Sydney~ July 2009
Two plus years ago when we knew we were headed to duty on Guam I said to Pat "I will go happily, but I want to see Japan and Australia while we are out there in the Pacific" He graciously kept his promise and the result is that we had an absolutely fantastic vacation or 'holiday' as they say Down Under.
Flights only leave Guam for Cairns AU twice a week so with our cheap (frequent flyer) tickets in hand off we went. The other side of the coin is that you have no choice on times so we left at 6pm and arrived in AU at 10:30pm, too late to make any connecting flights to Sydney. Off to the hotel we went for some sleep. The next morning we were off to the airport. I saw a funny sign and reached in my purse for the camera~ DAMN. I had taken it out on the plane to take a picture and it seems that it never made it back into my purse. Fortunately Rachel had my old camera so at least we had something.
Arrived in Sydney mid afternoon and made our way to the hotel without problems. We chose to stay at The Russell in the 'Rocks' historic area. This deep harbor area is where the first convicts and other new immigrants were dropped off and where Sydney was born. After some years of hard time it is now a quaint and busy tourist area near the opera house and other interesting stuff. The hotel itself was built in the 1800's and has a lot of charm and quirks too. We were tired and hungry from travels and so found the 'Lowenbrau Keller' and settled in for a few pints and some delicious German food.
As if the scenery and ambiance of AU wasn't' enough the food, beer and wine were out of this world. I guess after living on Guam for 2 years where everything is imported and sometimes a bit on the 'less than fresh' side I was overwhelmed by the freshness of EVERYTHING. Back to the hotel for some sleep....
Tuesday Pat and JP opted to make the 3.5 hours Sydney Harbor Bridge climb. It was a perfect day and so off they went. Rachel and I did some sightseeing on our own including some museums and one of the bridges pylons. When we made the trek to the top coincidentally we saw the boys beginning their ascent. Pretty cool! We met for lunch about 1 and then did the family tour as we explored the famous Opera House and Royal Botanical Gardens. Beautiful. Stopped by the grocery store to stock up on some provisions for an early breakfast and for Rachel then on to another delicious dinner at a pub like place and early to bed since we had 2 big tours coming up.
Wednesday we rose early, ate breakfast in our room and were at the pick up stop at 7:15. Today was a tour about 2 hours outside Sydney to the Hunter Valley and the surrounding wine country. The countryside was so pretty, even in winter and the wine tour was fun. We met people from the UK, Canada and even some other Australians, we were the only Americans and the only people with kids so we were a bit of a novelty. Pat will never let me live down the fact that I somehow managed to lock the door on the buses bathroom, how that happened I don't know~ we hadn't even had any wine yet! We had fun tasted a lot of nice wines, learned something about production, had a great lunch and even watched "Australia" on the ride home that night. Whew
Thursday, another tour , this time out to the Blue Mountains. You'll have to read the next post to learn the rest.