Another day at the beach…


Well this weekend I made it, to the beach that is. It may surprise you that up until now I’ve not actually set a foot on the clear sands of Bondi Beach (I = Simon, it’s a given that Caroline has been to the beach!) It’s not for want of trying either, a couple of weeks ago I did wander down, but the wind was strong, and the sand literally blasted me away. Before that I always seemed to be walking by or sitting next to the beach.
Anyway, sipping a fruit smoothie and lying back reading a book is definitely the way forward. There are a couple of other beaches near Bondi, so we headed down to Tamarama beach, a smaller homely place. Lunch was at a cool little beach café, whilst a wedding took place on the grass. It also had loads of washed up jellyfish like creatures, little blue pockets of air with a long strands coming out the back. Didn’t think much of them, but Dave at IBM later told me they are Bluebottles (also known as Portuguese Man O’war) that can administer an almighty sting (non-deadly if that makes it any better). I’ve now spent the rest of the week scaring myself and Caroline by trawling the internet finding out about all the poisonous and deadly creatures of Australia! Syndey also has the Blue Ringed Octupus on it’s shores, with a venom that inflicts so much pain you don’t need an ambulance siren on your way to hospital, nice!
We rounded off Saturday with a trip to Star City, the casino of choice in Sydney. I guess we’ve had our expectations set high by Vegas, as it didn’t quite cut the mustard, or was it that the $1 put in a fruit machine didn’t pay out…
By Sunday it was time for another beach, Cronulla (pronounced Cru-null-a, although that’s still up for debate…), basically a suburb by the sea 1 hour from Bondi. A relaxed sort of place with families sitting by the sea doing the sandcastle thing and having barbeques. Quite a contrast with Bondi, but I’m glad we’re living near Bondi Beach!

The Blue Mountains


We have just had a glorious, unforgettable weekend in Katoomba, the heart of the Blue Mountains. After a bit of a chilly start (who knew it would be cooler up in the mountains!) and a brisk walk we arrived at Lillianfels, our fancy hotel (owned by the Orient Express company) for the next 2 nights. Our room was magnificent – certainly a far cry from the comparatively squalid flat we have been calling home recently and probably bigger too!
Saturday began with a very scrumptious 5 star breakfast after which we set off to see for ourselves if the famous mountains really are blue. It is certainly an impressive sight, comparable to the Grand Canyon, except more undulating. As for the blue, well the trees are green, and the rocks are red, but to be fair there is a blueish haze above the distant hills (due to the eucalyptus oil evaporating from the trees). Our hotel was right on the doorstep of the 3 sisters – an impressive bit of rock erosion that has resulted in 3 sticky up bits of rock close together. There is an interesting aboriginal dreamtime story to explain, something to do with caterpillars, witch doctors and 3 sisters (surprisingly enough!)
From there we walked along the cliff path to the Katoomba cascades, and down a lot of steps to the Katoomba falls. We then carried on descending further down into the valley until we got to the bottom of the ‘world’s steepest scenic railway’. Boy was it steep (45 degrees), with no safety belts either so you literally have to hold yourself from falling down the carriage! After a cliff top lunch we caught the skyway (cable car with glass bottom) across the valley back to where we started. Back at the hotel, we managed a quick swim in the hotel’s heated outdoor pool before catching the sunset.
In the evening we got dressed up and strolled (pretty quickly as it was freezing!) across to the hotel’s very fancy ‘Darleys’ restaurant. The food was amazing (I had oysters, snapper and chaflotis!) I could get used to this lifestyle!
On Sunday we were certainly feeling the effects of our wining and dining as well as all of the previous day’s walking (achy calf muscles!) so we had a more relaxed day. Beginning with a swim, sauna and steam, followed by another glorious breakfast (eggs Benedictine was delicious). Retracing our steps back across the valley to catch the scenic railway down (the rollercoaster effect makes going down more fun) we had a mini bushwalk, and wandered around the rainforest boardwalk for a bit before getting a different cable car back up (somebody somewhere is making a lot of money from all these different forms of transport!)
All in all it was an amazing weekend and an amazing way to celebrate turning 30. I didn’t want it to end and now I’ve got the Sunday night blues (which admittedly, I have not had for quite a while) at the thought of going back to our flat and getting up for work tomorrow (I’ve got a shift in the toddler room of a day care centre! Wish me luck!)

Getting old ain’t so bad after all…


Hi everyone, first of all I’m sorry that we have lapsed dreadfully in our blog keeping, would love to say it’s because we have been living the high life and partying til all hours but its not! Mostly we have just been working which seems a little too boring to write about. There have been some highlights from the last couple of weeks though so I will try to describe them now without rambling on too much.
Firstly, one of us marked the end of another decade of one’s life by turning the big 3 0! I had sort of prepared myself for quite a low key affair since we were on the other side of the world from all the people we know. I was therefore thrilled and very pleasantly surprised by all the cards, presents and birthday messages that I received. Thank you all so much for thinking of me way down here – I was definitely spoiled. I had to work on the day of my birthday but that was ok, the children I was working made it fun, especially when they presented me with a yummy chocolate cake at the end of the day! Then in the evening their parents, Denise and Brandon, took us both out for a lovely meal in a very posh Italian restaurant in the Leichhart area. It was a lovely evening, which included lots of good food (the nutella pizza being the best bit!), good wine, a very talented opera style singer and a red rose. Altogether, with the possible exception of the pink & green teddy pig, it was a very sophisticated evening. If this is what being old is all about I can definitely handle it! AND the best bit is yet to come, for my birthday present Si is taking me to very posh 5 star hotel in the blue mountains for the weekend – woohoo I can’t wait.
As for the weekend, our day of fun was spent in the Sydney Aquarium, full of all sorts of ugly fish, scary non-man eating sharks, and this odd duck-beaver thing called a platypus ;-). Seems to be we are making a habit of spending Sunday with aquatic animals! (Maybe it’s so when we leave I can say so long, and thanks for all the fish!)
We are settling in quite nicely to the living in Sydney lark, even getting into a sort of routine of meeting up after work (sort of a requirement as there’s only one set of keys! And the flat is so horrible that it is best to spend as little time there as possible!), and eating out a lot too – even getting favourite restaurants (kebab shop actually!). Well, we are on holiday really!

Having a whale of a time!


This weeks day of fun was spent out on the high seas, on the search for the migrating humpback whales. The whales spend most of their time in the Antarctic feeding, but head north in winter to warmer waters to calf, losing a third of their body mass in the process. Fortunately for us, it means we don’t have to go to the Antarctic to see them, so we took a 4 hour jaunt out into the Pacific. We encountered quite a few pods of whales, identified by their blows, tail slaping and tails showing as they dive. A couple of curious whales also came up to the boat for a look (see photo), and then headed off on their long trip south. The females with calf will pass by Sydney in a couple more weeks time, but much closer to shore and visible from some points – that’s a cheap day out for the future!
Caroline has nearly finished her nannying, and is already looking forward to being on holiday again (2 weeks on, 2 weeks off, at least!). It’s also her 30th birthday on Thursday, but alas she’ll be working, I’m sure we can make up for it somehow. As for me, I’m on week 4 of 12, not that I’m counting..
It’s also warming up here, meaning I get to use my convertible trousers to the full – shorts on commute, trousers in office, and no, I don’t care how stupid I look whilst I’ve got half trouser, half shorts on!
P.S. Cat – I know the photo is not as impressive as your whales, but I promise I took it! 😉