Days 1045-1083, 12 Apr-20 May 17, Sydney Australia
Sydney, New South Wales
Sydney - Back and gone again...Well here we are and there we go (tomorrow - off to Queenstown, New Zealand). Our flights from Europe to Sydney involved Helsinki to Hong Kong, Hong Kong to Brisbane for an overnight visit then down to Sydney the next day. Even on points, even in business class... it was a long, long way. We eventually arrived into Sydney on Good Friday morning and it was a stunning, sunny, blue sky Sydney day - and we were running early - so the pilot took us on the scenic tour over the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and Sydney's well-known Bondi Beach. Was actually quite touching! Thankfully it was just a domestic flight down from Brisbane - otherwise Qantas might have played "I still Call Australia Home" which could have caused a little tear in the eye.
We've spent the last five weeks attending to quite possibly the world's biggest 'to do' list (second only to Brexit negotiations we imagine and probably more difficult). Essentially, since it was almost 3 years since I left and two and half for James... a really big 'grease & oil change' - Doctor, Vaccinations, Tests, Dentist, New specs and contact lenses, tax & accountant, sorting through our two storage pods and reducing them to one (yes - that was even more fun than it sounds). We finally joined the 21st century and acquired a couple of pre-loved iPhones (just like iPads only smaller... thank heavens for new multi-focal contact lenses). Given our penchant for dropping our ancient, Nokia dumb-phone on hard surfaces, we also bought a couple of life-proof/Hardie-proof cases. Not keen to try them out though but very reassuring that we can be out in the rain and not blow up the iPhones. Also much lighter than iPads to carry about and navigate in new cities (or for that matter the wonderful, wild country side we often find ourselves in). Worst case scenario... we can even make phone calls on them!
What have we enjoyed about spending a few weeks in Sydney? The location of course - our old stomping ground of Potts Point (not that we stayed in our own apartment - that's leased out which is great). We did go and inspect it for the first time in 10 years and it's super to know we have our own little corner of Sydney to move in to 'one day' when the novelty of housesitting wears off. (Can't see it happening any time soon mind you.) We actually stayed in a great little Air BnB studio apartment just down the road and loved it. Food. Also the food. The national cuisine of Australia is Thai and there are around 10 Thai joints in our immediate neighbourhood. So hard to find cheap and cheerful Thai anywhere else in the world (Thailand excepted) so we gorged on Thai food and ate at our fave spot, ThaiPower, a couple of times a week at least. Friends! We did catch up with as many people as possible - though must say, after 3 years away, it's easy to feel like we'd dropped off the planet. Thankfully we keep in touch with a few great folk and managed to see them during our stay. What had we forgotten about Sydney? How incredibly multi-cultural it is. Over the years people have had things to say about Australia's immigration policies (of course now, they're being imitated by a great many previously critical countries). Walking through the centre of Sydney at lunch time it was mind blowing how multi-cultural Sydney is - especially having spent the last few weeks in the Baltics with no headscarves or brown faces to be seen, at all. Great to be back in the melting pot (and of course the huge variety of food and flavour that diversity brings to a city.)
Well that is us. We're off to NZ for almost six weeks then back to the Gold Coast for two separate month long sits in Runaway Bay and Paradise Point - and don't we just love the place names! Before we know it we'll be heading to Europe again and our flights to Brussels on 27 August are locked in and ready to go - I can't wait to show James around what will be a new city for him (followed shortly thereafter by Paris, Normandy and a ferry to Ireland... before we know it, it will be Christmas).