just up the road at
North Palm Beach. This is one of the northernmost beaches of Sydney, and on a Monday afternoon was virtually deserted. Small groups of walkers, hikers, surfers and swimmers added color to a glorious blue water beach.
Unfortunately, Jo was not able to hike down to the beach with us, so she sat on the bluff overlooking the ocean. I appreciate her group spirit in this and know that she would really, really rather have been with us down by the water, but she never let it show. For this, I will always be grateful. Thank you Jo.
Denise, Dave and I went down to wade in the warm water. The Pacific on my side of the ocean in Northern California is generally a cold, grey, uninviting ocean. It is still beautiful and majestic, but in a standoffish way. Here, however, it is blue, turquoise, happy. Nice sized waves crashed in to the shore, bringing white foam and happy laughs from this blogger. This was a picture postcard beautiful day once again, so cameras and iPhones were out in abundance. Dave wanted some action shots, so I super rolled up my pant legs and did my best Baywatch run
This sandwich is amazing
for the camera. Happily, there was less jiggling than on the actual show, so I must not be that out of shape yet. The big question now is this: why did I roll up my pants? I was soaked. My big a** feet were like oars splashing the water. I may as well have rolled in the water and would have achieved only a small bit more water on myself. Ah, who cares? This was a trip to the ocean, the water felt good, and if I wanted to win the Day 2 Challenge, I would run like the wind when asked to run. No way I am sleeping in the Vermillion Room tonight. It will be an in-house night in a comfortable bed for this Baywatch star. This went on for some time until we needed to move on to another beach area.
Denise went up to sit with Jo while David and I walked across the narrow isthmus to another beach. This was more of an inlet with lots of boats, hills and a sun about to set. On the other beach, there were no waves, just water quietly lapping the sand. Dave and I walked toward
the end of the beach to check out the view and get some pictures from a different angle. Washed up on the shore were several tube-like animals that I would call jelly fish. They were translucent, curved and most interesting. I know, you think that I am going to say that I picked one up, poked it or tried to eat it; however, you would be wrong. No way in heck am I going to grab a jellyfish like animal stranded on the beach. Rather, I admired it, took pictures of it and stayed they heck away from it. This was a great plan I thought, so I stuck with it. We spent a lot of time watching the water, boats, sun, wildlife. It was very restful here and a good place to stroll while snapping pictures.
The sun was slowly setting in the sky as we walked back to meet Denise and Jo. The plan was for David and Denise to grab fish and chips from a restaurant just down the way, while I set up folding chairs and Jo supervised. Unfortunately, the restaurant was closed. Since the evening sky was beautiful, a crescent moon was glimmering and
Into the Bush
Berowra Valley Nature Park
chilled wine was calling, we sat on the grassy area and enjoyed some wonderful wine and each other’s company. All too soon though, hunger overtook leisurely sipping of wine and it was time to pack up and go. I don’t know how I became the chair champion, but I had to unfold them so we could stow them in the boot (notice the Australian lingo there? Feeling pretty good about that). Thankfully Denise did not have here camera phone out because things did not go smoothly or according to plan. For the life of me I could not get the one stupid chair to work with me and unfold. I tried coaxing it, man-handling it and finally ended up swearing at it while Denise laughed and laughed. Although I couldn’t see her, I have a feeling Jo was laughing as well. No fair kicking a Sydney Challenge opponent while he is down, or is it? Hmm, I actually think it is. Regardless, it was quite an affair for me to break the chairs down, but I emerged victorious and with almost dry pant legs to boot. Off to the restaurant we went.
By now you are probably tired of
hearing how amazing, delicious, fabulous and tasty the food here is. Well, you may want to skip over this paragraph because it is once again delving into food porn. We ate at a restaurant on the main street of a tourist town. Being Monday, it was slow in the restaurant, so it was easy to get a table with a view. All four of us ordered the fish and chips and added a shared salad of baby spinach, beets, goat cheese and walnuts and a side of mashed potatoes. Holy heck was this good. The fish was hot, crisp and fresh. The salad was packed with flavor and the potatoes simply made me happy. It was the perfect end to a perfect day. Sadly, there was only one more day on this trip, so Jo and I were anxious to find out what the next day would bring. Check back and see, because it was yet again, Amazing!
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