Watson's Bay

New Zealand: Day 2 – Visiting in Sydney, Australia, with “Old” Friends

Early Morning

We ate breakfast at the hotel. The main commons areas of Hotel Blue is freezing cold in the mornings, and I was to learn why, shortly after breakfast. I must confess that the breakfast bar is not the strong suit of this hotel. Their food is a bit chi chi—for example, I had the “juice cleanse.” It was ghastly, mostly watermelon, which I don’t particularly like. The selections are fewer than is typical of a restaurant in this class, and the options are somewhat too odd.

After breakfast, we still had some time before meeting Andrew; so, we decided to take a pano of the interior of the hotel commons area. The hotel is on a very long wharf that was built and used for industrial trade in the late1800s.

After shooting the first pano, we decided to shoot one outside at the end of the wharf, right in front of where actor Russell Crowe lives. This was when I realized that the interior commons area is completely open to the outside in the very center of the wharf. The cold winter air just pours in—hence, the space heaters at the breakfast area.

The Sydney Central Business District

We met Andrew and began walking into the Sydney business district. I really like the city. It feels much cleaner to me than San Francisco.

We walked past one of the older hospitals in Sydney, a lovely building with numerous balconies for the patients to get plenty of fresh air. This was the hospital Andrew had visited when he had his “casualty,” as he referred to it.

We went into a lovely little three story strip of shops for coffee. It was beautifully quaint. I had a hot tea and Nutella croissant. We then headed down to the Opera House/Harbor Bridge area to catch a ferry out to Watson’s Bay.

Watson's BayTrip to Watson’s Bay

The ferry stopped at Garden Island en route to Watson’s Bay, but no one got on or off. The wind was brisk, and Andrew got a bit of sea spray on his glasses.

Once at Watson’s Bay, which is incredibly picturesque, we walked around the peninsula to see the lighthouse nearest the ocean entrance to Sydney. This area reminded me of something between the Cliffs of Moher and the Headlands—lovely high rock formations protecting the entrance into the harbor.

The views were gorgeous, and the water in the whole Sydney area is wonderfully clear. Andrew told us that their EPA had determined that something in the protectant applied to the bottom of boats was determined to kill not just the barnacles it was designed to protect the boats from, but also the oyster population in the Bay Area. A few years after banning it, the oysters have returned.

As we walked up to the lighthouse, we passed a nude beach, which indeed had a couple of naked people enjoying it. The cottages all along the area were wonderful. Many are refurbished quaint originals, but all, even the incredibly small ones, have become prohibitively expensive. (Think tens of millions.)

Doyles Restaurant in Watson's BayFor lunch we walked back down to the dock area and ate a leisurely lunch at Doyles Seafood Restaurant, which has been there, in the same family, since the 1800s. Delicious. Pricy. Then we walked to the Gap.

The Gap is a truly gorgeous area that, much like the Golden Gate Bridge, is a suicide destination—where people jump to their deaths. Numerous cameras monitor the various areas along the cliff side paths. The cliffs and the surf are very beautiful. A large ship, the Dunbar, sunk just off of the coast here. About 120 people perished, and only 1 survived. Apparently, when the water is calm, you can see the ship under the water.

While we were hiking around the first lighthouse earlier in the day, a police helicopter, complete with flashing lights was carefully scanning the beach and coastal areas. When we got to the Gap in the afternoon, there were two police cars and several officers up along the edge of the cliff. Perhaps someone had crossed over the fenced barrier to shoot photos or jump. We didn’t see anyone out of place.

At the top of the Gap, the wind had stopped blowing. It was a cloudless winter day that became rather hot. We started toward the second lighthouse, but it was up a serious hill, and Steve was beginning to fade in the heat. So, we headed back down to the wharf to catch the next ferry back to Sydney. The various bays along the coastline are really gorgeous—perfectly picturesque.

We made a stop at Rose Bay, complete with 2 sea planes, and then went on to Garden Island en route back to the Sydney wharf by the Opera House. We were pretty walked-out at this point. Rather than walking all the way back to the hotel, we took a taxi and drove past Olivia Newton-John‘s condo down near the wharf area. Pricy district, I’m sure.

Back in Sydney

After a nap at the hotel, we met Andrew and Paul at Onde for a really nice meal. I had beetroot salad and roasted chicken. For dessert I had a spectacular chocolate rizzzzzz made with rich, delicious Dutch chocolate. Divine!

Paul teaches an interesting evening cooking course. The course focuses on cooking healthful meals for college students and those on a minimal income. In addition to teaching his students how to prepare the meal, he always brings the completed meal for them to sample.

I recall a famous chef in LA putting his family on the same budget a family has if they live on food stamps in the US. He spoke of the fact that they couldn’t focus on nutrition. They could only buy what ever was on sale to have enough food for the end of the month. Our American culture is so depraved.

By the end of the day, we had walked well over 20,000 steps! It’ shard to know exactly because the Fitbit is still on Pacific Time and rolls over to the current day we are on here sometime before midnight here.

For the past couple of days, we had a wonderful visit with old friends and reconnected with a wonderful city.

[hr]Numerous pictures will be added once they are downloaded from my camera, resized and uploaded to a slideshow for my blog. The photos in this post were shot with my iPhone.

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