Saturday, March 31, 2007

Being in Sydney

What do I miss about being in Sydney

I spent three weeks in Australia (mainly in Sydney) during February 2007.

BBQ’s when you want with an excellent choice of meat, fish and vegetables to cook. "Tooeys New" or possibly a more healthy "Pure Blonde" lager while cooking, and a bottle of Hunter Valley Shiraz to enjoy with the meal.

Hot and sunny weather most of the time. It is great to be able to spend one’s days walking around wearing shorts and a T shirt. I just needed to keep the factor 30 applied with my fair skin.

You can buy a weekly travel pass for $33 (about £13.50) and with this you can travel throughout Sydney by bus or ferry. I had dozens of excellent ferry rides with beautiful views and pleasant cooling breezes coming across Sydney Harbour.

The city has so many great places to visit such as the Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, The Rocks, Botanical Gardens, AMP tower, Darling Harbour, etc., etc. On top of this there are numerous parks, museums, galleries, and very good shopping areas. You can take in an iconic view, experience some retail therapy, update on culture and buy an excellent and healthy take-away lunch to eat in a park, and do all this in a morning.

Dining out is great and there are hundreds of excellent restaurants that have chefs who are passionate about producing quality food. Most restaurants are BYO where you bring your own wine and there is a nominal corkage charge, so this means that you can have the very best wines at a reasonable cost. Not forgetting the al fresco café society where it is so easy to enjoy lunch, a snack or coffee under the shade of a parasol while admiring the view.

Sydney is nearly surrounded by water so wherever you are there always seems to be a beautiful view looking across water bathed in sunshine. A very high percentage of properties must have views across water.

Similarly you are never very far from a beach with soft golden sand. You can choose between a surfing beach or a sheltered beach that is ideal for the less energetic.

Sporting events are taking place all the time so this is a great place for watching live sporting action.

I was staying at an apartment in Mosman with my daughter and her fiancée and they are both keen on preparing great healthy meals from fresh produce. This takes some time and effort but it is also enjoyable. Richard even makes his own curry from the raw spices. So I was spoilt with many perfect meals that had been carefully prepared.

Weekends away. We had a few weekends away and of course in Australia there is a vast number of desirable places to visit. When we went by car, the CD player was always going. A lot of the music was enjoyable but I was not so keen on some such as David Grey, Cud, and a few others. Driving in Australia does give you the opportunity to take in the varying types of countryside and see some of the animal population in the wild.

Many Australian birds seem to have loud and unusual voices. Even the crows sound very different from back home in the UK. The Kookaburra is the most distinctive and common birdsong even in the city. I really enjoyed the different sounds of the local wildlife.

When it comes to food shopping there is plenty of choice and the range of fresh fruit in both small and large stores is impressive.

Being in Sydney was a great experience and I enjoyed every minute. There was a danger of just taking the weather, meals, and everything for granted but this was a holiday. Now I am back in the UK it puts things into perspective.

I am sure I will go back to Oz again.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Solution

I thought it was about time I provided the picture quiz solution so here it is :-

Q1 The city is Sydney. Answer A

Q2 The airport is London Heathrow on a sunny day in February. Answer C

Q3 The bird is an Ibis and they are regarded as a nuisance in Sydney.
Answer B

Q4 Melbourne is the place where they have the peculiar ‘Right turn from left only’ signs. This would cause chaos in most cities but is because they have trams in the centre of many Melbourne streets. Answer B

Q5 This mountain range is called The Hazards and it is found at the Freycinet peninsula. You can buy a very nice bottled lager called Hazards Ale. I would like to buy some in the UK but cannot find it. Maybe I should import some. Answer C

Q6 This Federation Square is in Melbourne. Answer B

Q7 The sheltered beach is Balmoral Beach. Manly and Coogee are both surfing beaches. Answer C

Q8 During the day these bats are found in the Botanical Gardens. At dusk they fly east.
Answer A

Q9 This is a picture of a Possum. If grasshoppers were that big it would be scary.
Answer C

Q10 It is the QE2 moored in Hobart. Answer B

Q11 The 3 year old prisoner was held in Old Melbourne Gaol. Discipline these days isn’t what it used to be. Answer C

Q12 The kite surfing is at St. Kilda. Answer A

Q13 Look out for Kangeroos from dawn to dusk The sign was seen on the east coast of Tasmania. Answer A

Q14 ‘Bust Me Gal’ hill is in Tasmania and so is ‘Break me Neck’ hill. Answer B

Q15 Bowral in NSW is where you will find the Don Bradman museum. This was easy one as the answer was written on the sign. Answer B

Q16 This is a picture of Bondi Beach as I am sure you know. Answer A

Q17 The QE2 is moored at Circular Quay just after it’s historic rendezvous with the Queen Mary 2 in Sydney Harbour. Answer C

Q18 Woking really is the meanest council in England and they truly take advantage of motorists wanting to park there. So I guess my advice is to give Woking a miss.
Answer B

Q19 Wineglass Bay is just one of the beautiful bays in the Freycinet area. Answer C

Q20 This Boeing Jumbo is tail area is normal so they must be designed like this. Anyone know why ? Answer A

The quiz was rather easy really but it did give me the chance to show a few of the 500 photos I took on my trip to Oz.

Now that the weather is improving I must get back into a Cessna 152 and start flying again. I would love to do the shark patrol along the Sydney beaches but I guess Southern England will have to do.

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Picture Quiz

See if you know the answers (it may help if you have been to Australia, if not then you ought to go).

You can see larger versions of the pictures by clicking on them.

Solution will be in my next post.

Let's start with an easy one

1) Which city is this ?

A. Sydney

B. Adelaide

C. Perth

2) Name this international airport

A. Los Angeles

B. Munich

C. London Heathrow

3) Seen at the Darling Harbour food courts
What type of bird is this ?

A. Chicken

B. Ibis

C. Emu

4. In which city do you get signs like this advising
you to go in the left lane to turn right ?

A. Sydney

B. Melbourne

C. Perth

5) Name this group of mountains in

A. The Bollards

B. The Pokies

C. The Hazards

6) Federation Square is in which city ?

A. Darwin

B. Melbourne

C. Canberra

7) Name this sheltered and safe beach in the
Sydney suburbs.

A. Manly beach

B. Coogee beach

C. Balmoral beach

8) Where in Sydney would you find these bats

A. Botanical gardens
B. Batanical forest
C. SCG (Sydney Cricket Ground)

9) What type of animal is this visiting our

A. Wallaby

B. Grasshopper

C. Possum

10) Name this cruise ship that is moored in
Hobart just before it set sail for a historic
meeting in Sydney with another liner.

A. HMB Endeavour
B. QE2
C. Titanic

11) In which jail was this notice about young
prisoners (age 3) seen ?
A. Wormwood Scrubs
B. Alcatraz
C. Old Melbourne Gaol

12) Name this polpular kite surfing spot near

A. St. Kilda

B. St. Martin

C Dublin

13) What kind of animal should you look out
for on the road after dusk ?

A. Kangeroo
B. Elephant
C. Alligator

14) Where is 'Bust me Gal' hill ?

A. Southern highlands of NSW

B. Tasmania

C. Clapham Common

15) Where is the Don Bradman museum

A. Sydney

B. Bowral

C. Brisbane

16) Name this famous beach

A. Bondi

B. Kirra

C. Bells

17) Where is the QE2 moored ?

A. Woolloomooloo
B. Darling Harbour
C. Circular Quay

18) Which is the meanest council in England ?

A. Reading

B. Woking

C. Luton

19) Name this bay in the Freycinet National
Park (Tasmania)

A. Oyster Bay
B. Promise Bay
C. Wineglass Bay

20) Why is the tail plane area dented ?

A. This is how it should be

B. It was hit by a fuel tanker

C. Buckling caused by a rapid descent

I will reveal the solution in my next post.

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