Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sydney, N.S.W. Australia

Date:  22/07/09 to 26/07/09
Accommodation:  The Menzies Hotel, Sydney
Weather:  25 degrees,
Rain:  Cool wind every now and then and a bit of rain
Season:  Winter
Agenda:  See the sights that Sydney has to offer in 3 days

After experiencing the cooler weather of New Zealand it was a welcome change to arrive in Sydney and it was 25 degrees.  Our experience leaving Auckland was not one I care to remember, maybe it was because we were up at 6:30 a.m., we dropped the hired car off and Emily was inside playing with the toys, when I rushed her out to the van which was going to drop us at the airport she left all her new stickers behind.  Then the lady at McDonalds at the airport was so rude to her, I still threatened to report her to someone I knew personally at their head office, which I haven't yet. 

Thank goodness the flight from Auckland to Sydney was only 3.5 hours as the plan was maybe one grade up from an old Dakota (exageratting of course).

We arrived in Sydney and I am not sure what it is about Sydney, the fact that I love it and hate it.  My father lived in Sydney back in the 20's and it has some kind of familiarity about it that I love, but the taxi drive ripped us off from the airport to the hotel, charged us $66, this happened to me once before in Sydney in 1998, so I was really pissed off, but we were so tired that I did not feel like an argument with a foreign taxi driver.

The hotel was brilliant, right in the centre of town, once we had unpacked and settled in we went on the hunt for somewhere to have dinner.

The next morning we started our sightseeing, after breakfast at the hotel we wound our way down to circular quay to take the ferry over to Manly, as I had been to Sydney D was leaving me to be the guide however I was hoping to see things I had not seen before.  So we took the ferry over to Manly, walked down to the beach, had lunch and got the ferry back.  We then walked over to the rocks, and back to the hotel where Emily and D went for a swim while I caught up on some emails.  We were all tired so room service was the order of the day and it worked so well that we ended up having room service every night after that.  Our friend Melina phone and we made a plan to meet up on the Saturday.
The next day was Friday and we decided that as time was limited we would do the hop on hop off bus round Sydney which included a trip to Bondi beach as well.  This is definitly the best thing to do as it gives you an overview of what the city has to offer.  I realised that Sydney had changed quite a bit since the last time I was there, in 1998 they were gearing up for the 2000 olympics and by now the monorail was in place and the whole Darling harbour area had changed. 
As time was limited we did not get off the bus at any stage except of course to change buses and go to Bondi, I had not done this on my previous trip so was really looking forward to it and I was not dissapointed.  After Bondi I really thought I could live here!  We walked along the sea front passed all the shops and then headed down to the beach, when Em saw the sea, the shoes, jacket and everything came off and she sprinted down to the sea, well needless to say by the end of it all we had one little girl who was soaked from Head to toe.  We took her dress off and put her jacket back on and D tried to dry it in the wind on the bus on the way back.
By the time we got to the stop close to our hotel, both Em and I needed the toilet.  There was a place we had been eyeing out round the corner from the hotel, called "Max Brenners Chocolate Bar", I thought they would probably have coffee if not a hot chocolate would go down fine, so we rushed in found the toilet and then met D back in the Chocolate Bar.  Well yes Ma, Willie Wonka is real!!!  The place was packed but we managed to find a table, the menu was CHOCOLATE in any shape form or size.  I wanted Em to have some healthy food, but the strawberries were $1.00 each, then there was a frutti tutti waffel which came with Bananas, Strawberries and ice cream.  I knew that Em would not eat the waffel but at least she could have the health stuff, so I ordered 1 Tutti Frutti Waffel, 2 small bowls of dipping chocolate and 2 cuppaccinos, well talk about chocolate heaven, it was a bit of an overdose - even the cuppacinos needed no sugar for D as they had put chocolate on top.
Saturday we wer up early and after breakfast headed down to the camera shop, D wanted to get a new camera before Lawrence came to pick us up, so needless to say we were there for about an hour while the sales man did his stuff, but at the end of it he walked out with a brand new Nikon D300 for a lot less money than what it would have cost him in Ireland, I was almost the proud owner of a new Cannon digital camera / camcorder, oh why oh why did I say no!!!  No sooner had D taken his purchases back to the hotel and Melina, Lawrence and Alex arrived.  It was so good to see familiar faces that had not changed in over 13 years. 
Melina had pre booked ticket at the Wildlife park at Darling harbour, so we headed there first.As with all the tourist attractions, they took our picture and then we headed inside, first stop was all the spiders and reptiles and then onto cute and cuddley's, after our walk through the park, we were treated to a wonderful lunch at Wagga Mamma and then off to the Lindt Chocolate shop for coffee.  Lawrence then drove us out to a Nature reserve where you can see the view over the bay of the heads, (I did not write down exactly where we went so will have to investigate it) actually you can read it up here:
After that they took us to their beautiful house and Lawrence went out to get dinner.  We sat and chatted over a glass of wine, Em took a liking to Alex and spent time playing computer games with him, and all too soon it was time to head back to the hotel as we were leaving for Perth the next day.  The generosity and kindness that our fellow Premier friends had shown us was so overwhelming.
So back to the hotel for a good nights sleep and then a 5 hour plane trip to Perth.
By the way please excuse any spelling mistakes in this post, but the new blogger won't allow me to do a spell check or for that matter backdate this post!

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