The moment we stepped out of the hotel this morning, we just knew what sort of a day it was going to be…..a very hot one! Most certainly, I would never normally complain but we needed to do a good bit of walking, Carolyn was in some discomfort with the results of yesterday’s sun and Ann was all geared up to go and climb the Bridge. Carolyn and I played our part in Ann’s heroic walk by accompanying her to the starting point and then legging it back to the Quay to wait 3.5 hours for her return. (I will let Ann provide the details of her climb). But how good were we?
Time was not wasted and we busied ourselves with checking ferry times and prices for an afternoon trip to Manly (as well as drinking several cold beverages). We purchased Opal cards (the equivalent of the London Oyster cards) and, by the time Ann came back, we were ready to hop aboard the ferry. Riding the ferries is one of my favourite things to do in Sydney, and Manly was always, for me, a better place to watch the surf than it’s more famous cousin, Bondi.
Our luck was in and the surf was up. Surfers and kayakers braved the rolling waves (not always with success) and families and young people, along with those not quite so young, enjoyed the magnificent spectacle. Of course, the ocean cannot be tamed and seeing the spills was just as exciting as seeing a roller bring a surfer in to shore. But Ann and I could resist no more, so off with the shoes and in for a paddle. Big waves can catch out paddlers too and I was soon a bit wetter than intended!!
The evening ferry ride back was glorious. The late sun created a hazy skyscraper backdrop, the harbour sparkled, the bridge dominated the seascape and the sails of the Opera House positively gleamed. What a fabulous trip.
Tomorrow we are going on a ‘bear’ hunt…only koalas!!!
Carolyn’s Curios & Musical Notes
Banjo Paterson’s lyrics for Waltzing Matilda have been my earworm of the day. Regrettably, it seems, they came out of my mouth a few times resulting in looks of consternation and verbal rebukes from Kath. Fortunately, Ann was Bridge walking during this period or it would have been even worse for me.
I recognise that (a) I’m not always the most sensible carer of myself; (b) excess UV rays from a bright summer sun, say in Australia, is likely, very quickly, to burn! Hmm! One day, perhaps, I will have more understanding and consideration for my body. So, today, I wore a long sleeved top which helped… a little!
Elsewhere you will read of Ann’s Bridge walking exploits but Kath and I were not totally idle and our activities included discussing (one-sidedly) food and manners with an Australian White Ibis which is one of several round the harbour at Circular Quay (which isn’t circular!)
After visiting Bondi at the weekend, Manly Beach seemed even better. The waves were higher but the shopping, guru Guide, Kath, assured us, had moved downmarket. It didn’t spoil the day in any way and the ferry ride using our new Opal Cards gave some great views and fresh air.
We saw the signs, heard the megaphone warning but no music and no sighting of… SHARK!
There were, though, two suspicious looking, non-Manly paddlers,
Our hotel, named ‘Amora’, ensured that my journey back up in the lift tonight was accompanied, Dean Martin style, by a rendition of Amore. Rebuked, once more, I was – albeit, justly deserved.
#justathought Manly, like so many towns, has lots of shops where the type of shop is preceded in the title by the town. So, Manly Beach, Manly Burgers and Kebabs etc. But, what of Manly Fashion for a women’s clothes shop?!
Ann’s Bridge too far? No, just far enough!
Would you like to do the Bridge Climb whilst we’re in Sydney, asked Carolyn? After some prevarication about the challenge and the cost, I decided that this was a one-off opportunity and not to be missed. Therefore, at the appointed hour I presented myself at Bridge Climb Sydney to be given necessary instructions, breathalysed and kitted out in the most amazing selection of gear, all of which is attached to the well designed suit by clips, everything from a handkerchief to your headphones! The most important attachment is the slider which keeps climber attached to the actual bridge at all times. After practising the climb on a short flight of steps, our guide takes us out into the open for the experience of the holiday.
The climbing doesn’t prove very difficult and, despite the hot sun, there’s quite a breeze at the top of the bridge. What is so awesome are the views of Sydney laid out beneath you. The Opera House is a stand out landmark but our guide points out many others, including the Anzac Bridge, the new cruise terminal, and Fort Denison or Pinchgut Island – so named because when the prisons were full, convicts were sent to the island and given no food or water …with inevitable results. (Not always proud to be British!) The Governor General’s residence isn’t too shabby either! We are given lots of interesting facts and figures about the construction of the bridge – most of the steel came from Middlesbrough (Proud to be British!) and the huge rivets were actually made up on the Bridge which is 134 m (440 ft) from top to water level.
The other really awesome thing about the day is not just the bridge and the view but the fact that it’s another challenge to tick off!
(Editor’s Note: One of Ann’s musical favourites, Bruce Springsteen, has climbed the bridge as has Paul McCartney a week or so ago. Many others including… an escaped kangaroo last week!!!)