Trip Start Jan 13, 2010
26Trip End Mar 10, 2010
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Our arrival in Sydney was uneventful if long drawn out. We picked up a car and drove the 100 km or so to Bowral. From the airport you are very quickly (other than M5 tunnel, about which more later) on the main road to Canberra, heading southwest. Bowral, where Donald Bradman lived, is a small country town nestled in the Southern Highlands at an elevation of over 2000 feet. This altitude ensures a cooler, and wetter, summer than Sydney or Canberra and a lush, green environment much compared to England. The town is very popular with affluent retirees and there are many beautiful gardens, including that of our friends Jean and Dave, with whom we had to come to stay for a few days. Jean is an old high school friend of Joan's, who also knew Mitzi in those long ago days.
Their garden, transformed since we last saw it seven years ago, is full of birds, including Rosellas (red, blue, and green parrots), sulphur crested cockatoos, Corellas (white cockatoos), and Rainbow Lorikeets
For those few who do not know who Donald Bradman was, I should explain that he occupies a position in the pantheon of great cricketers equivalent to that of Babe Ruth in Baseball. He was Babe's contemporary and he retired with a batting average of 99.99 runs per innings. This has never been equaled. This is the equivalent of a lifetime batting average in Baseball of over .500.
There is a beautiful cricket field and museum in Bowral which memorializes Bradman’s achievements. England and Australia play an exhibition game there whenever England are in Australia.
The Highlands plunge down to the sea just to the east of Bowral and I revisited my New Zealand experiences as we twisted and turned our way down to Kiama, a seaside town on the coast of NSW. Almost gale force winds were blowing, unfortunately, which kept the birds away. Last time we (Joan and John) were there, we were delighted with the Galahs (pink and grey parrots), and large white Pelicans, alas now absent.
The next day was Mitzi’s birthday
The famous sights of Sydney were within walking distance - the harbor, the Opera House, and the coat hanger bridge. We were blessed with good weather, muggy and warm. A particular surprise and delight for Mitzi was to receive flowers, bubbly, and chocolate from her kids when we returned to Bowral. We all enjoyed drinking the libation, and wishing Mitzi many more years of good health..
The Bowral area is yet another wine growing region, albeit very new. We visited one vineyard but thought the wine, both red and white, still needed some work.
Having been royally fed and rested by our hosts, we departed, not without regret, on our nearly 3 week odyssey in Australia. Our first destination was Eden on the south coast of NSW.