So settling in Bondi proved to be pretty easy, what with the beach being a block away, work being a matter of metres away, and everyone being so lovely around us! It really is a perfect lifestyle and we're very lucky to be experiencing it! We found a nice split level apartment with gorgeous rooftop terrace looking out onto Bondi beach, which has been the base of quite a few gatherings and parties now! We've both invested in some body boards to make the most of the famous waves!
Katy and Ed, our very good friends from uni back at home came out to see us whilst they were doing a similar round the world trip to us. It was so so good to see them, and we quickly remembered how easy it was to live together as we did for 3 years back at uni! While they've been here we've visited the Hunter Valley (the famous wine region in NSW) where we spent 2 nights in a gorgeous little cottage, called 'Merlot Cottage'. We were greeted with a nice bottle of white wine which was harvested from the vineyards surrounding us! We then spent 1 day touring 5 vineyards, trying up to 10 different wines wines in each, as well as cheeses and olive oils, yum! We bought a few bottles to continue the 'sampling' back at the cottage, where we had a big BBQ and just relaxed in the peaceful hums of the wildlife around us. Would truly recommend it to anyone coming to Sydney, and it didn't break the budget either!
We also took Katy and Ed try the food at what seems to be our second home, Hurricanes! They loved the ribs and we devoured a huge seafood platter between us too. It was also Katy's birthday so we got the whole restaurant singing to her over a piece of Marsbar cheesecake!!
James' birthday has rolled around so quickly (this time last year we were in Belize on a random little island and it seems like only yesterday!) Em planned a day of deep sea fishing, and 9 of us (the lucky ones who got the day off work!!) went out 5 miles off the coast to try and catch dinner to BBQ up that evening! Unfortunately, 10 minutes into the very bumpy ride, we were 3 men down, as sea sickness took over! Poor Andrew and Aoife didn't even hold a rod the whole 4 hours, and spent the whole time with their heads over the sides!! So it was down to 7 of us to catch the dinner, and we managed to catch 8 flathead, 1 snapper and 1 yellowtail between us! (Em caught 3 of the flathead and James caught the snapper!) We gave out little awards, and Andrew (our manager at Darling Harbour proudly took home worst fisherman for being 1st to throw up! (he took home a squeaky plastic puffer fish!) Luckily once we were back on land everyone was fine again and we went home to cook up a storm! We had steamed fish with the standard burgars and sausages, followed by the sand castle birthday cake Em had spent 3 attempts and 4 hours making the day before!! It all went down well anyway!
On the saturday we spent the day at Taronga zoo, which was a brilliant experience. Even the journey there was lovely, you have to catch the ferry across the river past the Harbour bridge and Opera house, then onto a cable car which takes you up and over the whole zoo!
We spent our last day with Katy and Ed on the beach, and in the evening we had a proper ozzy bbq of kangaroo steaks! We all loved them, despite having seen their brothers and sisters a few days before at the zoo :(
So we have just said goodbye to our friends, and as we had such a fantastic time with them we're already planning to finish work a week early and head over to New Zealand to see them! (They're off there to settle and work for a few months too) So we may as well make the most of the free accomodation! :)
On saturday 27th we spent the day celebrating james' birthday (again!) as we went on the surfing lessons that Em got him. We were taken up to Palm beach (where Home and Away is filmed) and given a few hours lessons. We both actually stood up, although only James was caught on camera!! We then headed out to a rather fancy dinner which was from James' mum, Gary and Nanny martin for his birthday. We had an 8 course meal with matching wines at the Shangri-la hotel, which we both agreed was the best meal we've ever had! With the service and views of the Harbour, it really was amazing. (So thank you for that!!)
Now its save. save, save as we only have 10 weeks left in Bondi until we head up the East coast!