G'Day cobbers

Trip Start Sep 14, 2009
Trip End Aug 16, 2010

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Where I stayed
Liz and Daves Gaff

Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Saturday, April 3, 2010

"G'day and welcome to Australia!" the sign said as we walked off the airplane after our flight via Singapore. There was something very homely and recognisable as we went through customs at Sydney airport with English spoken and duty free everywhere. We had bought a bottle of Vodka in Singapore but as we got to immigration the plastic handle of the bag broke and the bottle hit the floor with a crack. Oops! The bottle disintegrated and clear liquid was pouring everywhere. Luckily a bin for contraband material was nearby so I managed to stuff it in before going up to the desk smelling of vodka. We got through OK!

We had arranged to descend on our good friends Liz, Dave and Lexi who had moved out there from England about two years previously. Tears managed to be controlled reasonably well and we were soon in their house near Manly on the North Shore of the city, occupying every square inch with our travelling kit which miraculously seemed to explode out upon arrival, much to Liz and Dave’s amazement!

For the first few days we went to the beach and got into the Aussie way of life with some long coastal walks, a game of golf and of course eating and drinking too well. We were fed and watered till bursting with all the delights of Western food and of course great wine. We celebrated Liz’s birthday there with some of her friends at a local tapas restaurant overlooking the beach. It was quite strange to find yourself back in a social environment and with the help of some great wine we ended the night walking on the beach before grabbing a cab home.

Easter was spent at home with a BBQ and some terrific slabs of the juiciest steak ever. After being practically vegetarian for the last six months, this was taste buds on overload. Issy however still munched her lettuce only!

On Easter Monday we took a drive out west towards the Blue Mountains where we had organised to stay with Barbs and Cliff who is the mother of Julia our friends from Paris. They looked after us royally and gave us a tour of the Olympic rowing and kayaking centre in Penrith where Redgrave and Pinsett etc.won gold for Britain at the 2000 Games. Barb showed us photos as to how they had all dressed up in Aussie fancy dress outfits to go and watch the events and it was no wonder they became a focus for the commentary teams there! We then went to a lovely pub by the river which was the venue for our Parisian friends, Julia and Rohan’s wedding. I’m sure there were photos of them up in the pub lounge still! The next day we went up to the Blue Mountains and trekked down to the bottom where a trail takes you around the forest base. Twenty years ago there was very little there but today there is a great tourist facility with cable cars, glass bottom pergolas and a train to get up the steep ravine.

In the evening Aidan got his hi-tech games fix with repeated games of tennis and bowling on Cliff and Barbs Wii console. He also played Xbox with their 7 year old nephew Jordan to complete his electronic revival. While Liz and Issy learnt the ins and outs of quilting and doll house interiors from Barbs. Thanks for a wonderful stay Barbs and Cliff.

On the way back to Sydney we stopped at Featherdale Wildlife Park where we saw loads of Australian animals that you can get up close to including Koalas, Wallabies and Kangaroos.

Back at Liz and Dave’s we did some great “normal” fun things like ten pin bowling, where I let Dave off the hook as he trounced us all in the second game. We went to a Tapanyaki restaurant where we all had great fun with the chef throwing eggs, rice and bowls at us as we sat wide eyed in amazement.   Ady even had an omelette machine gunned into his mouth from a distance.

Liz and Liz challenged each other at Tennis most mornings and I think Liz won but not sure which Liz! I ran and nearly killed myself on all the hills around the area but it was good to get some exercise. Also I challenged myself with mountain bike riding with Dave and have to admit to succumbing to a few walks of shame up the steep hills.
Off to Kiama, south of Sydney for a week by the beach with Liz, Dave and Lexi.
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Fiona LMG on

I remember that Teppanyaki place very well and the broken egg all over my glamourous friend! If you`re still in Manly try to get to the Bather`s Pavillion (?) or something like that. Gorg food and great setting on the beach. Fiona x

Jayne Alexander on

Hi Liz & Rick
so good to hear you are having fun in Oz. Roz is there at the moment - she has been stuck for an extra 10 days!!
she is somewhere near to Sydney.
all good here - weather warming up - so happy to be back home.
off to venice and sialing down the craotain coast at the end of May and then off to North Carolina in the summer.
keep sending the news - time is flying and you wuill be back before we know it.
looking forward to seeing you all in just 4 months!!
lot of love
Jayne x

Gladys on

Se los ve tan felices a todos!!!! Un abrazo enorme a los hombres de la familia que cumplieron años!!!!!! Los quiero mucho y me gusta mucho recibir noticias de su travesía!!!!

Adrian Gordon on

Hi Guys
Have fun in Oz. Sounds like you have done alot already. Looks like its hot - we are just having our one week of sun in Paris.
Miss you all round here.

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