This covers the Sydney part of our trip.
Saturday, October 27 - We were picked up and taken to the airport for our
flight to Sydney. Once again, our plane left late, but this time it didn't
matter, since we didn't have a connecting flight.
We stayed in the same hotel where I stayed on my first few trips to
Australia, but it has changed hands. It was never elegant, and there is less
information available than there was when I stayed there. Still, the
location is good, because it's right on a main street, where a number of
buses run. It is also within walking distance of the central railroad
After we settled in, we walked around the area to see what was there. Dan
found out he could get free wi-fi at a couple of nearby places, so he went
out to do some communicating. He sent an e-mail on my behalf to Barry. While
he was gone, I called the desk to ask about messages, and was told there
weren't any. We had dinner at our hotel.
Sunday, October 28 - Irene & Dave arrived at the airport at 6:15 a.m. They
were at the hotel a little after 7:00. They were able to check in, but there
was no room ready for them, so they brought their luggage up to our room. We
would have vacated the room so they could rest after their flight, but they
decided to walk around with us instead. We stopped at Starbuck's, a couple
of blocks from the hotel, and got some pastries for breakfast.
Irene & Dave were finally able to check in, and went to their room to rest.
Dan and I took the bus to Circular Quay, and walked around for quite a
while. We looked at possible cruises, but didn't find one we wanted to do.
We sat on a bench for a while, by a large open area. A white-haired man
walked up to a nearby stop, wearing a cardboard sign that said, "Free Hugs".
I watched for quite a while, and he never pestered anybody, but hugged
anyone who came to him - male or female, young or old. Finally I went up and
got my free hug. As he hugged me, he said, "You and I are still young, yeh?"
We watched a street performer on the way to catch the bus back to the hotel.
He was a juggler, who had a fairly spectacular act, once he finally got
around to doing it.
Later we all went walking, and came across an anti-cruelty(to animals) event
in a park-like area. There were all sorts of booths, some with literature,
and many selling things, including food, that contained no animal products.
That evening we walked down to the Darling Harbor area and then had dinner
at a steak place, where three of us had kangaroo steak. After we got back,
Dan went out again to check email, among other things. He found an email
from Barry, saying he had left us a couple messages. I called the hotel desk
again and asked about messages. A rather snarky woman said that a light on
the phone would flash if there were any messages, and then I should press
'2' to get them. There was no flashing light on the phone. I pressed '2' and
found two messages from Barry, as well as a couple that were obviously for a
previous occupant of the room. It was too late to call Barry, so I decided
to do it in the morning.
Monday, October 29 - We went downstairs for the hotel's pricey breakfast.
They had a number of things that weren't bad, but the toast is made by going
through a roller gizmo that turns it black.
After breakfast, we went back to our rooms and I called Barry. He suggested
we take a train to meet him. He told me which train and what stop we needed.
I called Irene & Dave, & they checked on the computer and found the time. I
called Barry & told him what time we'd be coming.
We walked to the station and managed to find our train shortly before it was
ready to leave. Barry picked us up and drove to a mall, where he went into a
Woolworth's supermarket and the rest of us looked around the mall. Then he
drove us to his house, where he and Irene fixed sandwiches for lunch. At
Dave's suggestion, we ate in the back yard, because it was a nice day. We
had a lovely visit, and Barry drove us around and showed us various beaches,
including Manley. He ended by driving us to the dock where we could catch a
ferry back to Circular Quay. He would have come with us, but he couldn't
find a place to park close enough to the dock. We walked quite a way, then
had dinner at The Rocks. After that, we walked some more until we got to a
train station, and took the train back to the central station, then walked
to the hotel.
Tuesday, October 30 - We walked the couple of blocks to the youth hostel for
our 7:25 pickup for our tour of the Blue Mountains and Featherdale Wildlife
Park. We had a clear day, so we could actually see the mountains, and the
view from them. Every time Barry has taken me there it has been foggy, so it
was nice to be able to see.
There were three types of ride you could take on the mountain. We took the
Skyway, which had a floor that turned transparent during the trip. The view
was quite spectacular. We walked around at the top for a while, then took
the Skyway back. After that, we got in line for the funicular, planning to
take the cableway back from where that ride ended. However, the line was
very long, and we'd been standing a lot by that time. I started feeling
light-headed, and decided I'd better sit down. There weren't many places to
sit, but I finally found a couple of granite blocks by the elevators, and
sat on one. After discussing the situation with Dan and Dave, Irene joined
me, and we waited while they took the two rides.
Apparently the funicular takes a steep drop. The described it as being like
a Disneyland ride.
Next the bus took us into a small town where we could get lunch. We had
lunch and walked around for a bit, then boarded the bus again. The
Featherdale Wildlife Park is a great place to see all the native Australian
animals, but the tour doesn't allow enough time to do it justice. We were
able to see wombats, koalas, dingoes, crocs and assorted other critters,
including a lot of birds.
We had the option of taking the bus to the youth hostel, or being dropped
off at the Olympic Park, where we could catch a ferry back to Daring
Harbour. We chose the ferry. We walked a while, looking for a place to eat
that was closer to our hotel. My jaw started to ache, and I didn't think too
much of it. Then my chest started hurting. I had some nitroglycerine pills
in my pocket, so I took one. After a few minutes I took another, and then a
third. Finally, I said I needed a place to sit, so they chose a nearby
restaurant. Once we were seated, I asked Irene if she could read the
directions on the nitro bottle to find out if I could take another one. She
said we should call an ambulance, but I thought I was feeling a little
better, so I suggested we wait a few minutes. Sure enough, the pain went
away, and I was okay. We had a good dinner, then walked back to the hotel.
On the way, we stopped for ice cream.
"Listen for differences. Seek them out. Don't surround yourself only with
those who see the world as you do." - Grant Cornwell