Days 80 to 84 – Down Under
When we were booking our flights from S.America to S.E.Asia it became apparent that we were able to spend at least one night in Australia, and the fact we have friends in Sydney and it coincided with the Australia Day public holiday the plans were set for a long weekend down under.
As Europeans we are rather used to the whole “city break” concept, a few days in another city after a short flight. The idea of a city break in Sydney, with 18 hours of flights to get there and 9 hours to get away, feels a little bonkers.
Having spent a month in Australia in 2012, we had already had a good few days in Sydney being ‘tourists’, which meant that this time round we didn’t feel the need to hike round the tourist attractions and instead had a wonderfully relaxing few days (though we will admit to popping to harbour on our first morning – seeing the Opera House and Harbour Bridge prove to your brain you are actually there).
We were staying with our friends Mandy and Lance in the Randwick area of the city, and after 79 days (78 taking account of the IDL) of travelling, it was a genuine pleasure to be able to just enjoy some downtime.
In fact some of the highlights of our time in Australia were the simple things that we have missed about ‘normal life’: sitting on a sofa with a good cup of tea (Yorkshire Gold); chatting with friends; toast with vegemite (Niki only); just watching a bit of TV (including the only England cricket victory of the tour to date); eating a home cooked meal; even doing the washing up felt like a slightly luxurious activity. Weird I know.
This relaxed time gave us a chance to experience a bit more of the ‘Australian way of life’ than last time. You can see why people enjoy living here, blessed with good weather the beach and park lifestyle is extremely popular, and they seem to make the most of it – particularly over the Australia day weekend.
Over the course of our stay we enjoy a proper Aussie BBQ (burger with beetroot and pineapple); swimming in the ocean (or even the very cool sea pools); listening to the Triple J Top 100 Countdown; walking through the park; eating amazing ice-cream; watching 100s of giant inflatable flip-flops in the water at Bondi beach; and celebrating Australia day with a free classical music concert in the park. Amusingly this free concert to mark Australia Day (or ‘Invasion Day’ as some wits call it) is a performance of The Planet Suite by Holst, interspersed with readings from Shakespeare plays, who are both clearly English 😉
All too soon the time is Australia is over and we say our goodbyes to Mandy and Lance and head for our third continent in a week.