Australia: Day 16 – 27.11.18………..A day to remember!
Morning had arrived far too early and before we knew it our alarms were singing for us to get up. It was another 6am wake-up call. We were walking the Sydney Harbour Bridge today and needed to report to the office at 8.50am but we needed to eat before we got there so we left our hotel at 7am thinking we’d eat down at The Rocks area of Sydney which is full of really nice cafes. We found the Bridge Climb Office but could we find a cafe nearby. Of course not, so we walked some way until we came across this little cafe called Kansas City Shuffle which was tucked away in the back streets. Two poached eggs and a coffee should keep us going for our walk which was designated to start at 9.05am. In reality we didn’t actually start the walk until over an hour later, the first hour being taken up with the safety briefing and kitting out of our gear. Everything went like clockwork with precision timing and went like this......
Step 1: taken into a small circular room where we sat down. Given a letter to hang round our neck and then got into alphabetical order. Signed a Health & Safety declaration and given a breath test (I’ll have you know we abstained from all types of alcohol the day before!)
Step 2: taken into another round circular room and told to stand on a yellow spot. Then we rotated round whilst being handed out our ‘onesie suits’.
Step 3: into changing cubicles to put on our very fetching ‘onesie suits’.
Step 4: all belongings placed in lockers including cameras, jewellery, necklaces, hats etc.
Step 5: went through metal detector and stood in order again.
Step 6: taken over to where the harnesses are laid out. Shown how to fit into them, tighten them etc which led to......
Step 7: given sunglasses ropes which were clipped onto sunglasses and clipped to harness
Step 8: given baseball cap (which we keep) which is clipped onto harness and a handkerchief which is clipped on and wrapped round the wrist.
Step 9: stood in line with our backs to the walkie-talkie radio stands whereby Alex then fitted to the back of our harness a radio and set of headphones
Step 10: rainmac attached to back of harness
Step 11: we all had to practice walking up and down ladders on the specially constructed ladder frame
Step 12: final inspection. Maice was wearing the wrong type of shoes so was taken away to be given a more robust, lace-up shoe/pump.
Everything is clipped onto either your harness or your onesie so nothing can fall off the bridge onto the cars below, hence why you can’t take your own cameras. And that’s all there was to it. An hour later the safety briefing/kitting out was complete. And we were off. With our harnesses clipped onto the wire which ran the length and breadth of the bridge to keep us attached we took one step, one giant leap, and we were out onto the bridge.
To say the whole experience was amazing is an understatement. It was truly ‘awesome’! The weather couldn’t have been better, the sky was blue with a few scattered clouds, the temperature was perfect and the views were just incredible. It was such a shame we’re not allowed to take our own cameras, we could have taken hundreds if we had. The Guides take photos of everyone in certain photo ‘hotspots’ along the way. We’d booked a package of ten photos, five each, four individual photos and two of us together and they give you a complimentary twenty second video and a group photo. All other photos are on a USB stick which unfortunately doesn’t fit either of our devices, so even we can’t see them utill we get home!
After our epic walk to the very top of the bridge we walked down the other side and back to base where we de-robed. For some reason my legs had gone all weak and I think I must be suffering altitude sickness as I couldn’t find things. I lost my glasses and hunted high and low for them finally finding them in the toilets. I must have rearranged my bag so many times looking for lipstick, purse, you name it I couldn’t find it. Having chosen our photos and purchased a vest-top each we went in search of a bar.
A stiff drink was required, something resembling a glass of wine would suffice! We seemed to be very indecisive, bumping into each other as we walked, and a bit vague which we put down to the altitude! Stopping off first at Tourist Information to grab some leaflets we headed towards the harbour until we found a bar and ordered two glasses of cold, crisp white wine. Truly deserved we felt.
The weather forecast for the next two days is pretty dire. Torrential rain, thunderstorms and high winds are forecast so we need to decide what indoor activities we can do. We’d still get wet walking between each place but at least we’ve got our Singapore umbrellas with us and our ‘kabooms’ to keep us semi-dry! Having looked at the leaflets and the map we’ve made some decisions and mapped out our itinerary for the next two days.
So that sorted we headed off to the ferry terminal to catch the ferry to Manly or so we thought. I knew we were walking in the wrong direction but Maice said it was ‘this way’ and in fact sounded almost convincing that she knew it was ‘this way’ but of course after a while we were forced to regroup on a bench and consult the map, only to find we were going in the completely opposite direction! I put it down to altitude and the wine! So we stopped walking ‘this way’ and went ‘that way’ the proper way and oh look, we hadn’t been far from the ferry terminal after all! We caught the fast ferry which took about ten minutes and we were there before we knew it. It was on the crossing over that I realised I didn’t have my hat. It wasn’t in my bag and although I looked a few times it didn’t suddenly materialise. So it’s finally happened. I’ve lost something! I was gutted.....all I’ve got now to remind me of my hat is the flower band. At least it had a good life with me, now, what more could a hat wish for!
We’d heard such favourable reports about Manly we were looking forward to it and we were going to have lunch at Ouzeria, the Greek restaurant. Whether it was due to our brains not having settled after our Bridge Climb but neither of us were keen on Manly at all. It wasn’t a bit like what we’d expected, thinking it would be like Port Douglas, quite chic, but it didn’t appear to have any of these characteristics or qualities. Maybe a warm sunny day would throw a different perspective on it as the weather had turned cloudy and it was cool and windy. We found the Greek restaurant which was run by Indians, a very strange combination we thought, but have to say the food was delicious. After lunch we walked along the promenade, through the shopping area, into Aldi’s to purchase our ‘in-fresco’ food for supper and made our way back to the ferry terminal.
Our blistered feet and aching legs finally got us back to our hotel at 5.30pm where we just fell onto our beds totally exhausted. We couldn’t close our eyes else we fell asleep and we could hear our Yoga Challenge calling to us. With heavy legs and aching limbs we rearranged the furniture and within minutes we were oohing and aargghing as we stretched out our aching muscles. Feeling much better after our yoga workout we prepared our supper, opened our bottle of wine, sat on our beds with telly on and watched a documentary about Queen, the group. As you can tell, us girls certainly know how to live it up on holiday!
We eventually went off to sleep, not knowing how bad the weather was going to be tomorrow. We did know one thing for certain, we’re going to get very wet!