Sunday, February 3, 2013

sydney- finally!

so in the mid afternoon of Christmas eve we finally arrive in Sydney.... we grab a cab and get to the hotel as quickly as possible.  TB has been waiting for us since yesterday.  We check in and go get lunch (after calling his room and finding him out.)  We have a very nice lunch at an outdoor cafe in The Rocks where our hotel is located.  The hotel has a view of the world famous Opera House and Harbor Bridge (we don't in our room but the hotel really does- photos will follow.)

We walk around the waterfront just a bit as we head back to the hotel- 


(Abbey Road??? LOL)

the view from the hotel roof and pool deck-

It turns out that TB is on the hop on hop off (HOHO) red bus riding around the city somewhere so we arrange to meet for dinner later and go back to the room to nap- remember our cab came at 4 AM this morning for our second day of crap at the Wellington airport. Phil asks the front desk for help with arranging dinner because it is Christmas Eve and choices may be somewhat limited.  They get that arranged and we go to sleep.

We meet TB at the arranged time and walk over to the waterfront to the place we are to have dinner, Peter Doyle.   They seat us at a nice table elevated for a view which was not an issue because there was a GIANT cruise ship berthed in front of the restaurant. We meet our very nice waiter and he informs us that the ship is due to leave very shortly and then everyone will have a beautiful view of the opera house.

we order seafood and have a wonderful meal with two bottle of wine to celebrate the fact that we actually got to Sydney.  The photos probably don't do the meal justice- it was fabulous!

what was left after we attacked the seafood tower! - only empty shells

Pavlova and Sticky Date Pudding for desserts:

the opera house lights up!

As we leave the place after having had three courses each (no we didn't skip dessert) and decide to walk along the waterfront now that the ship has departed.  It is drizzling a bit but we walk somewhat under cover.  We get a few doors down and it really starts to rain so we dash up the steps across from the Ship Terminal and make a bee line for the hotel. 

It rains all night and it rains all Christmas Day as well... big serious rain... and because it is Christmas Day all the museums are closed and the planned activity of the Botanical Garden (not closed on Christmas) is out because we are having Noah type storms.  TB and I meet for breakfast and walk through the Rocks area some more.  After finding our breakfast spot for Christmas Day TB and I have breakfast at a wonderful chocolate shop (three mocha lattes between us along with many pastries) We meet Phil and then decide (with TB's indulgence) to do the HOHO as a way to get a feel for the city despite the downpour- which does ebb and flow.

a few views from the HOHO bus-


Lunch time finds us at Bondi Beach on Christmas Day (allegedly home to overwhelming crowds of people celebrating the holiday) and not a single person on the beach LOL- Phil had been telling everyone who would listen that he was going to do "Christmas on Bondi beach with the Santa in shorts and sandals"- LOL and so he did....

Bondi Beach on Christmas Day

the few tourists who alighted from the HOHO were wandering around seeking something open- HA HA (as opposed to HOHO) fat chance on a rainy holiday. We find a pizza joint and go in out of the weather to a back room where they have a table and start ordering drinks and food and more food- a way to while away the time on an afternoon where there is virtually nothing to do....

the food was EXCELLENT! much better than you would ever have expected being a pizza joint on a beach front avenue.... the calamari and bruschetta were fab and the pizzas (individuals) were of the highest quality and extremely tasty.  We were completely happy campers when we headed back out into the weather which had somewhat abated. 

we got back on the HOHO bus and with the help of my umbrella I took a seat on the top deck after drying off the bench.  I chose the first row behind the windshield so my umbrella wouldn't blow inside out and was away from the jam packed lower level where everyone else (but one Asian guy taking a thousand photos of his wife on the top deck) was seated including Phil and TB who spent the time talking to some other passengers. 

below - looking back from my seat on top of the HOHO bus toward Bondi Beach-

below - Sydney from a viewpoint along the HOHO bus route-

we got off at the train station and waited a bit for the city HOHO (we had been on the Bondi extension for our most recent travel) and when it didn't come we elected to walk around the train station- use the facilities and grab a cab back to The Rocks. 

 so they will know where to locate them???? LOL

We have a long-made dinner reservation at the Intercontinental Hotel Christmas buffet - pricey but well reviewed and at least we didn't have to go through another ordeal that day worrying about the evening meal.  We got dressed up (for the three of us- LOL) and went over and back by cab- close enough to walk in decent weather - which this was not...

The buffet was full bore high end seafood- and some pretty fab desserts.  They had soups and some meat at a carvery station but we went for the cold seafood- and lots of it.  we drank a bubbly and toasted our trip - we have one full day left and a partial before we leave for the airport on the following... so the loss of the day in Wellington really mattered to us...

back late - TB and I have arranged to meet for breakfast (on Boxing Day) so we can revisit the chocolate shop for more pastries and ice cream mocha lattes!