Australia: Day 15 – 26.11.18…………Greetings on this special day!
We regrouped under a lamppost in order to wish our friend Steve a Happy Birthday in true Aussie style so Steve, we’ve posted a ‘card’ we made earlier!
So, what have we done today, on this, our first real day in Sydney? Other than acquiring two blisters, I’ve got one in between my right thumb and finger and Maice has managed to acquire another blister underneath her old blister which I have to say isn’t very pleasant and is causing her quite a bit of pain, we’ve had such a busy day we feel like we’ve been here for at least three days.
We were up at 6am and out at 7am making our way to Lavender Crescent, which is somewhere on the other side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge for our ‘Sydney by Kayak’ paddle. The receptionist had printed out which underground trains to get and then we’d have to walk at the other end although we didn’t really have a clue where we were going. Well believe it or not we got there without getting lost at all, we seem to be getting much better now at finding our way around and not getting lost. It was a bit fresh this morning so we were thankful we’d brought our cardies with us but once at the kayak station it started to get really warm. We met Ben, our guide who advised us that it was just me, Maice and this other guy Ricardo, who’s not Italian but Russian who would be paddling so it’s a nice small group which was great for us. Whilst waiting for Ricardo to arrive we sat in the sun watching this guy do his yoga outdoors. He was obviously a personal trainer as a guy soon turned up for a session and we watched as he was put through his paces. An ‘outdoor office’ how lovely, and cheap. When Ricardo turned up we had our safety briefing sitting in our kayaks after which we were pushed into the water and the four of us paddled off into the harbour. Well, within five minutes of paddling a blister started to form on my hand which was a real nuisance as it was difficult to hold the oar, but I paddled on through the pain trying to catch up with the others. It was starting to get quite choppy and we had to paddle really fast in some places to dodge the ferries (apparently ferries have right of way in the harbour so if you’re in the way.......!) which I found quite had work, paddling like fury, whereas Maice was just gracefully gliding along, keeping up with Ben. My poor arms were aching, my legs were aching and we’d only paddled ten minutes, just another hour and a half to go! We carried on zig-zagging our way across the harbour playing dodge with the ferry boats, until we were soon paddling under the bridge. It’s rather big you know, but what a sight, sitting on the water looking up at the bridge with the Sydney Opera House just opposite. I can honestly say it was well worth the blister and aching shoulders just for the experience. After an hour it had turned really cloudy and was getting really choppy so we eventually turned round and paddled back. Wow, what a great adventure it was.
We were quite hungry by now so Ben suggested going to Thelma and Louise, a cafe just along this side of the harbour which apparently does great food, so after giving us verbal directions and then having to show us on google maps after he saw our blank faces, we set off, trying to memorise the street names he’d given us. Imagine our surprise when after twenty minutes we found it. There it was, T&L’s overlooking the harbour. I must say we had a super breakfast and the outlook was so lovely, what a super day this was turning out to be.
Stuffed, we decided to walk back to the hotel and dump our bags, regroup, and then go and do something else. We walked across the bridge and came across the Bridge Climb Office. We’re doing this tomorrow so we needed to know where to report to. It took us over an hour to get back to the hotel, walking up through the main shopping street without hesitation or deviation or being sidetracked by any of the shops.
Coming from the little hamlet of Port Douglas we were overcome by the throngs of people everywhere, something we need to get used to. We were minutes away from the hotel when I realised I’d left my bag on the wall at the park, which had my wet hat in it (it had blown off whilst paddling and had to be rescued by Ben). Having retrieved said bag which was still in the place I’d left it we arrived back at the hotel, exhausted and needed an hours rest to settle our aching limbs and soothe our blisters!
We ended up ‘resting’ for longer than an hour as we were sorting out photos and deliberating what and where to go next. We decided to walk (I know we’re suckers for punishment) back down to the harbour to the Opera House to book tickets for the tour but firstly we stopped off at the State Library so that Maice could ‘plant’ her message in an envelope in a library book. Apparently it’s on her ‘bucket list’. So in she went whilst I milled around in the foyer, trying not to look conspicuous on the cctv security cameras. She was literally gone for ages. She tells me she had to choose the right book to put it in. What a surprise someone will get when they open it and her message is revealed. After this ‘secret assignment’ we stopped off at the 5* Intercontinental Sydney and booked the ‘Pink Me Gin High Tea’ on Wednesday. Weather forecasters predict wet and stormy weather for Wednesday and Thursday as we need things to do indoors and this ‘high tea’ sounds right up our street! We eventually found the hotel, booked it and wandered down to the Opera House. Well, we wandered round and round trying to find the desk to book the tour and could we find it, no! After about our third walk round we were back at the front steps where we found the full orchestra, who were performing in the concert hall later that evening, out on the front steps having a photo shoot and looking quite resplendent in their evening attire. What a great photo opportunity that was.
We eventually found the booking office which of course was closed and decided to wait for the sunset to take some evening photos except it was taking far too long to get dark. In Port Douglas it was dark by 6.30pm but here in Sydney it was seven thirty and it was still way off. We waited a while, took some photos with my camera and called it a day.
We were tired and weary. We’d done a lot of walking today so we made our way back through Hyde Park to our hotel. Of course we still had our yoga challenge to do so we set about rearranging the furniture so we could at least be semi-comfortable. It was a tight squeeze, with me being wedged in between the beds and Maice was in the small bit of hallway. We managed it though and felt so much better having done our ‘downward facing dog’ stretches. We regrouped to sort out the next few days itinerary and sort out wake-up times for tomorrow. Omg, another six o’clock alarm!
We managed to stay awake until 11 pm and then admitted defeat. Sleep won this time.