|Sat., Oct. 19th
After our breakfast, we met Yvonne for a briefing about our travel arrangements to Sydney. Then we boarded the coach and left for the airport. Bye, Cairns!
We flew Qantas to Sydney with a nice hot meal for lunch (beef and noodles or fish and rice) and even a mango creamsicle for dessert. I enjoyed tea the Aussie/British way for the first time. The flight was 3 hours long, but we lost another hour! It’s impossible for us to keep time anymore. And before I knew it, we were making our descent into Sydney.
There was a definite haze over the outlying areas, and later that evening, we noticed a smoky odor in the air. Over 140 homes have been lost in the raging wildfires, which are predicted to burn for several more weeks. Perhaps you already know this. So far, Yvonne hopes it will not affected our plans.
We are now visiting our third Australian state (Victoria, Queensland, and now we're in New South Wales) out of the six (the others are Western Australia, Southern Australia and Tasmania, but we’ll have to make another trip Down Under to visit them). And we have been in one of the two territories (Northern Territories, but not ACT – Australian Capital Territory or Canberra). Every morning, Yvonne quizzes us on Australian facts.
The coach drove us down to Sydney Harbor where we had dinner right on the waterfront boardwalk, at Nick’s bar & grill. The dinner was a group meal, courtesy of Grand Circle. One interesting thing I’ve noticed about fine dining here is the meal begins with an "entrée" which is actually a salad. Tonight’s was a Caesar salad. Then the main course: a nice light deep-sea cod sautéed in lemony sauce or chicken and mash (potatoes), with one glass of wine included (but buy more, if you wish). We had a light chocolate mousse cake with chocolate sauce for dessert, coffee or tea. Then we were off to check into the hotel, just a few blocks from the Harbor, which reminded me so much of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
We are at the Sydney Holiday Inn, and just out of curiosity, Darrel presented his Holiday Inn Gold Card, and sure enough, because he is a member, he got free internet in our room! Everyone else either has to sit in the lobby for twenty minutes of free WiFi, or pay $12.50 for 2 hours. All those nights during tax season at the Alexandria Holiday Inn have paid off! So the blog continues…
TOMORROW: Sydney’s Rocks walking tour, discovery of Australian opals (the national gem) and a Sydney’s Highlights Night Tour with dinner included, after which we water taxi to Darling Harbor and have an exclusive tour of Sydney Aquarium by night. Gotta see a platypus!