Sydney, NSW, Australia
07.10.2010 - 15.10.2010 23 °C
Arriving at the Sydney harbour bridge and looking over towards the opera house was a bit of a defining moment in my travels. At this point I was about half way, six months, into my solo round the world dream and at my final stop in Oz. I was also particularly looking forward to seeing this city for myself, having heard so much about it while i was growing up from my father who lived here in his youth. My father had loved it here and had he not met and fell in love with my mother on a short visit back to England may have made Sydney his home. I had flown here from Brisbane as, strangely enough, it actually worked out cheaper to fly than to get the bus as well as saving me a day of travelling. Crazy huh! Maybe Greyhound bus should sort this out?
I went on a bit of a walkabout to get my bearings. This turned into a pretty epic walkabout extravaganza which started at Kings cross where i was staying, all the way across the city to swanky Darling harbour, then a few km along the waterfront to the harbour bridge, past another swanky area called the rocks, round to the opera house then finally through the botanic gardens (watch out for those flying foxes!) and back to Pott’s point. While I was taking in the view, an English lady asked me to take her picture next to the opera house as she was travelling alone. I had met Dawn and we hit it off immediately. We got so carried away having a gossip that we didn’t realise that some fruit loop of a woman was ear wigging on us. Turns out this woman was filming the harbour bridge for a new Smirnoff vodka commercial right next to us, so we were wondering if our gassing will make it into the ad!! Anyway, Dawn joined me over the next few days for some sightseeing, cinema, dinner and drinks, we had a great time..
Apart from lots and lots of walking, accompanied by copious amounts of ice cream of course, I was lucky enough to meet up with Alan, one of my father’s close friends from when he lived in Sydney. Alan met me off the train in Burwood, near to where he lives, and took me for lunch in the ex-serviceman’s club. Alan has lived in Sydney all of his life and it was wonderful to hear about how the city has changed and about things he and my dad used to get up to. Inspiring character. I also met up with my cousin Rob, who is now enviably living in Bondi. After catching up over a few beers in Bondi we decided this was not exciting enough so we hit the legendary World Bar in the red light district of King’s cross, the bar famous for serving cocktails in a teapot YIKES!!!!!! That is all I can say to that... With your teapot they provide you with some printed ‘instructions’ warning you to not abuse alcohol and to NOT, under any circumstances, is a federal offence severely punishable, I repeat DO NOT ever drink directly from the teapot spout. Bloody soft Aussies eh!! Do you think we didn’t notice that the ‘pints’ of beer here are not actually full pints but rather ‘schooners’ WTF! Anyway, in this very busy, very lively bar, Rob takes a little cheeky sip from his teapot and WOOOOOOMMMPHHH, before it had even left his lips, the teapot police are there warning him that this is punishable by death sentence or something or other. The bouncer had a little notebook that he wrote into, like Rob was being yellow carded. One more sip and you are OUT!! Hahaha! Anyway, was a great evening ending at some silly wee hour and some degree of memory ‘challenge’, Ooooppps! I blame my cousin and he blamed me Oh well, one of us had to get up for work the next morning and I am glad it wasn’t me!!!
Time i guess for some fresh air, away from the city to the beautiful blue mountains. These mountains, just a couple of hours drive from Sydney, get their name from the bluish hue of the whole area when viewed from a distance. This comes from the light reflecting off moisture droplets in the air from the carpet of trees of which there are SO SO MANY! I was pretty impressed with the natural beauty of the area, the dramatic viewpoints above the clouds, the trek down to stunning Wentworth falls, lunch in the gorgeous quaint town of Leura and, the icing on the cake, seeing the epic three sisters rock formations. These legendary rocks, near to the tourist town of Katoomba, are found in a beautiful tree-crammed valley reachable by the steepest railway in the world (yes YIKES better hold on tight!) Aboriginal legend states that these rocks were once three beautiful sisters who fell in love with some guys from a warring rival tribe. A spell was cast on them to turn them to stone so that they could survive the war and they could return in more peaceful times to be with their true loves but the spell caster died in the war! Whatever the story, I thought this place was pretty special.
Another day, Dawn and I took the ferry to Manly beach, about a one hour ride from Sydney harbour and very popular with surfers. This was another area that my father had spoken a lot about. We had a great time playing with the sharks and stingrays in Oceanworld, laughing like we were kids, followed by a walk along the main surfing beaches, trying not to get a soaking from the sea spray. We ended the day perfectly, with some moist fruity Manly buns! Yes the Manly this that and the other joke kept us amused all day, especially the Manly nun we saw eating Manly kebabs! Oh dear! During my time in the city i also caught up with Scott’s Aunty, Uncle and cousins who threw a nice juicy steak on the Barbie for me at their beautiful house in a Sydney suburb. Damn that steak tasted good, and was lovely to catch up with them, I was certainly looked after that evening Final night in Sydney, final night in Australia and a final night out in the world bar! This time with yet another Sydney-based Pom, Bobby from Manchester man! I made sure to avoid any teapot-related incidences this time though as next morning, early start, on the road again, new country, New Zealand.. oooooo yeah looking forward to this one! Before i came to Australia I had blogged how I was not wanting to leave the magic of Asia behind for the ‘predictability’ of the developed world and a familiar culture. I was happily proved wrong. Australia has been so much more of an adventure than I could have imagined. From quad biking in the bush to seeing migrating whales close up, going deep underground in a mine and fulfilling my Great Barrier Reef dream. AMAZING... Best thing of all though ALL THE PEOPLE I HAVE MET, old friends, new friends, family, even meeting family I have never met before FANTASTIC MEMORIES THANKYOU XXX