Revisiting some old favourites in Sydney, we stroll through The Rocks with all its cafes and bars, stopping off for some lunch before continuing on to stand under the harbour bridge. We then make our way around Circular Quay to the beat of didgereedoos and buskers that bring even more life to the area. The picturesque and much-photographed Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House are still favourites with the tourists milling about. Passing by the crowds waiting to board a ferry we continue around to gaze up at the sails of the Sydney Opera House before taking a break in the green spaces of the Royal Botanical Gardens. We dutifully make our way up to Mrs Macquarie’s Point to take shots of the bridge and opera house together. I’m steadily acquiring digital images to replace the worn 8 year old photos from my lone wanderings 8 years ago.
We make our way back up through Hyde Park, cursing our aching feet and the fact that the weighing scales are proving to us that non-stop walking just doesn’t have the same effect on our bodies as a couple of sessions in the gym every week. Surely this much pain should be giving some positive results? But no, the only effect of all the walking is stiff muscles and aching backs. We console ourselves with buying an icecream milkshake to quench our thirst while telling ourselves that it’s vaguely healthy. There’s plenty of good food to be had in Sydney. Brodie is in heaven with all the sushi bars for lunch. Steering clear of the raw stuff, I’ve been sticking with the sandwiches which are equally good.
My attempts to book the Sunlander train up the east of Australia are an abject failure. The only online booking system doesn’t give details about breaking up the journey into legs, and the Sydney travel agents are almost hostile when asked for information. USIT just don’t do that kind of thing. The woman at the Peter Pan travel agency huffs down her long nose at me and informs me that they don’t do that sort of thing either. In fact, the train is only used by old age pensioners, not normal people. Normal people use the bus – she can sell us tickets for the bus. (Though her look implies that we might be infected with premature old-age and thus refused entry on her exciting kiwi experience bus). Tempted as I am to tell her exactly where to stuff her tickets, I make an abrupt exit, leaving her to deal with the next smelly student traveller that does want to spend weeks in discomfort on her stupid bus. Maybe the travel agents are more train-friendly up north.
During our stay we’re treated to filling breakfasts, tasty Nepalese and Chinese cuisine, and of course a barbeque. It is, after all, barbeque weather and they have a balcony for exactly that purpose. Their friends show up to help demolish the pile of food that’s been assembled. Despite everyone’s best efforts, there are still plenty of leftovers for the next day. The others leave after an enjoyable evening, and the rest of us practise a trademark Blue Steel look while our host snaps black and white photos, trying to make us into the models that we aren’t.