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Published: June 10th 2017
Geo: -33.8671, 151.207
This morning the group I've been travelling with, some throughout New Zealand and Australia, some only in Australia, left on a bus to go to the airport to return to their homes scattered across the US. Everyone was on that bus, except for me. While the parting was wrenchingly sad for me, once I had a good cry I focused on the gorgeously beautiful day I had to play with, while everyone else was encased in airports or airplanes. Sydney is a wonderful city! Its weather is just about perfect, or at least it was while we were visiting. After much discussion with one of the receptionists and Len, I decided I would take the train from Wolli Creek into the city, and jump on the "hop on, hop off" bus and visit places I hadn't yet seen.
So I checked out of the hotel and left my gear locked away, and started out to find the train station. Verbal directions are not always accurate; people forget names of streets, or they tell you to just go right at the roundabout, or something benign like that, not thinking that you might not be at all familiar with the area. No worries! I get lost a lot in my wanderings throughout the world, and am not afraid to ask questions of anyone who looks at all aware of their surroundings. Crossing the park was easy, but going beyond that seemed impossible since I could only see busy roadways with no nearby crossings. So I asked a truly ancient couple if they knew where the train station was. Just like when I was living in Thailand, the man pointed in one direction and the woman in the opposite. Thank you! I said, as I headed off aiming to the right, as the map sort of indicated. After asking 3 more people, I found Wolli Creek train station. I was on my way!
The trains in Sydney are fairly beautiful; they have two levels, one sitting below the platforms. It was fun just riding the train, watching the other people, most of whom were playing with handheld electronic devices and ignoring the countryside as we sped by. I got off at the Central Railway Station, which is near where the "hop on, hop off" bus stops. Because there was a bright red double decker bus sitting right there, I hopped on, not looking at its sign. It turned out to be the Bondi Beach loop, which I was going to do if I had time later on in the day; I had planned on doing the city loop first. It didn't matter, and I met a lovely couple from Victoria who were vacationing in Sydney, so I was no longer alone. We chatted throughout the loop, saw gorgeous Bondi Beach again, as well as the little park Brian took us to on our first day in Sydney, but now I was familiar with that area, and it felt as if I knew the city. The sun beating down on us was a gift, and I thought of all my fellow travelers sitting at the airport while I was having such a fantastic time back in Sydney!
So went the day. I did get on the city loop bus too, and hopped off at the Victoria Building because Brian had mentioned the unusual women's bathroom on the lower level. I had to check this out. They really weren't special; I still think the bathrooms at the Opera House are the best I've ever seen. Hopped back on another bus on that loop, and rode around, keeping track of the time because I wanted to visit the Australia Museum that Len had encouraged me to see. Got off at Hyde Park, just to walk around a bit and enjoy the sunshine; saw many ibises happily scrounging around among the pigeons and white seagulls. Beautiful. Then I walked over to the Australia Museum, and Len was right: it is a treasure! I spent most of my time in the indigenous art areas, but had some time left to see other things as well. This museum should be on future Road Scholar adventures to Sydney!
By 5PM we were kicked out of the museum, and it was time to be heading back anyway. I meandered a bit in a park nearby the Central Station, but then boarded a train bound for Wolli Creek, and had no trouble at all finding the hotel where we stayed. Got the shuttle to the airport, and you know the rest. But what is exceptional is that our flight to Kuala Lumpur was mostly empty, so after wine, dinner, and a stupid movie, I moved to a center row of 4 seats, and stretched out for our night flight. People in first class can't even do that! It was wonderful.
So while it is sad our NZ and Australia odyssey is over, we can continue to create our own adventures. And, hopefully, to keep in touch with each other. As predicted, I miss all of you who travelled to such far places with me, and, for those who weren't there, you missed an incredible time with fascinating people. That was one of the true adventures.
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