For 3 great days I got to go on a mini holiday to catch up with my Belgium friend Inge in Sydney. After the dust storms a month earlier I was wondering what type of weather wed get and this time it was mostly overcast and raining. Still we had a great time packed full of activities which I have to admit have changed my mind about Sydney. Somehow I convinced work to let me take Thursday and Friday off, given I had 9 weeks off recently and have another 10 week trip later this is a good reminder of how lucky I am to have a supportive employer. Catching a cheap QANTAS flight up on Thursday morning and a train to the city (I wish Melbourne had these) I went straight to Inge’s hotel.
Inge looked great despite the jetlag and having little sleep. So off we headed to explore the city and we quickly found ourselves near the Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, Government House and the Botanic Gardens. While it was overcast I have to admit Sydney has the sights. After a quick lunch we headed off on a short tour of the rich parts of Sydney including Spit Bay (yachts aplenty), Sydney National Park and Manly Beach. The waves were very impressive on this storming day! We then ended up at Darling Harbour and visited the Sydney Aquarium and the shops. This included waiting in the cold for our Captain Cook Night Cruise. This included a nice diner and sailing past Luna Park, the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. We got off at Circular Quay and went back to our hotels, chatting to Canadians here for the Master Games.
Starting very early on Friday I met Inge at her hotel and we did another tour highlights include Lady Macquarie’s Seat (great views of the Harbour), watching the HMS Ballarat return from Gulf service and then onto the famous Bondi Beach. Again the ocean was very rough and dazzling. I was surprise how small the beach was, much be very crowded with 50,000 beach goers in summer. After the tour we went to Chinatown for lunch and then did some sightseeing. We ended up visiting the NSW Parliament, Hyde Park, St James Cathedral, the National Memorial, Old Royal Mint, and the First Hospital in Australia (the Rum Hospital – built by allowing tax free rum into Sydney). Exhausted we went to rest in our hotels before going out for dinner. When walking to Inge’s hotel it started raining very hard, luckily I found shelter. We caught the train down to Circular Quay (near Sydney Opera) and selected ‘Minus 5 as our restaurant. Had a lovely time made much better by the company. Later that night I wish Inge well on her tour of Australia which was included Melbourne, Adelaide, Alice Springs and Darwin, should be great. The next morning I slowly checked out of my hotel (I had done something like 60,000 steps in 2 days!) and caught a train to the airport (efficient) and a plane back to Melbourne. Later that night the family got together for Reagan and Steve’s birthdays.