Hi.

Welcome to our blog. We are starting to document our Silk Road journey.  We will start with some of the planning and preparation!

Aus7 - Second chance for Sydney to Impress

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Our first visit to Sydney had been fun, but we were rather disappointed (shh) with the weather.  It was either cloudy and windy or we were subjected to a complete torrential downpour.  This was hardly conducive to a good wander around.  We could not complain as so many of the areas adjacent to Sydney had been suffering a long hot summer drought, when it was supposed to rain! (Being down under is very confusing with the weather).

Following our windscreen wiper problem, we were a bit nervous returning to Sydney as this time, we had pricey tickets to go to West Side Story which was a night time outdoor event, and a chance to see the harbour and the Opera House floodlit.

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Plus we had been given tickets for a trip around the harbour on a tall ship.  This was a surprise gift from the boyfriends of our two daughters back home and so we wanted it to be very special.  

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In fact we were very lucky, because in a week when the weather was very mixed, the evening with cousins Barb and Ian was fab for the outdoor West Side Story, which afforded amazing harbour views and fireworks!

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We saw lots of things this time and visited the New South Wales Art Gallery, (twice because Jim left his coat in a cafe).  

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We walked through the amazing Botanical Gardens running along the harbour and we had a hapless lunch in the botanic garden cafe which had an excess of pesky Ibis birds shitting everywhere (not to be repeated) and we saw a poor baby duck being swallowed by an eel in one of the ponds.  The large notice saying the eels had been culled was obviously not effective.  

The Catholic Cathedral was fab but still had a plaque to the recently disgraced Cardinal Pell with his Eminence title right outside the door commemorating that he had unveiled a statue.

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Plus our trip around the harbour, gliding past Sydney Harbour bridge under sail on a tall ship was just wonderful.  

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The other passengers on our trip included two newly wed women from California and two newly wed men from and a heterosexual couple on a honeymoon from Ontario!  This is the world in 2019 for you.  Happily so different from even twenty years ago, even though there is a way to go in many parts of the world where gay equality is certainly not a given. 

The following day we were invited to dine with Bronwen Fitzgerald, Lucy Clark, a journalist, her brother David Clark, a successful designer married to Tim, a psychologist.  The meal was great and what’s more we were delighted to share a kinship with these really interesting cousins.  

This outing meant that we were able to treat Landy to a night time trip across central Sydney.  

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Our Landy has now actually driven across the iconic Sydney Harbour bridge and passed the amazing floodlit Opera House.  It does not get much better than that.

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As if our week in Sydney was not exciting enough, it ended with a day out on Kirstie and Rods’ motor launch along an estuary in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

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 The port had been founded by a Mr Shaw.  It is all just beautiful. 

We then left Sydney to return again to Nowra.   Having failed to drive through the Blue Mountains on account of the windscreen wiper disaster, we decided to try again on our way from Sydney back to Nowra.   We would love to have had time to walk in the Countryside, but failing that we thought we might catch the view of the Three Sisters and take a walk along the tops of the precipitous cliffs.  I have not been to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, but this amazing spot gets pretty close to my minds eye of the Grand Canyon.

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Without a good camera it is hard to convey quite how dramatic it is.  Vast changes in levels and wooded landscapes terrifying distances below.  

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Famous visitors had come here very early on in the British colonisation.   And stones line the route to the Sisters with their earlier observations, when happening upon the drop. 

Charles Darwin in 1836

Charles Darwin in 1836

Walks here involve having a head for heights and sturdy knees, but it was worth the detour.  Echo falls.  It broke up the journey and we had a good walk before making it to Nowra for dinner.  I kid you not, but in March, Cousin Barbara treated us to a very late Christmas dinner with winter napkins, crackers, jokes, turkey and Christmas Pudding and carols. We had intended to arrive in time for Christmas and she had decided that we should not miss out! 

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The following day Barb and Ian’s family took us out on a whale watching boat with the family.

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Whilst the whales were not in season, we saw many racing and jumping dolphins who loved to chase the boats in the bay.   

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Now it is time to leave this family and New South Wales and head off for Victoria.

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There, Melbourne and Adelaide await and we are looking forward to crossing over to the wild holiday island of Tasmania where we have been promised cooler weather and plenty of walking. 

Aus8 - Victoria and Melbourne

Aus6 - Sock thief in Canberra