Peter and Elizabeth - RTW 2009-11 travel blog

February 13, 2010

We got a nice early train back to the city today although on reaching the station we found there was a bus replacement service for part of the way due to track repairs. Thankfully the bus ride didn’t take much longer than the train would’ve and it actually dropped us off closer to the hotel than the train station. We also got a chance to actually go across the Harbour Bridge which has saved us from walking over it tomorrow!

In the afternoon we didn’t do very much but took the chance to get our laundry up to date. Once again back at the hostel though the staff were next to useless – there had been a large storm overnight which had flooded some of the rooms and it seems no-one was able to sort out all the bookings correctly. Firstly the receptionist told us we’d have to wait for a room but when I spoke to the manager she got us a room right away. She’d been the only one here was remotely helpful or polite or had any common sense. Secondly, around 10pm a guy from reception came into our room unannounced and told us we were in the wrong room! We were laid in bed watching a film and I told him he needed to get out and speak to the manager who had given us this room. If we weren’t supposed to be in here and this wasn’t our room, how the hell did he think we had the key to get in here? Absolutely ridiculous.

For dinner we ate locally, thanks mainly to more rubbish weather and also because I wanted pizza and the Italian place close to us had been pretty good when we’d eaten there before.

February 14, 2010

Our final day in Sydney and we decided to just have a walk around some of the gardens. It wasn’t raining but the sky was overcast and the air very humid and hot. We headed up through the Botanic Gardens and towards Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair to get some views over the harbour. Walking through the Botanic Gardens I saw a couple of things I’d remembered from 2003. It is really strange what I remember – for example, we entered the gardens through the Woolloomooloo Gate, a sign I had taken a picture of all those years ago because my brother thought the word “Woolloomooloo” was hilarious.

The Botanic Gardens were nice and peaceful but that soon changed as we encountered a load of Asian tourists at Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, each one attempting a more ridiculous pose than the last. It is from here though that you do get the picture postcard view of the Opera House in front of the Harbour Bridge. It isn’t any coincidence that so many people flock here but after a few snaps we headed off back towards the park and around towards the Opera House itself.

We didn’t have a whole lot we wanted to do and it being so hot, we quickly got bored of walking around, too. After a brief stop at the Opera House shop to buy a magnet, we headed towards Hyde Park where we had our first Starbucks since Japan. Well, I say “we” but I really mean I had a nice, unhealthy frappuccino whilst we both had a vegetable slice for brunch/early lunch!

Back at the hostel we just lazed around. I finished the book I was reading (“Kiss the Girls” by James Patterson which was excellent and which I had read cover to cover in just two days!) and Elizabeth watch a film, still grateful to Sheila and Dennis for the 100+ films we copied from them on the dive boat!

Tomorrow we head to New Zealand and we are both really excited about it. We have a few days in Auckland, then a few days in Samoa, before we pick up our hire car and drive from one end of the country to the other.

Australia has been great and every bit as fun as I remember although I think Elizabeth has mixed views, not particularly thinking too highly of sleepy Perth or fly-infested Alice Springs. Thankfully, we saved the best for the end and the time spent in Melbourne with friends was great fun, the diving likewise and even Sydney, which is an amazing and picturesque city, despite the annoying weather!

For dinner we revisited the Thai restaurant we had gone to on our first night to have a special meal to celebrate Valentine’s Day. We started off with some lovely Thai fishcakes and spring rolls before sharing a green curry (not as good as the first time!) and finishing with some tasty desserts, washed down with a nice bottle of wine.

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