The Harbour Bridge at dusk.
A new city, a new country, a new continent. We aren't going to lie to you, hearing English again, recognising all the fruit and veg on sale and understanding a menu isn't something we have been overly excited about. There has been something both fun and terrifying about being in places where you really are an outsider and it almost feels as if our 'travelling' has been put on hold. But we are sure we are just readjusting to being proactive within a community - rather than just allowing situations to happen - and that once we are over our jetlag, these hardy travellers will bounce back with some adentures to share!
Because we have been here for a week we have tried to condense everything to keep it from being too long. Needless to say however, Sydney is a great city and we have only scratched the surface on the things you can do here. But we are here to relax too and to recharge our batteries for the remaining 6 weeks and so Sydney has been just what we needed.
6th April 2009
We landed at Sydney Airport at 4.30am our time (but 6.30am Australia time) -
St Mary's on a typically bright Sydnian afternoon.
and who knows your time! Heading through customs, we were let in (after a tense 15 minutes at Hong Kong airport where staff had to deal with some 'confusion' with Hayley's permanently problematic passport) and we were on our way to yet another iconic city. We were going to be staying with the family Hayley had worked for as a nanny five years ago and this meant that we were in for a bit of luxury e.g. a decent bed, some home cooked meals, a fluffy dog...It also meant that to get there we had to cross the Harbour Bridge; and so this was our first chance to catch a glimpse of both this and the Opera House as we headed north to Mosman. A great welcome to any city! We found the house - eventually - and settled in with our host Jane and some hot cross buns, the rest of the day was then spent taking numerous walks with our new friend Rikki (the dog!), and drinking numerous cups of coffee to compete in the battle to stay awake until bed time. 36 hours after getting up from our shoe box in Hong Kong we finally went to
A Swindon reunion!
bed in a pretty suburb of Sydney. Quite a day.
7th April 2009
Feeling the effects of our never ending day yesterday, we slept slightly longer than usual and didn't head out until after lunch. We took the bus back across the bridge to 'The City' where we wandered around the streets, munching on sushi rolls and Krispy Kreme doughnuts (we are drooling at the memory of them right now!) and walked up to St Mary's Cathedral across from Hyde Park. We meandered through the park commenting on how quiet it felt comparatively to any city in Asia! Through the Botanical gardens we were faced with the Opera House straight ahead, and like a beacon, we followed the path round until we were upon it. We realised that something big was due to happen as there were flood lights, and the red carpet was a give away...we had stumbled into the world premier of Star Trek! As you do. So we had a hot chocolate before joining the trekkies for a chance to spot the likes of Spock, Kirk and Co. Their real names still allude us - but we felt special! To get back to Mosman we then
On top of the Harbour Bridge.
had the option of taking a ferry from Circular Quay - which is a far more spectacular alternative to jumping on a bus - and so we found ourselves dwarfed by Sydney Harbour as we crossed the bay. After taking Rikki for a walk we climbed back into bed thinking that perhaps three months of travelling may be catching up with us.
8th April 2009
We were up at 10.30am, again later than we had planned, but again, still feeling the effects of those 36 hours. We decided to make our way - by ferry - back over to Circular Quay where we walked the coastline around towards Darling Harbour. Darling Harbour is an area consumed with bars, restaurants and souveneir shops but is a lovely spot to stroll around and do some people watching. But not catering towards (budget) travellers we couldn't afford to stay too long! We then made our way excitedly to our 'rendezvous' point for a reunion with the Swindon Massif. By which we mean a couple of friends from home. We then spent the evening drinking beer and eating steak and generally being as Australian as we could! It was great to catch up
Can't believe we turned up wearing the same outfit...
and see some familiar faces. We had a fab evening and took the opportunity to let our hair down for the first time in three months.
9th April 2009
Yet again another late morning, and in order to wake ourselves properly, we took Rikki for a walk...which just so happened to lead us to Maisy's cafe where we demolished some Chocolate Fudge Cake...it was Rikkis fault. We then walked back to the house where we relaxed indoors for a while before putting on our best clothes (which are also our only clothes) and made our way back to the city and more specifically, Sydney Opera House. We had purchased tickets the previous day for a play and were looking forward to a civilised evenings entertainment! The play was The Alchemist, by Ben Jonson. Written in the 1700's it was intially a tad hard to follow - as it is written in Olde English, performed by Australians! But we eventually got the gist and it was actually very funny. Walking back to the ferry we felt like true Sydneysiders.
10th April 2009
As it was Good Friday, and fearing that much would be closed, we had made plans to
Sydney Football Stadium - awaiting the Warratahs v Bulls.
have no plan for today. We woke and walked Rikki down to the local beach where numerous families had set up for the day, and then came back to the house to see off Jane and Rory, who were heading up the Gold Coast for a few days break. We made our way to the ferry (in our now custmonary way of running because we are always late!) and 15 minutes later were back in Circular Quay. We decided upon arrival to walk around The Rocks, the first settlement in Sydney. Walking through here takes you passed the Bridge Climb Centre. We had decided a few days back that this is something that we wouldn't do, due to cost. However, walking past the entrance was too irrisistable and we went in "just to enquire"....20 minutes later, wallets a lot lighter, we were in cool matching jump suits, harnesses and radios. How did that happen?! It seemed we had timed things just right though, and after a few safety instructions we set off at 15.15pm, on a walk/climb that takes over 3 hours. It starts on the S.E pylon, where you are led across the underneath of the flat part of
On the Coogee to Bondi trail.
the bridge on narrow walkways admiring the underbelly of the beast. We went on to climb 4 or 5 steep ladders up to road level (literally between lanes seven and eight of the highway across the bridge!) and further up to the spring point of the famous arch - the largest single span arch bridge in the world. The walk from here is a gentle incline, stopping at various points to take photos and to cross over the middle, before reaching the summit, 141 metres above sea level. Because of the time we had started, we had timed it perfectly to see the sun start to fall to the west, and it reflecting on the Opera House to the east. Top to bottom it is over 1400 steps and as for the random things we have done, this ranks pretty high, in every sense! We had a nice evening back at the house, speaking to our folks (and our long-haired friend) and eating pizza; it was almost like being home.
11th April 2009
After yet another lazy morning we took Rikki for a tour around Mosman (and Hayley gave Danny a quick tour of her former Sydneysider's life) before
Daniel pondering life down under.
making our favourite ferry crossing over to the city. We were going to gradually make our way towards Moore Park, home of the Sydney Football Stadium, where we would be watching the Warratahs v Bulls in a 3rd place v 4th place battle of the Super 14's. We walked with the hordes to the stadium where we saw a great game, accompanied by a pie and a pint of bitter, which ended with the Bulls winning by 20-6. After, we made our way over to the Kings Cross area of Sydney (bar street) to conclude our day of sport watching, with some good old English football. Remembering that it was Public Holiday timetables for local transport - and noticing how underdressed...or looking at some of the girls, maybe we were over
dressed.. - we didn't stay long before catching the last ferry back across the harbour.
12th April 2009
We had decided that as we had taken in a little culture, a little adventure and a little sport thus far in our time here, today we would take in some nature. After some frantic last minute arrangements for New Zealand at home, we caught a ferry and a bus to Coogee Beach. We had hoped to meet up with our buddy Dom here, but things worked against us and so soon enough we found ourselves on the trail that would lead us the 4.5km around numerous beautiful peninsulars and coves, all packed with Easter holidaymakers, swimmers, fishers and surfers, all the way to the famous Bondi Beach. It was a lovely gentle afternoon walk. Despite it being Autumn here there was still cause for sun screen. This evening we did something that we hadn't done for what felt like an age.......drumroll.......we cooked our own dinner! We then packed up once more, made ourselves all clean for NZ, and took Rikki for one final walkie.
Happy Easter, folks!
Love and miss you all, keep all the news coming in!
H and D
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