Sydney

Trip Start Jan 01, 2008
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38
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Trip End Dec 29, 2008


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Where I stayed

Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Friday, May 30, 2008

Leaving Alice Springs we were amazed when the flight left on time! It was amazing to fly for so long over completely uninhabited land to get from Alice Springs to Sydney.  I think it was about 2.5hours before we saw a building!  It was the Dry season and perhaps this was the reason the landscape looked just how I would expect Mars or Jupiter or  the Moon  to be like.

5 nights in Sydney -  we managed to get a great deal on a newly acquired hotel by the Mantra Group.   So for just a few dollars more than a Hostel, we ended up with a fabulous one bedroom apartment at Mantra on Kent, right by Darling Harbour and walking distance from all the sights.

The first impression of Sydney (ignoring the long, expensive taxi drive into town) is that the town is much like a smaller version of London  -  complete with matching road names, and even a Hyde Park in the centre.      Exploring by foot, we headed off on day one to see the top two sights in Sydney  -  The Opera House and the  Harbour Bridge, both seen from Circular Quay, although most usually called Sydney Harbour.  Our first route took us around some historical sights and an area called The Rocks, an affluent,  trendy part of the city which has great views of the harbour and its famous bridge.   

The following day we set off on a different route,  which took us through the Chinatown, Paddys Market and Darling Harbour  (which was just round the corner from Sydney Harbour, and right behind our hotel).    Being a weekend and nice and sunny,  both harboursides were lively with street performers, live music, an inter school stage show competition and lots and lots of boats.   Darling Harbour was our favourite  -  so much going on.    The Aussies are very keen to share their history -  Captain Cook (a statue) and The Endeavour Ship (replica) are both on display at the Harbourside.

Day three and we felt we had seen all the tourist must-dos.  So it was time to track down the Hard Rock Cafe.  After walking for 30 minutes away from the town centre in the rain, we found out that it has been closed down  (Another one!).  All was not lost as we had a lovely Japanese lunch in a very local restaurant instead.  In keeping with the food theme, the infamous Harrys Pies from the Cafe De Wheels had been recommended by son Joe.  Dating back to the 1930s, this greasy spoon outlet originally catered to the late night crowd of taxi drivers and revelers and the roadside hut is still thriving today.   We had a great pie each  -  Steak Pie, topped with Mash, topped with mushy peas and then topped with gravy.  (See the photo if you can't believe it!) and walked back into town though a park area which was heaving with the lunchtime crowds either jogging or having a workout on the grass.   It seems this is the normal lunchtime activity for office workers.

The walk back took us though Hyde Park, passing the central business area of town  (the buildings were strangely familiar to many of those in London).  Clive even found a red telephone box reminding him of London - although it was made out of wood.    London and Sydney seemed all the more entwined when we met with friends from London  (Najette and John) in the lord Nelson, the oldest and most English pub in town. 

This is our last stop in Australia and we are off to New Zealand next.

Being a Qantas flight, we had the now,obligatory 3 hour delay.  At the airport were were given a voucher this time to be used for food.   Unfortunately, the airport was in the middle of some building work, so for breakfast the choice of restaurant was just Wagamama -  a noodle restaurant, and the choice limited to curried noodles as they had run out of breakfast options.  Never mind,   we were joined by the English Rugby Team who in kit seemed rather larger than life (and very happy with the noodle choice as each of them managed to eat several meals apiece!). 
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