Sunday, August 16, 2009

Three Days in Sydney

Our journey to Sydney started at 4 AM in Papara, Tahiti. We thought
we'd have the road to ourselves starting that early, but it turns out
that is actually rush hour and it took us forever to drive to the
airport. We stood in line for around 45 minutes before we were told we
were actually in the wrong line for international flight checkin. By
that time, our flight was boarding but, being French Polynesia, it was
not a problem and we made it through security and to the gate just in
time to hop aboard.

The flight to Auckland was uneventful -- my favorite kind of flight.
A quick layover in the Quantas lounge and we hopped another plane to
Sydney. Total flight time was around 9 hours, but the trip seemed a
lot longer as we started at 4 AM local time in Tahiti on the 13th and
got to the hotel around 3 PM local time in Sydney on the 14th. I was
so tired that adjusting to the new time zone was not really a problem.

We're staying at the Sheraton in Sydney in the middle of the Central
Business District and it turns out to be a great location for being a
tourist. We're within a couple of blocks of two main train stations
and within walking distance to several parks, interesting
neighborhoods, and the Opera House. Would definitely recommend the
Sheraton for a nice stay in the city.

Our first full day we ran up to Chatswood to pick up a new pair of
hiking shoes for Tim and then wandered around the neighborhood near
the hotel. In the evening we took in an Aussie Rules Football game at
ANZ stadium. The Geelong Cats beat the Sydney Swans 92 to 87 which
was a much closer game than we were expecting given the team's
standings It was strange, but really fun.

Day 2 was an unseasonable 25C day ( especially considering it is still
winter here ) so we took the ferry up to Manly Beach and did some
shopping along the corso. Back in Sydney, we walked from the Opera
House back to our hotel via the Botanical Gardens, Art Gallery of New
South Wales, St Mary's Cathedral, and Hyde Park. We relaxed a bit
with our books in Hyde Park before heading upstairs for canapes and
wine in the executive lounge.

Tomorrow we get to run some errands in the morning before picking up
the caravan and heading to the Blue Mountains. We're going to spend
about a week looping through the mountains just West of Sydney before
heading back in to catch a Rugby Union game next Saturday. It's the
New Zealand All Blacks vs the Australia Wallabies so we're going to
splurge and get tickets. My rugby coach in high school was a former
All Black so I'm looking forward to the game.

After that we head North along the coast making it up as we go.

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