I’ve been trying to write something to post every Sunday, and I’ve managed it for the last three weeks I’ve posted Sunday and Sunsets, Sunday – The Tree Line and last week Sunday and The County Antrim coast. WordPress tell me over 400 viewers have read my stories, and those visitors are from all over the world. From the UK, China, the Netherlands and even Kenya, it’s nice to think I might have brought a tiny bit of joy to someone thousands of miles away. Noticing one visitor was from Australia, it made me realise I hadn’t written a planned story about our visit to Sydney last year. I did write a post about Centennial Park which you can read here….
Having not flown for 8 years 😳, I found myself on a 13 hour flight to the other side of the world. We were lucky to be able to stay in the Marriott hotel at Circular Quay. We even ended up with a room overlooking the Sydney Opera House. I should also qualify this by admitting Sydney is building high rise developments everywhere, which meant aside the beautiful Opera house, the rest of the view was of grey hollow buildings and large cranes.
My wife was working part of the time during our stay, so I was free to tour around on my own during the day. I’d done a bit of homework before the trip but I hate regimented holidays, so I didn’t have a plan. I just had vague things I might want to see. On Day one I got up early and, much to my wife surprise, announced I was going to jog around the Opera house and Bay.
From one moment being in rural Scotland to standing with a view of Sydney Harbour bridge, the Opera House and the Botanical gardens in high twenty degrees with lovely sunshine was a bit of a shock to the system. I thought I’d give it a go 😀
After a great spell in 2017 where I’d exercised for 118 days in a row and got myself reasonable slim and fit, I’d still exercised through 2018, but not anywhere near as well. I could jog 3 miles in the cold Scottish air but 28 degrees and liveable but much higher humidity were going to take their toll (I’m setting up my excuses for what was about to happen).
I jogged slowly taking in all the beautiful sites. It wasn’t as busy as it would become later, but there were several walkers and joggers running through the Gardens. Most were oblivious to the hairy legged Scotsman invading their country, but some did smile as they passed. I had to stop eventually as my lace had come loose, but also because I’d arrived at a Naval base. I know it’s probably there for historical reasons and to show the residents of Sydney, that Australia is armed to the teeth, but it does look odd based in that setting. If large destroyers bristling with the latest missile launchers is your thing, then you can fill your boots here. I turned back. As I tied my lace I spotted an old man jogging along. I thought I would catch him up and gauge my fitness levels on the distance between us by the time we reached the park exit gate. I set off after him….. After a couple of minutes I looked up. No, no. no….he was further away. He couldn’t be. He must have been over eighty! I upped my game. However, just like Man Utd under Jose Mourinho, the gap between me and the leader opened up. I was being routed. In the end I started walking to avoid any assocaition between myself and the gate exiting octogenarian. To this day he doesn’t know, despite there being 30 years between us, he kicked my backside. Well done Sir 👏👏👏
Having been humiliated, I decided to ditch the pretend athlete thingy and turn into an overweight tourist. It suited my persona in a much more ‘there’s an overweight tourist’ sort of way.
After a shower I headed off in search of breakfast, nice views and people. Apart from unpacking your suitcase the first thing you should do in NSW is purchase an Opal card. These allow you to tap on and tap off ferries, trains and buses etc without using cash or credit cards. You can top up the card at lots of locations (for which you will need a debit or credit card).
Most days when I was on my own I would head downtown on one of the smart double decker trains to Central. Then make my way to Stockland centre on Pitt St. for brunch. There are so many cafes and restaurants to choose from with all cuisines covered. I was in my Ramen phase. Assuming it’s still there there was a great little cafe where they made fresh Ramen dishes with little pots of fresh chillies or limes to add as you wished. Superb.
Once filled up I would pick a destination and go for it. That generally meant a 10 min train ride to Circular Quay, walking down some stairs and jumping on a ferry. My first destination would be Manly Beach………
I’d quickly been tipped that Manly beach could be busy but Shelley Beach was just 10 mins walk along the beach and it was quieter, so that’s where I headed.
I settled myself down on the beach and spent a warm afternoon with this view, some ice drinks from the local cafe and a good book. As the following photo shows, I distanced myself on the first day from all the tanned Australians, mainly to protect their eyes from the reflection of the sun on my white body 🙂
My main friend for the afternoon was a bush turkey I named Fred……
Late afternoon I’d head back on the ferry to Sydney harbour. It’s a relaxing twenty minute ferry ride with beautiful scenery, busy with boatel, ferries and yachts.
It was now what we call in Scotland ‘hoaching’ with people. A large cruise ship had arrived and a million Asians disembarked to tour Sydney harbour. There is always something going on. Iggy Pop was playing that night at the Opera House and an open theatre was showing West Side Story on the other side of the Botanical Gardens. Buskers and artists kept tourists happy on the quayside. One tip if you want to go to the Opera House outside restaurant. Be there early. It’s extremely popular.
I headed back to the hotel and met up with my wife for dinner. As night fell on the first day of my adventure, I felt lucky, very lucky indeed 🥰
Next time I’ll drone on about poor zoos and lovely restaurants. Oh and probably Raman again 🙂 Until then, stay safe people.
‘Sunday and a trip to Sydney, Australia’ was brought to you by David Linden, aka @qosfc1919 on Twitter ©️ Dodo Productions 2020