Updated: Jul 2, 2020
We arrived in Sydney on a hot afternoon at the end of January after a great wee bus journey on a Murrays (shout out to BJ) coach from Canberra. The countryside was dry and brown for the most part although there was the odd patch of green where a paddock had been irrigated or there was a small stand of trees. Alan's sister Maggie, together with Patrick and Ruby, met us at the bus station and we went to their lovely home in inner West Sydney's Summer Hill to cool down and catch up.
Thursday was an early start to do some touristy things in Sydney - Maggie was our excellent tour guide. We began with coffee at her favourite coffee shop #drugstore_summerhill then on to the train at Summer Hill station to go to Milsons Point on the north shore of Sydney harbour.
As we exited the train station we had a picturesque view of rooftops and palm trees.
We then had a leisurely stroll across the bridge. I love the strength of the steel arches and the way they fit together. Did you know that...
the steel can expand on hot days to increase the height of the overall arch of the bridge by 18cm?
The views from the bridge were stunning! We spent a long time looking out toward the iconic Sydney Opera House - mesmerised by its setting on the blue harbour and the way the white sails of the roof shells glistened in the sunshine; and the beautiful moving picture of the occasional boat gliding across the harbour leaving a white trail behind it.
After we pulled ourselves away from the bridge we made for Sydney's oldest historical area The Rocks. Ruby joined us for lunch at The Australian Hotel where Alan had a Kangaroo burger - after seeing the real thing in Canberra I couldn't do it.....
We ambled down the cobbled laneways and up and down a couple of flights of stone steps in The Rocks pondering the history of the area...
The Rocks in Sydney are the site of the first European colony, established in 1788 when convict-bearing ships came from England to set up the colony of New South Wales. The name itself came from the original buildings which were made of sandstone.
In order to have some respite from the afternoon heat we stopped off at another Aussie pub for a drink and to soak up the atmosphere - The Hero of Waterloo, which was completed in 1844 and is one of the earliest remaining hotels in Sydney, and an excellent example of an 1840s city pub. It has been in continuous trade since 1845!
We finished the day walking around Circular Quay where we watched Aboriginal buskers making music using a didgeridoo and clapsticks.
Dinner was at La Disfida Enoteca Pizza in nearby Haberfield where we spent a fabulous evening catching up with old friends Sharon and Jeff over drinks and an Italian meal.