The BEST of Australia:
Eric, Graham, Leanne, Michael, Brian, Lynne, the woman at the Maui Campervan return who didn’t charge us extra, Graham’s Mum Elizabeth, Miss Pastie DeKline, Guy, Mark, Robert, and the generous citizens of Sydney. (Oh, did we mention Eric and Graham???)
Art Gallery: The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Beaches: Bondi; Coolum, Back Beach, Southwest Rocks.
Beer: Draught Schooners of VB or Carlton
Bookstore: The Bookshop Darlinghurst
Bars: Manacle, The Columbian Hotel
Department Stores: David Jones, Sydney; Gowings, Sydney
Disco: Midnight Shift (Video Bar)
Dive Instructors: Leanne; Chris
Market: Central Market, Adelaide
National Park: Kangaroo Island
Pool: Cook + Phillip Wave Pool, Sydney
Restaurants: Adelaide: Lime + Lemon; Melbourne: Red Orange, Gluttony: It’s a Sin; Sydney: Yipiyiyo; Trinity Beach/Cairns: Trattoria L’Unico
Suburbs: Waterloo, Surry Hills, Mossman
Wine: All of them!
Wine Tour: Yarra Valley with Victoria Winery Tours in Melbourne
Books we read in Australia: Wicked, The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, by Gregory Maguire; The Turn of the Screw and Other Stories, by Henry James; The New Yorker and the World It Made, by Ben Yagoda.
I find it difficult to believe that we are no longer in Sydney and Australia. It feels like we are just out for the day and will be back at Francis Street this evening or meeting Eric or Graham for dinner or drinks. Or finishing off our Sydney must see list before we go. But we have left and are jetting off to Singapore for phase three of our trip.
Bye Bye Oz: Hello Singapore!
Singapore Airlines gets the “best airline so far” award hands down. I mention to John that it doesn’t feel like we are in an airplane at all. Incredible service, beautiful staff and wonderful diversions to keep you busy. The eight hour fly just “flew” by. We arrive to low, threatening thunder clouds in Singapore and 36 degree temperatures. Yes, we are in the tropics again. Singapore is well manicured, lush and very cosmopolitan. We are preparing ourselves for the weather forecast of rain and thunderstorms for the four days that we are here. Our cab (clean!) drops us at the Peninsula- Excelsior Hotel and our room is a retro 70’s tribute to a by-gone era of splendour and luxury. We are only here for four days after all and it is air conditioned. We head out to do some exploring and shopping. We buy two Polarized lens filters for our camera we had been eyeing in Sydney. With the exchange rate, they are less than 1/4 of what they were in AU. We find a Szechwan restaurant inhabited by the locals and have a wonderful, spicy meal and a pitcher of Tiger draft for less than $40 CDN. We are going to love SE Asia!!
One final note on Sydney: We cannot thank Eric and Graham enough for unselfishly looking after us so well in Sydney. They never expected anything in return and their generosity and friendship will always be one of the incredible things that we will remember about our time in Sydney.
N 01 E 103 The BEST of Australia: Eric, Graham, Leanne, Michael, Brian, Lynne, the woman at the Maui Campervan return who didn’t charge us extra, Graham’s Mum Elizabeth, Miss Pastie DeKline, Guy, Mark, Robert, and the generous citizens of Sydney. (Oh, did we...
Head to the North Beaches while you’re in Sydney for Mardi Gras!
North Head and Manly in Sydney, Australia
Graham has offered to take us up to the Northern Beaches today – an area that is very difficult to get to by public transit. We go under the harbour and head east, covering some of the area we have already walked to – Creemorne and Mossman. We drive past the Zoo, with its commanding position on the Harbour, past Obelisk Beach and across the Spit to Manly. We drive through to the North Head, which from this side we can see is much higher than the South Head, where we went last week.
Manly is, of course, home of one of Australia’s most famous beaches. There are actually 2 beaches, one on the harbour side and, just a short distance away, the more famous beach on the Tasman. We pick up takeaway fish and chips for lunch, and sit on the beach wall watching the swimmers, the lifeguards and the tourists.
From Manly we continue on north, ending up in Palm Beach and Barrenjoey Head. I admit to having a good nap on the drive. Palm Beach was once a summer resort for the very affluent. It is now a far northern suburb for the very affluent.
Driving home we stop and meet Graham’s mother, who lives north of the city. At 79, she is still very lively, and a charming hostess. She offers us a cold drink 3 times, we decline 3 times, and she brings us our drinks. We note to Graham afterwards that she won’t take no for an answer, and he says she’s hard of hearing.
We get home in time for much-needed naps before the social whirl starts again. Lynne drops by on her way home from a job interview for a glass of champers. Then out at 7:30 to meet Graham, Jens, Jeroen, Simon and Christina at the Colombian for a quick drink before dinner. Jens and Jeroen are visiting from Amsterdam for Mardi Gras, Simon and Jens went to uni together back in the UK before Simon, originally from Wales, moved to Australia 4 years ago. Christina is a good friend of Graham’s who has flown in from Melbourne just to come out for dinner with Jens and Jeroen, who have visited Australia before and chummed around with Graham and Christina on their previous visit.
We move to the restaurant, and start with champagne – the real thing tonight, Veuve Cliquot – as Jens and Jeroen hand envelopes to Christina and Graham (Simon had already been given his). Inside are invitations to their wedding, next June in Amsterdam. Everyone cheers and cheers some more, and over a discussion of the wedding plans, dinner commences.
We are dining at RQ (unfortunately now closed), another Thai restaurant, but of a very different quality than most. The menu is fixed, the quality superb, and the multitude of dishes with little tastings becomes very complicated, as we try to figure out what we’ve tasted and what we haven’t. Then the food stops coming, they clear, and we think it’s over; but they reset the table and start bringing out the mains. Absolutely delicious.
The gang head out for after-dinner drinks, but we are both beyond exhaustion and it is already close to midnight, so we head home to drop, marveling at Graham’s stamina.
Head to the North Beaches while you’re in Sydney for Mardi Gras! North Head and Manly in Sydney, Australia Graham has offered to take us up to the Northern Beaches today – an area that is very difficult to get to by public transit. We go under...