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Published: August 10th 2007
After breakfast in bed - Marmite on toast served by Gemma - we walked to one of Sydney’s many bays, had a quick look around the yacht club and then boarded the Bondi Explorer. This is like those hop-on/hop-off things in London (and everywhere else in the world) and drives a 2 hour route from the city centre and taking in the world-famous Bondi Beach. Our first stop was at Watson’s Bay where we’d been recommended a restaurant for lunch, Doyles, which seems to be a bit of a Sydney institution and which has spawned a mini-empire of other restaurants and takeaways and a boutique hotel. So thanks to ‘Gorillas in the Mist’ Andrew for that one. Ed’s Coca Cola-style ‘Enjoy Capitalism’ t-shirt got the approval of the manager, who gave us a great table right on the water, and here we had the second-best seafood of our trip so far; first place is still Cape Town’s ‘Harbour House’.
The bus driver had suggested a cliff top walk between 2 stops on the southern headland of the opening to Sydney harbour. We did this and then couldn’t successfully interpret the directions to the next stop, unnecessarily walking an extra couple
of miles. We coped well with multi-day treks in Patagonia and have navigated our way across wild unmarked terrain in Alaska, so in this case it’s probably fair to say that the leaflet was at fault.
The next stop was Bondi Beach itself. If you were designing a beach from scratch and you liked being in the water, you’d probably come up with something pretty close to Bondi with its huge, well-formed and reliable waves and soft, clean sand. You might, however, only tell a few people about it rather than the masses who covered every square inch of the beach. As usual in Australia, the country where things tend to be just done well and with little fuss, they had a well-thought out set-up at the beach, with keyless lockers, free showers and anything for hire if you hadn’t brought it with you. We went for a 45 minute swim, although mostly it was just body surfing the massive waves. On one occasion we decided we’d just been in the biggest wave either of us has ever seen. Really, really good fun.
Once back at the hostel we decided that a sunset gin & tonic would be nice, so walked down to Darling Harbour and sat out in the sunshine drinking overpriced drinks. We also worked out why Australians in London get so drunk. It’s rare to come across a bar that sells pints of beer Down Under, and even when they do they’re not as big as English pints. Generally you have to make do with a schooner, which is probably two-thirds of a pint or less. So although we’re not disputing that it’s a good idea to serve beer in smaller glasses here given that it’s so much hotter, Aussies who think that because they can drink 10 schooners they can drink 10 English Stellas are in for a shock. Just an opinion…!
Finally Gemma had another bout of ‘needing’ sushi, so that’s what we had for dinner, at a place that serves the hottest wasabi in the world (we think). This is turning into an addiction.
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