Tuesday, 13 November 2007

So... Sydney....

I arrived home a little after 1:30am on Tues morning after a great weekend in Sydney. It was my first visit back after I moved away on October 2001 and it was lovely to see it again! It really is a fantastic city and the weather, well, what can I say? For the first time in months I was warm for more than a few minutes at a time AND it didn't require me wearing layers to be so. There were blue skies with beautiful shining sun and I reckon it was at least 21 degrees on the Sat it must have been about 24 on the Mon. It was great.

The flight over was uneventful and on arrival we jumped on train to Circular Quay so from airport to 5 min walk from our hotel in 20 mins. Brilliant stuff. Interestingly, the first thing we noticed on leavin the train station was the quality of the air. After the lovely clean air here in Wellington, you could taste the bad air in Sydney. But needless to say, we got used to that pretty quick. Our hotel, was as you might expect, quite luxurious. The room was small but to be honest we were hardly in it and we were on the 24th floor so did get a view of the opera house as we'd hoped for (well it was an Opera View Room).

I know this may seem odd to anybody in Dublin but I was quite taken aback by the price of eating out (and the bad coffee) in Sydney. I guess this is compared to Wellington prices but it did take a bit of getting used to alright! However, the breakfast at least was included in our room and it was beautiful. It was a buffet breakfast but in true Four Seasons style it was fantastic. Fresh fruit (not all mixed together, eg strawberries, pineapple, kiwi, melon etc), bagels, pastries, muffins, about 7 different types of bread, natural yoghurts, smoked salmon, and all the hot food as well. And the scrambled egg wasn't at all bad for buffet eggs! I ate big breakfasts :-)

On the Saturday, after a humungous breakfast, we got the bus up to Paddington to where I used to live and we headed in to the Paddington Markets (which again I used to frequent). It was great to be back there and then wander the boutiques (yeah, I did that one alone). Needless to say I did manage to make a few purchases along the way - a really cute green bag, shoes, shorts, t-shirt... eh, I think that's it! At the Sydney Opera House that evening I was sitting beside this older woman who I heard say, "I can't believe it" a number of times. I actually thought that she was pissed off at me for taking a photo of hte organ and stage (obviously before the concert started!) but it turns out that she literally just couldn't believe she was there and was just a bit excited :-) And just look at that organ... I play the organ but only in a little church. It was really very sweet as she was so genuine. The performances were lovely (all Rachmaninov - conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy) but I particularly enjoyed the last composition though I was so so exhausted that I couldn't wait for it to be over so I could go to sleep! But I still enjoyed it.

Sunday we did the Bondi-Coogee coastal walk. A little crowded (that's an understatment btw) due to the coastal sculpture exhiition that was going on. But it was a great stroll anyway, and exhibition finished by Tamarama Beach so wasn't too bad.

And after that... well we headed back to Paddington for Arthurs Pizza! Yum. Arthur's Pizza has been somewhat refurbished since I was there last but pizza's still as good! I would have loved a meal in Mickey's just up the road but we didn't get back - well not quite next door to where we were staying. That evening we hooked up with Colleen and some other work folk. V enjoyable evening hearing about new life in Sydney. And after my fab sleep the night before I was awake and alert for it and all :-)

Our last day was Mon and we had until about 4pm before we had to collect luggage and head to the airport. So, ferry across to Manly, where in fairness there isn't all that much to do! But wandered down to the beach at the other side of hte peninulsa which is a well known surf beach (apparently) but no good surfers there! Had a lovely lunch of mezza and turkish bread with a rather nice glass of riesling back at the Opera Bar at Opera Quays on our return. Well I had mezze, the rather good fish & chips were had by Dave. I got the "you'll never eat all that" when it arrived to which I retorted "watch me!". Eh... well, I didn't. I couldn't! We spent the rest of hte afternoon in The Domain and Botanical Gardens before heading off to the airport. I could list all we saw in there (including the tree with loads of flying foxes (bats) hanging from trees sleeping! Don't know where I heard/thought that they liked the dark... this was in bright sun light on the hottest day yet! Pretty funky though.

Em... I'm sure there's lots more I could say and of course in a more interesting way but eh, well, I won't! Pictures will be up on flickr on http://www.flickr.com/photos/eefa

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