Jun 17, 2013
|We got up at 6:15 after a fairly restless night – our room was quite near the train tracks and they rumbled on and off all night. Anyway, up and to breakfast – Alice didn’t want any. Then we headed outside and across the small park to our meeting place for the tour bus. It was just a collection bus that took us to the main terminal by the ferry dock.
Once there we were joined by about 15 other folks and we piled on the bus for our city tour. We went first to “The Rocks” which is a district in Sydney of marinas and expensive houses and the Circular Quay – where the ferries dock – it is actually a semicircular quay but they dropped the semi… Shops and stors and the worlds largest movie screen – an Imax. Alice wants to see “Into Darkness” there – maybe tomorrow night.
Then through Woolloomooloo district – an up and coming part of the city that has been called the sheep and cow toilet (Aussie joke). Then through Kings Cross and to Potts Point where the original convicts were landed. Some wonderful trees there as well as a nice view of the city. We stopped for a while at Mrs. Macquarie’s chair – a set of seats carved out of the sandstone by convicts for the governor’s wife to sit on as she waited for the ships to come to the harbor.
We headed out to South Head and passed some nice parks and plazas – a remarkable dandelion fountain. Then to the harbor entrance (there were whales yesterday…) and watched a RAN ship leave port. Quite rugged and steep sandstone cliffs.
Then to Bondi Beach – the site of the 2000 Olympic Beach Volleyball games. Quite dramatic beach with huge breakers – windy and quite cool – only a couple of surfers but lots of folks – mostly tourists. The birds were quite eager too – we got a snack and Alice fed a bit of hers to the seagulls – they followed us off of the beach! We got back on the bus and drove through the area a bit – expensive places mixed in with older homes from when it was just a summer vacation place. After a quick stop at the Sydney Opera House (no shows this week) we were dropped off at “the Rocks” to do some touristy shopping.
Prices were a lot better here so we picked up some stuff – Alice got another kangaroo skin. I still couldn’t find any crocodile teeth though. Oddly dressed group of school kids touring the area – celebrating the original colonists I guess – straw hats for the boys and bonnets for the girls. They were greeted by a “town crier” who was advertising the shopping plaza. We had lunch too – Alice had a Big Mac at a McDonalds and I had two chicken and mushroom pies at Pie Face – a bakery with sweet and meat pies. Quite good!
We wandered around a bit and Alice wanted to get a cab – but we were only about five minutes from the hotel! We cut up a side street and there we were! We did get a new room – 1502 – with two views of the harbor. Well, you can see water in two places between the tall buildings that make up Sydney. Also a side view of the Sydney Tower.
We messed around in the room for a bit then Alice took a shower and I went out for a stroll. I was going to get the train down to the Circular Quay but there was an underground complex of shops and stores that I kept following and following… until I was at the botanical gardens, which were quite near the Quay – so I just continued my walk. Stopped in a couple shops – nothing really remarkable – just your typical city center with the same looking people as pretty much any city center. I eventually got lost several times and tried to go up the down escalator a couple times (up is on the left…) and when I finally decided it was time to call a cab – I looked and saw the hotel.
Back at the room Alice was reading and we chatted a bit – I had stopped in a store and got her some Australian Raman Noodles for her friends. Tonight the plan is to go out to dinner then come back and get on the internet so I can grade my class stuff and Alice can download a book she wants. Checked again and it’s $5.50 for 30 minutes and $13.00 for an hour. I asked again and the clerk said she had no idea why either.
Anyhow, Alice and I headed off to the underground tunnels looking for food. McDonalds seemed to get the nod again and I joined her with a grilled chicken sandwich and a coke. Splurge. Back to the hotel and to the room – back down and connect to the internet so Alice can download her book and I can download my class responses to read in the room. Once that’s done it’s back down and buy some internet time to grade the rest of the materials, send notes to folks, update the trip journal, then back upstairs to the room and go to bed!
Tomorrow’s plans – Monorail in the AM, Sydney tower (1000 feet up there is an observation deck with a glass floor!! ), then a ferry across the harbor in the afternoon, then a dinner and the Imax. Those are the plans. This is vacation. We shall see.