I got into Sydney on the evening of the 7th Aoril and was picked up by my mate Ginge who I would be staying with in Mosman with his wife Esse.
I had an early start the next day so it was quite an early night. Up bright and breezy at 7.15 to get the ferry from Mosman over to Circular Quay for the start of my one day Blue Mountain trip with Oz Trek. As is the way with these tours, I do find I get to meet people much easier this way and that would become apparent later the following week.
We headed out to the Blue mountians past the Sydney Olympic sight and some pretty hefty traffic. Our guide was very informative and I think may have possibly been a war veteran as he explained to us the significance of Anzac day in Australia on the 25th April and how we should all get involved some way. From what I could work out, "some way" meant going down the pub with everyone else.
The Blue Mountains was a huge expanse of rain forrest with some impressive rocks and walks. We walked about halfway down the
mountain side, the guide showed us how echoey the mountains were and soon we were all shouting at the top of our lungs. At the bottom of the walk we then got on board the world's steepest railway and were taken back up to the top.
On the bus were some cool people. Debs and Caz from Glasgow in Scotland, Michael from Germany and Ilya from San Francisco. All of whom would be going along to Byron bay roughly the same time as me.
The next day was then self tour of Sydney day and the sun was out in force !! I got dropped off by Ginge at the Infamous Manly ferry and got that over to Circular Quay. From there I walked round to the left over to the Opera House.
Never being a great one for architecture, I was actually blown away at how complex a structure this was. I walked up the steps, took a few iconic photos for posterity and then walked over to wear I thought the tours went from. The gates around the opera house were all shut, andi though to myself where do the tours go from, maybe
they don't do them anymore.
Walking back down the steps and then I started thinking about going round to Mrs Macquarie's chair, I then saw an entrance with a sign saying tours this way which was actually under the opera house.
I am so glad I found it, the Sydney Opera House tour if you are interested in music, design or creativity is a must do in Sydney. You must allow time for it. It was an amazing experience.
It's such an amazing building that went years over construction time (6years) and about $100 million over spend. What I liked in this part if the story is that the New South Wales government in conjunction with the Opera House started a state wide lottery and made the money back 2 years after the project finished. The part that was not so good was how Jen Utson, the winning architect was canned by the then government because of the time and money overrun and he never got to see his master piece finished. He did come back on to the Opera House team in his 80th year to help design one room to his original specifications, but
sadly he died a year or so ago. It was a very moving story for me. There is much mor t this story so if yo get time i suggest you check it out as it was one of the best things I have done so far in Australia.
After the Opera house I walked around the bay to Mrs Maquaries chair and there was a great sunshine laden view of the opera house and the harbor bridge in the background. I then walked through the Botanical Gardens catching a glimpse of about 30 fruit bats in the tree, reminding me a story of when my Uncle and Aunty were over here in the 80s and they explained how they had felt when they were attacked by whatthey called flying cats. I suspect these wreathe culprits., they are massive !!!
In the evening I met up with some old friends - Dylan who I used to wrk at the BBC with and Sam who I went to university with. It as a great night out in Manly and we all had a good time, the hangover proved it the next day ha ha.
However, Ginge had no
time for hangovers, beforei knew it we were in the van with the surf board and heading to Manly to catch some waves. My first official surfing lesson was soon to be underway. Well, I wasn't great let's out it that way. My balance was pretty good but I couldn't get two feet on the board, I would have to leave it for another day and take some proper surf lessons.
After getting back to Esse and Ginge's house we got our stuff together and headed to Bondi Beach where the surf was pretty big, bigger than Manly but with no surf board, just boogie boards. Just as well to be honest as I would have been dumped on the beach faster than you can see Speedy Gonzales!!!
After the beach we headed to Hurricanes for the Rib fest! Sweet mother, they were some serious ribs. Check the photo out !! After that, we caught the end of a garage sale which boasted some impressive clothes some of which Esse bought, plus an interesting three legged dog that followed me around a bit.
I then met up with Suzie, an Irish woman, living and working in Bondi
and it was great to see her and catch up. We had a couple of drinks, although nothing alcoholic for me as I as still hungover from the prvious night and then we said our goodbyes and it was off back to Mosman, Sydney for my final night there.
It was an early start to get the Greyhound bus and the first time I had properly been traveling on my own since I had left the UK.
Next up Byron.
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