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We started far too early, leaving for the airport at quarter to seven and catching the Fairfield train to Southern Cross to get the Skybus back to Melbourne Airport where we took a flight to Sydney. Flying in Australia is quite a different way of traveling as the domestic flights are more likely bus services. Me with my passport in my pocket, worrying about what was in my bag couldn’t have made me more obviously a tourist! There was no need to even have a boarding pass until actually getting on a plane, and even then it was only glanced at briefly!

Landing at Sydney is also quite an experience, the plane had only just reached its highest altitude before starting its decent, banking right to go out to sea and then turning back 180 degrees, going over the harbour entrance and then landing on a runway which – sticking out into the harbour – only appeared a few moments before touching down!

Leaving the plane we were on the train into Sydney within about 10 minutes of landing. The train took us straight into Circular Quay where our hotel was based. We disembarked and were greeted by what must be one of the most incredible sights – a huge cruise ship in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge just behind to the left and to cap it all opposite both those was the astonishing Opera house.

We walked to our hotel and asked to leave our bags only to be told that actually our room was ready for us! I think room is the wrong word as it included a large lounge, kitchen and laundry. The best part is the balcony over the botanical gardens over which you can just see the tip of the opera house.

We left the hotel to look around and walked the hundred meters up to the opera house. It sits on the end of the peninsula that our hotel is based on and is an extraordinary sight. The sun glitters off the almost white tiles and dazzles everyone. I’ve seen the opera house thousands of times in films and pictures, but never thought it would be as amazing in real life, I think it even blows the bridge away – which in itself is an incredible structure!

For lunch we sat on the quay with a view of both the bridge and the opera house eating an Australian delicacy – a meat pie. Quite hot and delicious, especially with ‘sauce’ (tomato ketchup) it was definitely a good recommendation!

Our afternoon was spent walking around to Darling Harbour. Walking out to Dawes point gave us another view of the opera house from ‘The Rocks’  and got us up close to the bridge which towers over everything. We walked under the bridge and past the Wharfes near Miller’s point which have been mostly converted into nice restaurants, bars and cafes. From one eminated the sound of a baroque orchestra rehearsing. On investigation we found out it was the Australian Hayden Ensemble who were preparing for a concert at the opera house on Thursday evening titled the 300th anniversary of C.P.E. Bach. It’s a shame we are going home before the end of the concert.

Having made our way to Darling harbour we tried to find a café to get a cup of tea and even better a piece of cake, unfortunately everything was bars so instead we had a ginger beer, coke and a pizza we had to wait until 5pm before we could go to the Sydney aquarium. This was a very good place to visit as there were hundred of different fish, seahorses, sharks, rays and even a Dugong or two called Pig and Wuru! It was also quite good fun playing spot the finding Nemo character. I found quite a few and will post photos of the real life characters as soon as I can get them off the camera, I think they have far more character than their digital counterparts.

As we walked back to the hotel we stopped to pick up supper at Coles (the Australian version of Sainsburys) and picked up salmon in a honey and soy marinade to prepare at the hotel along with mangoes and ice cream. Whilst continuing the journey we found ourselves walking through Martin Place. After yesterday’s events two hostages were killed along with the gunman. The queues of people leaving flowers for those who lost their lives stretched a couple of blocks. The atmosphere was most likely intensified by the slight feeling of claustrophobia from the sky scrapers surrounding the square. The silence that hung over the usually bustling and very busy area was very intense and the city is clearly reeling and in shock after the events of Monday.

Supper was delicious and probably more because of the view from the balcony than my cooking! Mangoes and ice cream are also quite delicious!

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