Day 0 – the plane ride. Because of thunderstorms in both Philly and Dallas, we barely made it onto our flight to Sydney and our bags didn’t stand a chance. It was an odd experience to be sitting on the plane while a huge line of thunderstorms rolls by. The lightning show made me giddy. We finally left 2 hours late Tuesday night and arrived in Sydney at 8 am Thursday morning. I got a lot of movie watching done (Joy, Brave and Revenant) and got 90+% of the way through ‘Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick – I was saving that one especially for this trip. J slept. I was jealous. Sitting that long made my knees hurt. No idea why.
Day 1 – So far, we’ve spent the day checking out our neighborhood. We found really great coffee at Workshop Espresso and also a Myer department store to get under-things, courtesy of a $120 gift card from the airline. We’re resting up and then maybe we’ll go find a our local and walk over to the water. Our walk took us to the St. Mary’s church and the New South Wales State Library, which was very cool and old and busy. It’s early fall, so the sun goes down shortly after 6. We stayed awake long enough to eat at a ramen shop. J loved it, I thought it tasted fishy. It was healthy food and helped us sleep and fight the jet-lag crud.
Day 2 – Still no clothes, but we did manage to get the washer to work, just not as lucky with the dryer (it’s an all-in-one with cryptic controls). I had to iron my shirt dry! Finally, off to Coffee and the Royal Botanic Garden after a failed attempt at a free bus tour. The garden is AMAZING. We learned the names of the very cool trees (figs, ficus, and gum trees), saw amazing spiders (in webs resting over our heads) and played with the birds – cockatoos and ibis. The park was completely free, open to all and so beautiful. It also had great views of the Opera House. We took the ferry from Circular Quay over to Darling Harbour near our hotel and walked the board walk a bit. I paid to see the Chinese Garden of Friendship. Our clothes arrived, which meant my sneakers showed up, saving my feet and knees.
Day 3 – I woke up at 4 am and read while J slept. Granted, I fell asleep at 8 pm. We went to a great craft market – The Finders Keepers Market – in the suburb of Eveleigh and housed in the old, converted Eveleigh Locomotive Workshops’. I bought clothes – designed and made by hand by Harper & Edie with fabrics from Japan. Anyway, that was a nice way to spend the morning. We walked around Cockle Bay and had lunch. The waiter told us about Palm Beach and an old restaurant called Doyles on the Beach in Watson Bay (owned 1885) that we should check out. We are also considering a side trip to Melbourne (after talking with the designer and waiter). After lunch, we took a monster walk from the restaurant over to Barangaroo Reserve, just below the Harbour Bridge. It’s completely reclaimed and recreated, with a huge cavernous performance space underneath called the Cutaway. We were just happy to take the lift up to the top and meander down the hill to the water’s edge. After all that, we were beat. Managed to stay up until 9 (which is why I’m up typing this at 5 am). Oh and there were fireworks in Darling Harbour, which we can see from our balcony. Alan unexpected treat! Below is the panoramic view from the reserve. It’s forecast to rain on Sunday, so we may just see a play or movie and take our day of rest.
Day 4 – I woke up at 5 – we are making progress! After the rain stopped around 9, I struck out on my own for The Rocks, coffee and another craft market. The Rocks are the oldest part of Sydney where the convicts were held. The architecture is older. I walked into The Gannon House an art gallery that specialized in Aboriginal art and bought J a boomerang. One of the artists, Thomas Tjapaitjarri, hadn’t met a European until he and his brothers walked out of the desert in 1984 due to a severe drought. How crazy cool is that? J met up with me at the Belgian Beer Cafe where I could get beer I recognize (and enjoy). We wandered over to the Art Museum to see a free movie, Nightmare Alley (1947). More walking, picture taking, and dinner. Back at the studio, I swam. I hot-tubbed. I relaxed and read my book, because this is my vacation, dammit. No clue what we will do today.