14 August 2009

Hello, Sydney!!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Once united with Shelley, we made our way to the car and were off to her home in Kensington, which is not far from the airport.  I was able to hop in the shower and get out of the clothes I'd had on for what seemed like days but was probably less than 24 hours.  Apparently the flight from LAX to Sydney was 14.5 hours, but since we crossed the International Date Line, I sort of missed Tuesday!  Anyway, I was rested and ready to go, so Shelley had a bite of breakfast and then I taught her how to make iced tea.  After that fortification, we were off to explore the Sydney beaches.

We drove through Coogee and parked the car, and I got my first view of the Pacific hitting the Australian shoreline.  We began walking down a paved pathway that connects the beaches on this side of town.  The weather was GLORIOUS and the colors of the ocean were even prettier!

We climbed over a fence to wander through this seaside cemetery - Shelley told me that Sydney had been developed very haphazardly, and that the land this cemetery was probably just some farmland that had been set aside.  I thought it was too bad that the inhabitants here couldn't enjoy the view!  But a little Kestril really did have a bird's eye view!

We continued on down the coast and each turn of the shoreline brought more and more beautiful colors and huge crashing waves!  We passed Clovelly Bronte, Tamarama, and Gaerloch Beaches, and we even got to see a number of surfers.

The walking trail we were following had more and more spectacular scenery around each turn.  I was fascinated by the cliffside "home" of a man who once was homeless and now has perhaps the best view in Sydney.

Soon we were at world-famous Bondi Beach!!  We ate a delicious lunch at Bondi Icebergs (where there is an ocean pool for people who like to swim in salt water even when it's freezing cold outside, but they also have a lovely club and restaurant) and just enjoyed being in the sun and outdoors.  I have determined that winter in Sydney is much more like winter in Florida than it is winter in Carolina! Perhaps the palm trees should have been my first clue...

Bondi is a lovely beach, with a huge pavilion and the famous Bondi Beach Lifesaving Station.  Even in the middle of winter (think February) there were people on the beach and lots of surfers in the water.

From Bondi Beach, we wandered the streets of the neighborhood and I exchanged some money, then we hailed a cab to take us back to our car.  We rode over to Watson's Bay, where we were treated to awesome views of downtown Sydney, the Opera House, and the Sydney Harbor Bridge.  We drove down the most expensive street in Sydney (think FANTASTIC views!) and found a little reserve where we took some photos.  Too bad we had to go down about 80 stairs to get down there...

We stopped in at a little pub near the ferry dock and had a lemonade and a hot chocolate and watched the sailboats and seagulls, then we drove a little farther up the hill towards the naval base, where we saw lorikeets and other beautiful birds in the flame trees.   After that, we hiked up to see a good view of The Gap, which is infamous for the number of suicides that have taken place here.

By this time, it was getting to be late afternoon and the sun was on its way down, so we went back to Shelley's for a quick rest and a chance to change for dinner.  What a wonderful way to start my Down Under Adventure!

Stay tuned - dinner is a whole 'nother story, but here is a sampling of photos from the whole day and night!

Feeling 'beachy keen'!


Jan McCallum, Creative Memories Leader
Digital Trainer
919-493-5211 or 919-906-1974 (cell)

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