By uskatpayday loans

My first post!

We survived the plane ride! Despite multiple plane delays and assorted other travel-related oddities, we made it to Sydney. Dave and I had a middle seat and a window seat, respectively, on both flights, so I wasn’t quite sure if the two of us would walk off the plane talking to each other. Luckily, Dave took some sleeping pills so he was quite well-behaved through most of the ride. I probably got about 5 hours of non-consecutive sleep. After my sleeping fiasco in Boston (the incident now referred to as “Waffle Face”), I was concerned about what other endearing names my husband would come up with for me. Nevertheless, we arrived in Sydney around noon local time on Sunday after a 31 hour door-to-door trip.

After we depsited our bags in our hotel room (overlooking Darling Harbour and the Sydney Aquarium) we began exploring the Darling Harbour area. We walked all along the Harbour where we found many shops, parks, museums, and street performers. It got to the point where we were walking just to stay awake, so we decided to grab a quick dinner before we collapsed. We ate along the Harbour at an Italian restaurant called Casa di Nico. Dave had fettucine carbonara (and he was reminded that carbonara is a cream sauce and bolognese is the meat sauce) and I had a veal dish. Both were fairly tasty. Afterwards, Dave was determined not to fall asleep before the sunset, but I had no such standards. I was impressed that I made it to 7:30. (Last time I was in Shanghai I only made it to 6pm.)

The next morning we both finally woke up shortly before 8am. A bed never felt so comfortable, even though my side has this lovely rogue spring at the edge. Somehow, no matter how I first sit on the bed, I get poked by this one spring. It’s only a temporary pain so it’s manageable. Luckily, I’m not the only one battling the hotel room; Dave is fighting a war with the thermostat. He’s set it at 19 degrees Celsius, the lowest it will go, but I’ve never seen it dip below 19.5 (and that’s only when we first return). Every time we’re in the room it hovers around 20.5 and sometimes increases to 21. Maybe by the time we leave on Monday it will finally reach the correct temperature.

Now, on to the exploration….

After waking up fully refreshed on Monday, we decided to walk towards Circular Quay (pronounced “key”). This is another harbor area where you can see the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. It’s also the main hub for all ferries. We purchased unlimited ferry/bus passes and then immediately decided to put them to use by getting on the next ferry we saw. This ferry took us to a place called Cremorne Point. I was so excited by this that I ended up falling all the way down the ferry stairs. Luckily, my arms were fast and I was able to hold myself up while my feet dangled. Dave was pretty much speechless. I finally regrouped and we were able to exit the ferry. Here, we found the Cremorne Reserve which was a coastal walkway for the most part. It was a very nice walk except for the unforgiving hills and steps. Thankfully, it was a loop so we were able to catch a return ferry about 1 hour later back to Circular Quay. It was quite the serendipitous journey.

When we returned to Circular Quay, we walked to the Opera House and purchased tickets for a show on Sunday. We figured rather than just take a tour of the Opera House, we might as well invest the money and actually see a show. We will be seeing Le Grand Cirque (think Cirque du Soleil) on Sunday evening from the very last row! From the Opera House we walked through the Royal Botanic Gardens. The Gardens are enormous – I think three times as big as Boston Common. We stopped for lunch at the Bligh St. Deli and then took the ferry back to Darling Harbour. We stopped at the Aquarium on the way back to the hotel. The aquarium was pretty good, although crowded for a Monday afternoon. We got to see a duck-bill platypus (so cute!) and a crocodile (not so cute). They had a seal tank that you could view from above and clear tunnels that you could walk through to see the bottom/middle of the tank. They also had a second enormous tank for all types of big fishies like sharks and stingrays that also had clear tunnels (complete with glass floors this time). Overall, a pleasant experience.

We finally returned to the hotel to get cleaned up and then headed out to Star City, a casino across the Harbour. We ate dinner at the Pyrmont Steak & Seafood Restaurant. Dave had spaghetti seafood with prawns that he was unsure how to eat and I had a steak. Not as good as our first dinner, but not terrible. From there, it was on to the gaming tables. Dave played craps and did fairly well until I touched his chips and then they let me roll. We decided to call it a night shortly after that. I was surprised we were still standing. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pilllow. Dave was miffed that I didn’t even say “good night,” but I think he’s over it now as he’s just returned the favor. His bigger concern is that we haven’t been able to prove the “toilets flush counter-clockwise in Australia” myth. Of all the toilets we’ve tested, the water rushes in from the top and then gets sucked down. He’s quite upset by this, so our search continues…

Tuesday morning we had an earlier start because we had to catch the Anderson tour bus to the Blue Mountains. Our first (and my favorite) stop on the tour was at the Featherdale Wildlife Park. In the parking lot I got to meet a 6 month old wallaby (even cuter than the platypus) and pet him! Inside were a variety of Australian animals. As we walked between exhibits, a kangaroo came bounding across a bridge right past us. It was only then that we realized that many animals were able to roam free! I ACTUALLY GOT TO PET KANGAROOS, KOALAS, WALLABIES, AND WOMBATS! Not only that, but I was able to feed the kangaroos. I somehow got roped into holding a bird, too. It was the best time. At one point, a wombat showed Dave its belly. Being the brave (?) guy that he is, Dave rubbed the wombat’s belly. I think the wombat liked it better than Dixie does!

From there, we moved on to an open field where we were given a boomerang throwing lesson. Dave’s first try was awesome, his second was ok, but his third was the best….until he ended up hunting himself! Dave tried to catch it, but the boomerang slipped out of his hands and left him with a slash on his wrist. (Don’t worry – I have it ALL ON VIDEO!) Next, we viewed Sublime Point in the Blue Mountains, but the fog hadn’t burned off so we couldn’t see much. We moved on to lunch at a country club instead. After lunch we headed to ScenicWorld where we rode a cable car from the top of the mountains to the bottom. At the bottom we landed in a temperate rainforest. Here we walked along a path and looked at a bunch of trees. At the end of the walk, we boarded a scenic railway to take us back to the top of the mountain. I preferred being on the ground rather than suspended in the air as we were. Dave was able to take some nice photos of the famous rock formation known as The Three Sisters and some waterfalls.

The tour then took us to some shops in a town called Leura. Nothing much to say about that except we had some milkshakes that didn’t quite taste as we expected.

Finally, the tour took us through the Sydney Olympic Park. It was pretty impressive to see what they built for a 3-week event. The aquatic center is now open to the public so we may try to head back out there if we have time. At the conclusion of the tour, we boarded the ferry and returned to Circular Quay. We stopped for dinner at a hole-in-the wall Italian place called Zia Pina Restaurant. Nothing special there. We came across a Baskins Robbins (no gelato for us!) and then headed back to the hotel to revitalize ourselves for Wednesday’s events!

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