Mike,Dave & Sue follow the Lions 2013 (4)

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June 16th 2013
Published: June 16th 2013
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Our studio apartment in Woolahara was approximately 1/2 mile from the Allianz Stadium and the Sydney Cricket Ground and a 1/4 mile from the shops at Bondi Junction. Well arranged Sue😊 However we were slightly disappointed with it as it was functional at best; we expected better. We agreed it was like a newly painted student flat before the freshers get at it! Several issues were fixed by the landlords maintenance man over the next 24 hours.

After a couple of hours kip we staggered into Bondi Junction like 3 zombies and did the usual British traveller activity, shopping! Rotisserie chicken, salad and French stick and wine for Sue. Note from Sue: all the wines she recognised and believe me she can recognise a lot, are more expensive than that famous wine cellar, Tesco, Eastville!! To her great consternation. Actually, to be fair, most shopping was about 25% more expensive. Hey ho.

After a nights sleep we were up and out in bright sunshine and pleasant temperatures. We decided to walk 2 miles to the centre of Sydney to orientate ourselves to all the sights. After passing through an area obviously modelled on Old Market, residents and all, we arrived at Hyde Park, a beautiful formal park running through the centre of the city. This stretched out to Macquaries Point where we had fabulous views of the Harbour Bridge with the Sydney Opera House in the foreground. Sadly, since 2003 someone has painted out the England flag from the roof. The harbour was bustling with ferries, tour boats and yachts. Dodging the hordes of joggers, walkers and cyclists we made our way round to the Opera House which was pretty impressive. Many cafes and restaurants were tourist traps so acting on advice we ate lunch a street or two back from the front and saved a wedge.

Back on the march (we were struggling to keep up with Sue) we walked around the Rocks, a collection of shops, museums and old buildings until we were hailed "c'mon Bris" by a chap in a pub across the road (Dave and I were wearing our Bristol shirts and I have to say, getting a fair few admiring glances.) We joined him and his wife at a table and with drinks in hand put the rugby world to rights. They were Colin & Suzanne Doak, serial Lions and England tourists and Bristol sponsors. Nice people. Further meandering brought us to the central rail station where we caught the bus home. Tired, emotional and lacking inspiration we had another roast chicken and salad. Come to OZ for gourmet eating? ha!

Saturday and our first match day. We crossed the road into Centennial Park for a warm sunshine stroll. Some very vocal avians in the trees caught our attention, black crow like with yellow flashes in their tails and under wings but we lacked our Ladybird book of Australian birds and they remain unidentified. Suggestions please?

After a prolonged session on our iPads whilst Sue busied herself with washing, cleaning and sorting out we had a Derrick ritual of Saturday Spag Bol, donned our Lions shirts and sallied forth to the game (Lions v Waratahs) we joined the hordes at a local pub and watched various people being interviewed by ex Aussie rugby player Brendan Cannon. Note: Schooners (330ml) of Tooheys were $7, about £4.50😞

With excitement mounting and sloppy grins all across our faces (are we really in Australia watching the Lions?) we entered the stadium. Very nice and modern it was too. Good seats on the try line at one end about 20 rows up gave us a great view of events. The atmosphere and noise when the Lions ran out was incredible making it feel as thought they were the home side. When Simon Zebo touched down with his first touch after 45 seconds you could have heard us in Bristol! Disallowed, foot in touch😞 Never mind it didn't take them long to score and they continued playing great rugby all match. Final score, a win 47 - 17. Really brilliant to be there and it wasn't even a test match yet. Jason Robinson sat 4 rows behind us. Riding on cloud 9 we headed home via another round of beer.

Sunday and I woke up at 9am! I never sleep that long, must have needed it I suppose. Sue and Dave already up. Breakfast was followed by a bus ride into Sydney and a stroll around Darling Harbour, the Harbour Bridge and Rocks market all very very nice in the cool morning sunshine. At tea time we ventured out to Bondi junction and after an extensive search decided on a Chinese 9 course banquet! The walk home took a little longer than the walk out!

Brisbane tomorrow.

Additional photos below
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16th June 2013

Lions tour
Keep it coming Mike, thoroughly enjoying the blog.

Tot: 2.547s; Tpl: 0.069s; cc: 10; qc: 52; dbt: 0.0502s; 2; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 2; ; mem: 1.3mb