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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