Mike, Dave & Sue follow the Lions 2013 (12)

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July 6th 2013
Published: July 6th 2013
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Wednesday saw us up early and down to the Central railway station to catch the train to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. This was a two hour train ride stopping at every and I mean EVERY stop on the way. About 30 in all 😞 we rode out of Sydney and into suburban communities, boy have they got a problem with graffiti in this country. Everything is tagged, quite depressing to see in such a fantastic country with marvellous leisure and sport facilities. Anyway we climbed into the mountains and the forests of most obviously eucalyptus trees. Still lots of houses and communities all the way to the top of the ridge line on which Katoomba perches. Spectacularly vast forest views to the horizon about 70 miles away. Cliff faces and rock outcrops nearly 1000ft high, streams cascading into the void created beautiful waterfalls. Very picturesque 😊 Of course, to exploit the tourists there was a cable car ride across a chasm and a furnicular railway dropping at an acute angle into the valley. We didn't succumb to that trap but did make use of the hop on - hop off bus (part of our explorer ticket) to see some of the highlights. We also walked several trails on a mix of dry and easy paths and some very wet and steep sections. Worth the effort for the views though. Cameras on overtime. 5pm and back on the train to Sydney. Regular announcements informed the passengers that ours was a "quiet" carriage and if you wanted to talk or use your phone go elsewhere, typically Aussie forthright announcement! Unfortunately as this was only broadcast in English half the passengers didn't get the message. A Japanese girl in particular sat behind me in the "quiet" carriage talked continuously for the 2 hour trip without drawing breath once. I originally thought she must be reading to her male companion but he must have switched off early on as he didn't utter a word. Everyone around her were visibly relieved when she got off the train before Sydney😊 a tedious trip and we were glad to get home.

Thursday back down to the harbour and caught a ferry to Manley, a suburb at the other end of the bay. Very nice, much better than Bondi. Tree lined prom, golden beach, good bars and eateries and crashing waves with lots of surf action, dude 😊 a bit of retail therapy on the shopping prom and then beers in a beachside bar. A Dirty Granny for Sue (cider of course) we even dipped our toes in the Tasman Sea for a while. This raised an appetite and we settled on seafood in an Italian restaurant. Sue had Scallops in blankets and Dave and I had seafood grill of fish, scallops, mussels, prawns, calamari and Morton Bay Bug (small lobster.) salad and chips and more beers, delish!! Intentionally, we travelled back on the ferry in the dark and had amazing views of Sydney lit like a Christmas tree. Happy snappers clicked away at the views, quite pointlessly unless you used a decent camera and the ferry stopped pitching and rolling! Some people were going to have some very blurry images.

Friday morning Dave band I ventured out on our own, without adult supervision and found our way to the Sydney HD dealership in Alexandria. amazingly I didn't spend any money at all! Again Standard HD fare but they don't go in for Glides, everyone seems to ride Fatboys or Deluxes? In the afternoon we went across the harbour to Kirri Billi on the ferry in order to walk back across the Sydney Harbour Bridge not up over it, across it, we weren't going to pay £140 to do that, however spectacular it would have been. As we climbed from water level to the base of the bridge we saw a black London cab arrive. Passengers and driver got out and Sue made comment to the driver about his car. They then chatted and the driver said he was from Newport originally and worked at Girlings, Cwmbran, starting in 1968! Surprise surprise so did Sue! Gobsmacking coincidence! Yes, he remembered her dad and other people she knew. Can't take her anywhere without bumping into another Taff! A breezy march across the bridge, stopping for more photos, visual overload as the ferrys, yachts and cruisers played chicken! This exercise inevitably brought on a thirst so beers in The Rocks where we chatted to a chap from Bristol, living in Perth. Seemed a great lifestyle. Spotted James O'Connor walk by. Inevitably he gave us envious looks as we were wearing the blue and white of Bristol which was attracting a lot of attention. People from miles around Bristol came speak to us; well three actually😊 home for well earned Roo steaks and salad.

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