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Saturday, 1 January 2011

Burringham to Boston-My 2003 World Trip-Part 3-Sydney

Lane Cove-Sydney

19th June. Qantas Flight 525 to Sydney was a Boeing 767. Flight of only one hour and uneventful.
          I was met by my niece Jo. Jo is the daughter of Andrew and Anne, my brother and my sister in law. She is married to Mike , a banker with the Commonwealth bank, and they have two young daughters Lucy and Caitlin.
     Caitlin was in the car with Jo and I could tell straight away she was trouble by the cheeky grin she gave me.
           Lane Cove is anything from 20 to 40 minutes out of the city depending on traffic and I had my first view of Sydney Harbour Bridge as we crossed it and just a glimpse of the Opera House.
            Lane Cove is a nice suburb with all its own amenities such as shopping, hotels and restaurants, schools, swimming pools etc, and Jo and Mike have a nice house and garden with palm trees and other exotic plants. The swimming pool should be in by now.
    I hadn't seen Jo and Mike since my dads funeral in 2001,so that evening was spent catching up, and getting to know my two grandnieces. I hadn't seen Lucy since she was a baby and now she was a very talkative schoolgirl.
            Mike works a long day, and with Lucy at school and Caitlin going to playgroup I was going to have a fair bit of time on my own to explore the city.

Jo, Caitlin, Mike and Lucy

            Friday June 20th.Breakfast then I'm keeping Lucy company in her school playground until the bell rings and she's scaring the life out of me the way she's swinging on the climbing frame.
            I start walking with the purpose of getting into the city and I make enquiries with a businessman fuelling up at a garage, who turns out to be very pleasant and offers me a lift part way. His name is Robert and after picking up his wife Jill, a Canadian, we have a good chat and they drop me near Blues Point North Sydney.
       I walk down to Blues point and there in front of me is the amazing spectacle of the Harbour the Bridge and the Opera House.(Throughout my trip I concentrated more on my video camera than still pictures, that was a mistake and next time it'll be the other way round.).The sun is shining and I fill up thinking about Peggy and how she would have loved this view. I do believe she was with me for my entire trip, but quite often I'd feel utter despair that she wasn't physically beside me.

Bridge and Opera House

I talk to a couple of elderly contractors Len and Tom who share some heavy black tea with me, I then start heading for the bridge.
                Seeing the Harbour and Bridge on TV doesn't give you a true picture of the magnitude of it all and after walking round by McMahon Point Wharf, Lavender bay and the Luna fun park I eventually get up to the pedestrian walkway over the bridge .I need some sustenance before going any further and a shop advertising 'The best pies in North Sydney' gets me a bottle of water and a truly delicious steak and kidney pie, which I decided not to share with the pigeons.
              Now I'm heading over this amazing structure and it truly is an awesome and an amazing feat of engineering. I get a great view of the Opera House and the harbour and ships and boats. Then nearing the other side I find what I'm looking for under the bridge, big steel beams bearing the inscription 'Appleby-Frodingham England'. That’s Scunthorpe steelworks and being an ex steelworker I feel a sense of ownership and a 'yehah 'gets me a funny look from a passing gent.

Boat to Manly

             Manly would be Sydney’s Blackpool, very seaside, enjoyable walk round and a paddle in the sea. Nice views of the city from the ferry.
     More exploration of the city then home.
             Tuesday 24th June. A bus trip today on the Bondi Explorer. I could get on and off all day and explored Rose Bay, Watson Bay, Bondi which I found slightly disappointing and Fox studios and Aussie Stadium. Evening time when I got back to the city and walked through the enchanting Hyde Park.
Bondi Beach

                Wednesday 25th June. Mikes birthday, went swimming with Jo and Caitlin, then I went for a tough bushwalk along the river to the impressive St Ignatius college. Raining most of the day, worst weather since leaving the UK. Great Tortillas for tea Jo.
              Thursday 26th June. Walk to Drumoyne and enjoyed the city views.
              Friday 27th June. Heard on the radio that the sea swell and the waves would be exceptionally high and that even the most experienced surfers should stay out of the water. Jo myself Lucy and Caitlin took sandwiches and headed for Bondi.

What an amazing sight the sea was that day.

This was one time the video camera did more justice than the stills. We went on the cliff walks Coogee to Clovelly where we had our sandwiches ,there were quite a few people about and in the water a few speed boats, jet skis and a handful of surfers. To begin with the waves were only big, but as we did the cliff walks at Bronte and Bondi, the waves started to get bigger and walls of water began crashing against the rocks causing a lot of surf. At one point on the cliffs, the spray was coming up to the walkway, which thrilled the kids .The surfers were having trouble getting up on these waves some I estimated at 20ft.As the day wore on lots more spectators took up positions on the cliffs. We were standing next to an American when one of the surfers was successful and it seemed his vocabulary consisted only of two four letter words the first of which was holy. Later that day we heard there had to be six rescues. Totally amazing.

A wavy day

               Saturday 28th June .I went exploring the city again today, had a trip on the monorail, paid a visit to the casino, another look round Darling harbour and Centrepoint. Looked round the magnificent Cathedral and conversed with Kevin and Melly from Leicester and County Tyrone respectively.
              Sunday 29th.Mike and I played golf at Lane Cove golf course, what a great little course and some good shots were hit.
           A visit to Jo's friend Emma, resulted in an invite to stay for dinner, lots of wine and the most beautiful Irish Whiskey. Jo and Emma’s children put on a lovely show for the grown ups, and myself and Emma’s dad Michael talked a lot and arranged golf for Monday. A great night.
           Monday 30th.Michael and I played 18 holes where we managed quite a few pars and the odd birdie between us.
           Tuesday 1st July. Explored Millers Point ,the Observatory, and the docks. Lunched on the corner of Kent and Margaret St.
          Wednesday 2nd July. Swimming with Jo and Caitlin again today. Wish I had a Jacuzzi and Sauna this handy.
       Mike took me down late evening to McMahon’s Point to film the bridge, harbour and city by night. It’s a brilliant sight, still a lot of boats on the move, Luxury yachts ,speed boats and a big paddle steamer. And the trains all lit up going over the bridge, and the city all lit up with big neon signs standing out in the night sky. And the constant buzz of the city.

The city that never sleeps

             Thursday 3rd July. Last day in Australia. Jo Caitlin and me head off to Balmoral and a nice sandy beach to enjoy Fish and chips, look at the boats and enjoy a nice sunny day.
         We pick up Lucy from school then Jo and the girls take me to the airport and it's goodbye Australia, and it's goodbye to my lovely niece and her family.          

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