Sunday, April 21, 2013
After a fairly late night due to trying to catch up being a day behind with writing up our adventures, I still managed to wake up fairly early this morning... kind of too early to get up so I lay in bed for a while footling around on my phone.
Eventually I needed to get up anyway, so I figured I may as well get up, have a shower, get ready and then finish off yesterday's post... which turned out to be a much better plan as I didn't then need to rush around like crazy.
Today's plan was Manly... so once Ma messaged me I wandered next door and we set off for Circular Quay.
Actually, that's the best part of the trip.
When we got to Manly Wharf, Ma called up my cousin, Wills, who lives a couple of suburbs over from Sydney and he directed us to somewhere just off The Corso to grab some coffee/breakfast while he came and met us.
Sadly, while we had a choice of two breakfast places, neither of them were the places I'd originally been aiming to have breakfast at, and of the two, we ended up at the one without the really hot waiting staff.
Anyway, Manly and Wills.
Ma and he did most of the chatting about family and this and that and the other. It's one of those things where I may be related to him, but essentially I hardly really know him and don't really have a whole lot of stuff in common with him.
I'm not completely sure where he took us either... I know we went west and ended up at a lookout where you could see the city... somewhere in Sydney Harbour National Park possibly... if anyone can tell me from the photo, let me know.
And then he took us back along Manly Beach and around to, I think, McKillop Park by Queenscliff Bay... and there were some surfers out in the bay... which I always love.
From there Ma and I wandered from the North Steyne Surf Life Saving Club down along the beachfront.
The weather was fine, the surf looked pretty good and there was a lot of fine manflesh out and about along Manly Beach.
I don’t know if it was just Manly in general but there were a lot of things being removed from menu items or substituted or whathaveyou. I wasn't any better, getting them to remove the avocado from the Bacon and Avocado Burger and removing the cucumber from Ma's salad.
Moo also does the best onion rings... and I do love a good onion ring.
While there were quite a number of really hot, but difficult to photograph, guys heading either to or from Shelly Beach, the winner has to be the buff, bronzed guy in the fluro citrus coloured shorts and the silver swimming cap jogging along the path between Shelly Beach and Manly, with no shoes. It was... certainly something to see... but in a good way.
There really wasn't a whole lot of anything to see or do that didn't involve eating (which we'd just done), sand (so didn't want that in my shoes) or the water (ditto on the shoes), so we didn't stick around at Shelly Beach, but headed back around to Manly.
We took one final wander back up along Manly Beach until we'd both had enough and then wandered back down and along The Corso to the Wharf.
Just us and seemingly about 500 of our closest friends.
I don't know if that's an "all the time" thing, but the ferry was essentially packed. Ma and I, along with a number of other tourist types, ended up outside at the front. We were up on the second level for the trip to Manly, but being down on deck level makes for a much more interesting ride, especially while crossing the open section. There were definitely a few moments where it felt like this big, heavy ferry was close to achieving lift off and then came the lurch and back down we went, much to the general squeals of my fellow passengers.
We headed up to The Rocks to take a look at what was going on Market-wise... the answer, not really a hell of a lot. There was a lot of stuff there, but like I think I said last time, most of it is just random crap. We did stop by to see the guys who made my watch pendant but the older son who we spoke to the last time Ma and I were in Sydney didn't seem to be about, so we had a quick look at their stuff and then wandered off.
I think Ma may have been working her way through a mental checklist of ferry lines since we ended up with the very expensive weekly tickets, because she suggested that we take the Neutral Bay trip as it was short. Personally, I was a bit ambivalent about Neutral Bay...
Get it... hey, hey... don't make me repeat it like I had to with Ma, please.
The trip was pleasant enough... nowhere near as photogenic as either of the trips last night, but it filled in some time nicely, and we got to see a few more destinations. Thinking about it now, I think maybe that could have been the ferry ride that we took the first time we came to Sydney... I know it kind of went that way, and it wasn't all that long.
Once Sirius dropped us back off at Circular Quay we headed back to the hotel, finally, for a rest before trying to decide where to go to dinner.
Ma then came up with the idea of going downstairs and having dinner in the hotel café. To be honest, at that point my sunburn had definitely started to kick in, and I was just feeling really tired, so I was open to just about any suggestion.
So that's what we did... and given that I wasn't overly hungry (I think it's the fact that we've been eating all of our meals later than we normally would, even with the time difference, so my body isn't always hungry at "appropriate" times) I opted for the pumpkin soup, which was really tasty, and some English Breakfast Tea... which is proof that I wasn't feeling my best because that's the only time I ever drink sweet, white tea.
And that also means that, for the first time, I can claim a Lifescouts badge due to something that just happened rather than something from my past.
I wasn’t completely sure what to expect from an observatory tour... I mean, yes, space and telescopes and planets and the like, but not exactly what was going to happen.
They let us roam around the museum to start with, pretty much left to our own devices, which was kind of cool, although I couldn't take any photos (well, I could have, but you're not allowed to publish them, including to the net, I'm guessing for copyright reasons, since they've got a lot of photos and books and things on display. Kind of a shame though, since there were a few things I would have loved to snap photos of.
Eventually they called us all back to reception and then split everyone into two groups, and thankfully I think we were with a reasonably quiet group. Our group went to check out the planetarium first of all, which was pretty cool... although planetarium sounds quite grand, this was a special projector underneath a special umbrella in the middle of a circular couch. But it was still pretty cool, as the guy made it show the current night's sky as it would appear if there were no clouds and no light pollution.
And he could overlay constellation lines and then the constellation images and names and then rotate the whole thing and zoom in and out. I think it's fairly new, so they may not have worked out how to show if off to its best, but it's an impressive piece of kit.
After that he took us up into the old observatory dome (the Sydney Observatory has two domes) and showed us the really old telescope, which is all made from brass inside a dome that looks like it's mostly lined with copper. Very cool.
Even cooler though was the second dome with the much shorter and much newer modern telescope.
We saw a very, very, very close-up section of the moon, we saw Saturn complete with rings, we saw Alpha Centuri's binary system and we saw a jewel box star cluster.
Of all of them though, I think Saturn was definitely the most impressive... it looks exactly like you imagine Saturn to look, although it was basically white, the rings included, which I don't think I knew... for some reason I think I thought of Saturns as a yellowy colour.
But it's definitely white, I've seen in.
After the observatory part we all came back together to watch a 3D video about the relative sizes of things in space, which was fairly interesting... and then the guy who had taken the other group of people came back into the room and we got sidetracked by things that would destroy the Earth, life on other planets, alien visitors and whatnot... mostly because there was one dude who just wouldn't shut up and he really hijacked the discussion a little.
Other than that though, it was a very interesting evening. And another Lifescouts Badge that I can add to my collection.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go and throw all my clothes into a suitcase.
Normally I would have written a separate post for our final day, but literally all that happened was that I woke up, had a shower, finished packing my suitcase, checked the room a bunch of times to ensure I hadn't forgotten anything and then dragged all of my stuff to Ma's room.
We then had a very uninspired breakfast at McDonalds down the road (it was quick and easy), then grabbed all of our stuff and headed down to the station to catch the train to the airport.
The flight home was uneventful, I half dozed and listened to more podcasts.
While I was pleased to get off the plane and actually walk around, I can't say that I was overly enthusiastic about coming home to my regular life.
The taxi ride home was fairly painless, and as much as I still wanted to be somewhere else, it was good to see my little apartment.