Saturday, 15th March, 2008
Today is our last in Sydney. We're going to get the red open-topped bus and see the sights, and then see what happens. It's looking very hot again, so carrying water round all the time, and always wearing hats.
We went to the opera last night. The opera itself - La Boheme - was a disappointment in that the story line was rubbish and it was done in modern dress, which to my mind didn't work. But the actual experience - seeing the opera house, especially at that time in the evening, and the inside of the building - was just amazing. There are so many open terraces and walkways. Because I'm hobbling with sciatica, we were taken in through the stage door and up in a lift, so that was interesting, seeing backstage. And then, at the end, everyone streaming out into the middle of Sydney, with the ferries still plying to and fro and the bars absolutely crowded with Friday night revellers. Fantastic - and a memory to take home with us.
Yesterday, we went up into Darlinghurst to find Bill's. Hands up those who know who Bill is? Bill Grainger - who has had a couple of series of cooking programmes on BBC tv and who cooks lovely easy sunny food. We took a taxi there as it was quite difficult to find, and had a lovely breakfast. He is famous for ricotta hot cakes with honey butter and maple syrup - yummy! And, while we were there, he came in. He looks quite a lot older and has shaved all his lovely blond hair off, but still - and he smiled at us! There's fame! After that, we walked down to King's Cross and bought an all day travel ticket (which covers trains, buses and ferries) and went down into the city. We then caught a ferry out to Parramatta, a lovely ride out up the river westwards, stopping at all sorts of little communities etc., and got off at the Olympic Stadium. There was a bus waiting for the ferry, which was just as well because, in that heat, I couldn't have walked anywhere. We went into the visitor centre there but unfortunately couldn't do a tour as we had to get back down into the city to go to the opera later. But the Olympic site was so interesting, and it's lovely to see that it's still being used for what it was built for. And it's huge. It was a green field site before 2000, and has been beautifully and ecologically transformed. Even a complete underground railway station. There was a rugby match on there last night, so it was busy. We went into the Novotel there and asked to go up to their 17th floor to see the view. We couldn't see the Olympic stadium itself, but we could see right over the city and some of the other stadia. Well worth the visit.
So, today beckons. Richard is getting impatient as I type - I can feel his eyes boring into my back!
Happy birthday for tomorrow, Lucy. I don't know if I'll be blogging as we have to be out at the airport by 10.00, but I may be able to blog from Fiji. Hope everyone is well there now.
Bye from Oz
Christine and Richard