Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Shark-hunting bear forgets the hunt and goes all cultural

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Well this is our last “normal” day in our 'Western Island'.  – Tomorrow we fly home – so we are going to what any self respecting Kiwi would do - go and raid the town.  Uh yeah
First-up we tried to buy tickets to the train, a multi-day pass Opal card, which you just pre-load with cash and then you swipe every-time you check in AND out! Great system. Would you believe it the train station sales lady attendant didn't won’t our money - instead sending us to the local news paper stand,   ^.0   who promptly tried to send us back to the station attendant.  Talk about a circle go merry around! Asian lady at the news-stand then tried to haggle with us trying to convince us to SAFE money by buying a single pass.  Sighs. 
Eventually we got a multi day pass.  How hard could that be!!

Made sure we got on to the correct train and eventually got off in town – first stop – Circular Quay, Opera House and Harbour Bridge – very humid and crowded!  There was a cruise liner in the harbour too - somewhat blocking the view - but hey.   There was also something happening at the opera house with a lot of very FINE dressed folks arriving and also - several police officers being present.  Had to hold Mamabears hand tightly - as she is not used to men carrying guns . . . . . 
The Opera House souvenir shop also sold - wait for it - LEGO.  It had three sized models (along with suitable prices) a miniature block set / a large set / and a $500 extra large set - with all of them having the 'custom made' outside roofs - brick by brick . . . . . . .   It was tempting to get this dust gatherer and take a set home and make it once home ^.^

Having had our dose of culture we then back tracked to train station and crossed over to Darling Harbour area where we explored Tumbalong Park.  It has many cafés and other attractions - of which one is a Chinese garden.  
We always liked the new-ish one down in Dunedin / NZ.  This one is older and also bigger.  The pond alone is almost twice the size and had several large Kai-carp.  It is an odd thing - such tranquility set in such a busy 

place.The other noticeable thing is/was the amount of building going on.  There will be a fabulous entertainment / conference/arts centre bordering the south side of the park!!

It always has a "mountain" walk that doubles with a waterfall.  The waterfall providing the 'churning' and oxygenation of the water and of course a very nice back drop! 

The Two dragon murals.  A nice gift and fantastic artwork.

This tiny wee thing was sunbathing - then blushed as he heard the click of the camera and vanished in the blink of an eye!   
I did not know that the Aussies could be so shy  *grins*

Lunch became a nice treat at the 'Guylian Chocolate' café.  We have the treats here but not as a shop/cafe! Sydney has three.  Shame - they so should send one over here.  The Hot Chocolate drink (with coconut) was divine and almost a meal in itself!  We sat on the terrace and enjoyed what there was to enjoy - including seeing all the office people coming out for lunch.  Suits galore!!  Eventually had to give up our seat so we trekked criss cross back towards 'The Mall' and up the Westfield tower.  Fabulous views from the top!  Alas no badge, seems there is only one design for the four million people town! We think we even saw our camping ground across the airport - well the beach anyhow.  
Here we are looking down on St. Mary's Cathedral!  

There is even a maritime museum along with a decommissioned Squid - wait - submarine.  A great place for kids to crawl around and pretend to be Nemo.  

Mamabear by now recovered from the shock of seeing armed 'Men in Blue' and we spotted what we assumed to be Queen Victoria Building, and having heard about that decided to go all royal.  So down the shaft and more foot traffic across town.  

It is an indoor sort of mall place - but with shops that I am sure ask for more $$ then we can ever earn - looked very upmarket and classy!  This bear felt out of his comfort Zone.  The clock tower though was very interesting. It has these movable rings - and Cook's Ship sailing around it and a few other features!! 

Dinner was had at an Italian restaurant on the darling harbour other side. 
The Thunder plus one heavy passing shower help us making up our mind where we wanted to dine (it started to rain just as we walked outside past the cafe - which had the sails-shades)  - so we sat outside under a large umbrella and had a very nice meal while it still was very humid at 24 degrees.  Mamabear not impressed with the rolling thunder (again).

Eventually we had to go back home again to the Caravan so walked back to the train station via the mall etc. 

Looks like the cruise liner had vanished while we were in Darling Harbour . . . . . . .  

Now we are sitting outside the van - in darkness while still feeling the heat and while I finish the other bottle of red we picked up from the Hunter valley (yumm yumm) we are having to listen to a young couple in a 4wheel drive having a small 'domestic'.  You could not miss it, as they were less then 3 meters across from us!  As I still can speak German (more or less perfectly), I more or less had to hear and understand how the 'conversation' went.  Luckily they settled down (or the 'discussion' settled) and everything went quiet.  I was about a heart-beat away from going across and act as UNO peace-keeper. For a while I feared for the young girl and her safety.  This did make me think - 30 years of marriage - how on earth have we survived for so long and then also survived in a camper-van for 12 days? Traveling for a large number of days and away from home and cooped up in such a small place - personal space becomes important and you really have to work at your relationship.  Or as one elderly Lady once in Downtown Abby so eloquently expressed it with:  "Sheer bloody dumb luck"   :)

 Amongst all of that, we are contemplating tomorrows travel home. 
How/ when best to drop the van back and what we had to do, in what order, etc!!

Sighs - Holiday is nearly over.

Ah well - time to finish the last glass and then make the bed - for the last time . . . 

bear print

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