Rain rain go away...
07.07.2010 - 11.07.2010 0 °C
Once we got off the plane and out of the airport we had to get a train to Sydney. Getting the train appeared to be relatively easy and it seemed that the stop we had to get off at was the final stop. This appearence was wrong as the train didn't seem to come to an end anywhere; the station names were also not very easy to spot. It worked on a loop of the centre before heading out to the suburbs; we didn't realise this until we had stopped at 'central' twice andwere on our way out of town! We got off at the next station before we were any further out of town and eventually made it to the right place. Finding the bus was much easier except that the bus driver was inexplicably rude and had a serios attitude problem. When we asked him if he could tell us when we were near our stop he very bluntly said 'no' and then that he won't do that because we will fight with him if he were to forget. so instead we askedhow far it was/how long would it take and very politely asked if he did remember then could he let us know - to this his reply was that he didn't know the street...as if! All in all he was aggressive and rude and not just to us but to a number of other passangers who got on the bus. We therefore spent the bus journey eagle eyed and trying to read the street names - not an easy feat in the dark! When we eventually spotted Stuart Street (having asked numerous passengers along the way) webtried asking the busbdriver again if this was where we should get off - this was a waste ofbreath so we just got off and walked down the steet.
After all the hassle with the public transport it certainly was a relief to finally be there! Phillipa greeted us at the door and showed us around. We enjoyed a dinner of risotto with her and Liam where Liam declared that we were going to the pub. With some of Liam's homebrew in Kristian's belly and freshly showered we were ready to go so Phillipa gave us a lift to Lane Cove.
We met Liam's friend at a Sport's bar which doubled up as a betting shop! Liam hadn't been able to withdraw any money at the ATM as he only had $2; having arrived at this bar we suddenly understood why! We onle stayed for a few drinks but long enough to learn the rules of Rugby leage - not that I can remember them now!
Kristian failed to get up and watch the football in the middle of the night which meant that we locked Liam out! Its a good job he was able to watch it in his room or I think he may have been somewhat disappointed! We were up fairly early and has a morning of attempting to sort things out before catching a bus into the city. Once we were there it was time for more sorting out, this time at Trailfinders. The lady was really nice and helpful (albeit evry minature) and we managed to book our flight to/from Sri Lanka - at least now we have a connection to get our flight home woop woop. She was't able to provide much light on the china to India problem though which was frustrating.
By the time that we were finished with this we were super dooooper hungry so we headed to a food court and enjoyed our first Asian dish of the teip. Why we weren't making the most of Western food I really don't know...!!!
With our tummies full it was time to be tourists once again so we headed straight to the Opera House. We decided against going to see something due to expense and instead opted to take a guided tour. We had a while to wait so took some photos on the stairs (as you have to!) before it was time for it to start. The first part of the tour was a photo where they would superimpose us onto the steps/theatre etc etc. As the background was green and I was wearing my green raincoat (as it was still bloody raining) we decided to have some fun and make me a floating head! Didn't buy the photos though...
In order to hear out tour guide we had to wear wireless headphone things - clever idea but we looked like fools! we were unsure to start with if the tour was going to be worth the money as the guide started by explaining the posters about what was one...fortunately it got better though. We learn about how the Opera House had come to exist, about the architect and how he has been unfairly treated by the Australian Government. We also had the opportunity to go inside two of the theatres which meant we got to see a stage being put together but also the Sydney Symphonic Orchestra practising. This was wicked as it meant that we were able to experience the acoustics of the venue for ourselves and they were indeed rather spectacular! All in all we felt very satisfied with the tour and were glad we'd paid the money to do it.
It was still a rainy day as we were walking through the Rocks so we tried to go into the Museum of Contemporary Arts. Unfortunately they could only shelter us from the weather for ten minutes as they were closing so we were back out in the rain once more. We considered going up the tower for dinner but blanched at the cost so instead we wound up in Nando's at a Mall food court. By this stage we were feeling quite tired due to aimless walking around to we joined another grumpy bus driver on the journey home to continue our search for flights.
We headed into town a bit earlier on the Friday with the intention of walking over the bridge. Fortunately the bus driver was actually helpful and told us where was best to get off. We almost fell over sideways when he helped us! The problem when we did get off was that we couldn't actually see the bridge anywhere - surprising considering the sheer size of the thing! We asked a guy and followed him towards it; we had thought that he was walking a dog but when the dog went off in the opposite direction 5 minutes later we realised perhaps this wasn't the case!
Near the bridge we found a post office whichwas a relief as we were carrying our Winter clothing to send home. Once we had managed to get this posted off by seamail (hopefully it will turn up sometime in the next 3 months..) we were finally ready to walk over the bridge. This was a fairly uneventful experience but an enjoyble one nonetheless. That is with the exception of the horrible spinach and ricotta pastry thing that Kristain was eating.
Once over we headed straight down to Circular Quay to catch a ferry to Taronga Zoo. Somehow we had managed to miss one by two minutes so had a half hour wait in yet more rain for another one; and people say it rains a lot in the UK!!!
The ferry didn't take too long to get there and we arrived in time to catch the giraffe talk. Their girafes certainly seemed to have some personality as they werte nudging the keeper and trying to get the branches they weren't being offered! Pretty funny indeed. Taronga Zoo really is in a spectacular setting with the waer and the iconic Sydeny landmarks as a backdrop. they also have the cutest baby elephants which are so tiny and playful that we honestly could have stood adoring them for hours on end. However, we did move on and got lucky as we caught feeding time for the lions, the penguin talk and saw gorillas up really close showing off their bums!!
Having seen most of the big animals and witnessed two very crazy sealions jumping around like maniacs we headed into the Australian section which was the real reason we had even come to the zoo. Miraculaously we were in time for yet another talk - this time about koalas. This was good as it meant some of them were awake - not bad considering that the are animals which sleep 20 hours a day! They also had a really cool section which you could walk through amongest kangaroos, wallabies and emus which was a good Australian animal experience. We managed somehow to find the time to see yet more Australian animals - this time a wombat and platypus before walking through the reptile section. By this stage it was almost closing time at the soo and we had managed to spend 4 hours there. Not altogether sure where all that time had gone!! At least we could say we'd got value for money...
For some reason we decided to skip down the hill back to the ferry which meant some funny loooks from those driving past in cars. The ferry was buseir going back and once back at the Quay we headed straight for the bus stop.
Back at the house there were lots of us for dinner as it was Tess's last night before flying home to South Africa. As usual I turned out to be the difficult one as lamb shanks were on the menu so Liam had to cook a lone chicken breast for me :-). we both enjoyed our meals though all the more becuse in the back of our minds we knew it would be our last homecooked Western meal for quite some time.
Bill gave us a lift into Sydney on Saturday morning where we had a wander around the Rocks market. The highlight of this was some wonderfully refreshing homemade lemonade - yum! With our fill of market we headed back to Circular Quay, this time to catch a ferry to Manly. When we arrived in Manly we couldn't believe how many people there were! Quite a shell shock after 6 weeks of New Zealand. Our tummies were grumbling once more by this stage so we queued for ages to get some fish and chips; they were worth the wait though. We ate them while being serenaded by a guitarist playing Spanish sounding versions of Metallica and Stairway to Heave - very surreal! From here we headed down onto the beach to soak in the atmosphere and watch the crazy people surfing.
Somehow this nice relaxing moment turned into a sand fight with both of us rolling around in the sand. I thought I may have won after putting sand down Kristian's pants but he had the last laugh by rubbing my hair in it which I had previously somehow managed to keep out of the sand. Amazingly the sand didn't seem to be as offensive as it normally is when sunbathing but we did get it everywhere.
It was a beautiful day which was a pleasant break from all the bloody rain so we went in search of ice cream. I chose to have Caramel Crunch and White Chocolate Caramel which complimented each other beautifully unlike Kristian's Jaffa/Rum and Raisin combo!! They were both stupidly sickly so he was defeated by his ice cream - there is a first for everything! All the sightseeing of the previous days had super dooper tired us out so we felt it was time to head towards home. Stupidly we managed to miss a bus by five minutes and being the weekend this meant that we had an hour to wait until the next one...we were lucky though as we hadn't realised this would be the last bus of the night!
It was hard to believe that it was time for us to leave Sydney already. It was also sad to be leaving Philippa as staying with them very much reminded us of being at home and staying with Nip and Sue; we are craving their spaghetti bolognaise haha. The morning passed uber quickly as it tends to do when packing (don"t we know it!) but Liam cooked us a scrumptious lunch before Phillipa and Bill took us to the airport....